Korosten – Visit the Korosten Whitehouse, Prince Mal Memorial and WWII Bunkers
The city of Korosten is located on the banks of the Uzh River in the Zhytomyr Oblast. At present, its population is estimated at 70 000 residents. It is a city with a past filled with destruction and turbulence. Korosten has learned that survival means to rebuild and start over, and this city in the Zhytomyr Oblast has done it more times than it cares to remember.
Korosten was the capital city for the Drevlianys Tribe, who were known as a tribe that preferred forest areas to open land. They built their city from wood and, therefore, the name Iskorosten came about. Iskorosten means ‘the city with the bark walls’. From the start of the city’s existence, Korosten has been plagued with war and occupiers until the new Kiev-Kovel railway line came to the city in 1902. Due to the arrival of the railway, the city became extremely important during the Russian Revolution that took place in 1917 and during the 1918 to 1920 Civil War. The last fight of the Civil War took place in Korosten, on 7 November 1921. During the World War II, Korosten was not spared. The Germans bombed the city relentlessly, but the city would not fold and kept the railway working through the relentless air raids. General Karbishev and his troops warded off the German army for months, but the German forces finally entered Korosten on 7 August 1941.
This small city in the Zhytomyr Oblast would not surrender to the enemy, leading to the execution of 1 633 people and the relocation of 1 803 to join the forced labor camps. Unfortunately, by the time General Pukhov and his army liberated the city in December 1943, it had been completely destroyed. But Korosten would not admit defeat and rose from its destruction to become one of the most picturesque destinations in the region.
Today, Korosten is known for its fine porcelain, brick works, wood work, chemical industries, engineering industries, clothing manufacturing and food processing. In addition, there are many noteworthy tourist sights to visit while in the city. The Korosten Whitehouse and the banks of the Uzh River are quite spectacular. There is a memorial stone that was erected in honor of the city’s 1 300 years of existence and the Prince Mal memorial stands a memory of the Prince that was rejected by Princess Dowager Olga. She burnt down Iskorosten, together with the prince and all its residents. Another interesting sight are the bunkers that remain from the Stalin era. Inside is a variety of exhibits in regard to this time and is a time capsule in the form of a museum. Just outside the city is a truck that dates back to World War II. It has been transformed into a monument to honor an unknown soldier that drove the vehicle.
Korosten is a proud city, with many memories and tragedies that surround it. But the beauty of the landscape and the heartwarming kindness of the locals make all the painful memories disappear into the past.