Khmelnytskyi Oblast

by Rebecca Bruening Letychiv is a town of approximately 10,000 people located in central-western Ukraine (in the Khmelnytska oblast). This district center lies along the Kyiv-Lviv highway, has its own hotel, and is very accessible by bus, marshrutka, or car. Two rivers, the Pivdenny Bug (Southern Bug) and the Vovk (Wolf), converge in Letychiv. Hence, Letychiv is perhaps most well-known in the area for its fresh, dried, and smoked fish markets where people stop and shop year-round. Recreational fishing is also a popular activity along Letychiv's green riverbanks.

Letychiv is only fifty-one kilometers from the regional center, Khmelnytskyi, a modern city with upscale shopping, a central promenade, movie cinemas, a theater, and a philharmonic orchestra hall. Even closer -- approximately 35 kilometers away -- is the Medzhibyzh tourist center and historic fortress museum site. The town itself is surrounded by Ukrainian villages and countryside, giving Letychiv a quiet, traditional feel. Letychiv may be small, but it prides itself on its history. In the center of town and visible from the main road is a beautiful Polish-Catholic cathedral and Dominican monastery complex originally built in 1546. Today it serves as a spiritual center for many town residents, and once a year -- on July 6th -pilgrims from across Europe and the world come to worship and celebrate the Polish religious holiday, Yahonda. On the front lawn of the cathedral stands a statue dedicated to the historic figure of Ustim Karmaliuk.

Born and raised in the area in 1787, Karmaliuk is famous across Ukraine for fighting against rich landowners on behalf of poor people in his native land. When he died, he was buried in a Letychiv cemetery. His grave is marked with a sculptural representation of his struggle.

In addition to these notable Letychiv sites are many others, including a World War II memorial in the central park, a memorial to soldiers who fought in the Afghanistan war, and several Orthodox churches and temples. The combination of history, religious heritage, and recreational opportunities available in Letychiv make it a worthwhile (and convenient) destination in your travels through Ukraine.

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