Kropyvnytskyi: The Theater of Coryphaei, Black Forest, and reversed pies

Peaceful and not-so-peaceful tribes passed through this region. When the Cossacks founded the Zaporozhian Sich in 1556, it included almost all of this land. It seems that since that time, no one here has doubted who he was: the public wanted Ukrainian performances and rejoiced at the appearance of Ukrainian theater. Celebrities gave up fame and fortune in order to help Ukraine develop. 

Sunflowers and stones

There are over 70 businesses in Kropyvnytskyi. The region is a leader in sunflower cultivation. Even now, during a full-scale war, 3.5 thousand farms in the Kirovohrad region threshed 1300000 tons (1433004 US tons) of sunflower. The fertile soils here are chornozem.
There are many minerals in the region: sand, refractory clay deposits, granite deposits, brown coal deposits, and even uranium.

And all because the territory of Kropyvnytskyi is located on the square of the Ukrainian Shield and its structural unit, the Kirovohrad tectonic block. At its base is an ancient Precambrian foundation, from which granites, gneisses, charnockites, and gabbros have formed. The region is also rich in uranium ore and lithium.

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The city with the Theater of Coryphaei

A little explanation about the name of the city: past and present. In 1939, the city was named Kirovohrad, in honor of the Soviet party leader Serhii Kirov. This name was changed in 2016 in accordance with the decommunization laws. The city, which is the regional center, was renamed Kropyvnytskyi. The name of the region did not work out so easily, so it is currently called in the old way, Kirovohrad region.

And where does the name Kropyvnytskyi come from? We will tell you now. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the city experienced its “golden era”, growing both industrially and culturally.

The railway connection Kharkiv–Kropyvnytskyi–Odesa was opened, the enterprises of the Elvort brothers (one of the largest manufacturers of agricultural machinery at that time) were launched, a water supply system, an electric tram, a telephone exchange, and a telegraph appeared.
A public library was opened, and about 20 educational institutions operated. And finally, the first Ukrainian professional theater, the Theater of Coryphaei, opened.

Its founder was Marko Kropyvnytskyi. The Theater of Coryphaei is not just a theater building, and even more so, it is not an industry term. Marko Kropyvnytskyi had an idea, gathered like-minded people around it, and led them. And this all-Ukrainian national idea found its embodiment in such an artistic phenomenon.

In 1882, the first performance of Ukrainian theater took place: “Natalka Poltavka”.

Here, the stars of the first Ukrainian theater became famous: Hanna Zatyrkevych-Karpynska, Ivan Tobilevych (Karpenko-Karyi), Panas Saksahanskyi, Mykola Sadovskyi, Mariia Sadovska-Barilotti, and Mariia Zankovetska. By the way, she was offered by Russia to move to its stage. But Zankovetska refused: “I have one Ukraine, and I cannot leave it, I will stay with it.”

The Theater of Coryphaei sparked a cultural revolution, and Ukrainian artists were able to defend their own voices and language. At that time, there were Russian laws banning the Ukrainian language: Ems Ukaz and Valuev Circular. Ukrainian-language performances were banned and suppressed. And Marko Kropyvnytskyi found how to maneuver, gaining support from other influential people.

25 kilometers (15.5 miles) from Kropyvnytskyi, you can see “Khutir Nadiia” — the former estate of Ivan Karpenko-Karyi, a Ukrainian writer and playwright. Now it is a nature reserve with a park and a museum. More than two thousand exhibits — household items and manuscripts — are stored here. Karpenko-Karyi wrote 11 out of 18 pieces here. For many of his works, the playwright was inspired by his work in the police force.

In the black, black forest

The Black Forest is situated on the territory of the Black Swamp. And in the middle is Lake Berestuvate. Guess what else it’s called? Yes, Black. The depth of the lake could not be measured here either. This has already happened in the Chernivtsi region. Only the water here is icy all year round, orchids bloom on the floating islands, and only one type of fish lives in the lake—the “ground crucian carp”.

There is also a large crater from an asteroid fragment. Perhaps this is one of those asteroids that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. This crater is called Bovtyska Zapadyna and has a diameter of 24 km (15 mi). A big one!

And in Urochyshche Kaskady, the stones are about two billion years old. This is one of the few waterfalls in the plains. Urochyshche Monastyryshche stands in the middle of the steppe, made of huge blocks and legends—they say there are many snakes here.
Kholodnyi Yar is a monument of nature and history. A whole system of ravines and relic forest on 7 hectares (17 acres). They say that not only are there 500-year-old oaks, but people also live longer. And there is another 1,100-year-old Maksym Zalizniak oak.

Reversed pies

A collection of ancient recipes is planned to be collected and published in the Kirovohrad region. But there is no energy to wait, so we will show you some traditional dishes of the region.

Kruchenyky are small meat rolls filled with minced meat, prunes with nuts, or pate. They are called “reversed pies”

Banduriv dumplings “with sand” — do not be afraid of the name. There is no sand there, that’s what they call a filling made from a mixture of crackers and flour.

Pastry made from a cake smeared with filling and twisted with a tube. It is advised to grate the garlic and add it to the borshch. 

Grave of the Chornyi Voron

The real name of Ataman Chornyi Voron is Mykola Skliar. He fought against the Bolsheviks in the ranks of the Nestor Makhno Rebel Army and then joined the armed unit of the Ukrainian People’s Republic—the Steppe Division. And this was one of the best units!

Chornyi Voron was then the first to meet the enemy and directed his squad in such a way that it distracted about two thousand people from the army of Budonnyi, the Bolshevik military commander. It was the last battle of Chornyi Voron, but he achieved his tactical goal: the Steppe Division was able to reach the area of its formation.

His act is compared to the courage and steadfastness of the Ukrainian defenders, for example, as in the battles for the Donetsk airport in 2014.

The grave of Chornyi Voron is located in Kholodnyi Yar. They come here to honor his memory.

As the full-scale invasion begins, Kropyvnytskyi comes under rocket fire from the Russian army.

Air alarms sound in the city almost every day. Despite everything, nothing can make Ukrainians stop fighting, because we all know very well that we are fighting. It was, is, and always will be.

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Last updated 24.02.2023

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