I had a stop in a pretty large but unknown town – Zhytomyr in Ukraine. What is this for a place and what to see and do?
Zhytomyr is located around 150 kilometers West of Kiev and has a population of about 267.000 inhabitants and is a classic working-class city. Most of the industry and companies are related to lumber milling, metalworking, food processing, and manufacture.
Going to, or passing by Zhytomyr is pretty simple. The city is considered to be a transport hub and connecting roads to Kiev, Lviv, Warsaw, Minsk, and Izmail going through Zhytomyr. Therefore goods produced here, glass- and metal structures, electronics, furniture, shoes, and car parts can easily go on freight from Zhytomyr.
If you are telling a Ukrainian that you are going to Zhytomyr, they will probably ask you why. They considering Zhytomyr to be a pretty boring place with a lot of concrete buildings.
Yes, to be honest, Zhytomyr is pervading example of Soviet architecture, but for a non-Ukrainian as me, it’s something to see.
I also saw another side of Zhytomyr. Located 140 km from Kiev, the town is surrounded by forest and also several rivers. There is a small historical center located in the southern part of the city. When going there, you should head for “Mykhailivska Street” which is the most famous and touristy street in Zhytomyr.
Getting around in the city is made simple with the one and only tram line (15 km long) or trolley busses. Of course buses and minibusses are available too.
Other sights in Zhytomyr
There are ten museums in Zhytomyr and the most popular is Sergiy Korolyov Astronautics Museum which gives an interesting insight into Soviet space science. There are churches and cathedrals, and also a Polish cemetery.
I thought that St. Sophia Cathedral from the 1700th century was very beautiful.
One of my highlights of sights in Zhytomyr was the Eternal Glory Memorial (even called Victory Memorial Zhytomyr), located on a hill outside the city center. This is the biggest World War 2 monument in the town.
Living in Zhytomyr
Since Zhytomyr is often an overlooked city, the prices are even slightly better than in Kiev. A night at the very good hotel of Reikartz costs less than 50 €.
Zhytomyr is also well-known for a darker side. The serial killer Serhiy Tkach took 8 of his victim’s life in Zhytomyr. He also ended his life in 2018 in the city prison No.8.
Still, Zhytomyr is a very safe city.