Built between 1998 and 2009, the Blagoveshchensky (Annunciation) Cathedral is the third biggest in Russia and one of the tallest Orthodox cathedrals in the world. At its highest point it towers 97 metres above the ground.
The date that the original cathedral was built is unknown but may have been 1586 or 1620. It was made from wood and burnt down several times and even moved to different sites.
The current cathedral was officially opened on 6th December 2009. During the celebrations for the opening a food-kitchen was organized where members of the public were treated to buckwheat porridge and hot tea. According to rough estimates around 10,000 people took part in the opening celebrations for the Blagoveshchensky Sobor (cathedral). It was blessed by Patriarch Aleksey II during his visit to Voronezh.
(Воскресенский Храм - Resurrection Cathedral) There are a large number of churches and cathedrals in Voronezh and it is difficult to decide which ones to visit. I would recommend this one as it has a very attractive interior with lots of frescoes and frequent services - when we were there, there was a Harvest Festival.
As with many more modern churches, this one was built one the site of an older one. The wooden original was built nearby in the 17th century and named after saints Kocma and Damian, but it burned down in 1748. The locals rebuilt and renamed the church and the first Voskresenskiy church was finished by 1752. However, the worries about fire remained and they decided they wanted a stone church. The wooden one was sold to a nearby village. A new two-floor stone church was finished by 1768.
A few years later, much of Voronezh was destroyed by fire (although this church was not affected) and the city was replanned and the church found itself in the city centre. The church was closed after the revolution and was used as a warehouse. It was damaged along with many other buildings in Voronezh during the Second World War and the bell tower was destroyed.
After the war, the state of the church deteriorated and by 1987, it was recognized to be in a dangerous state of disrepair and renovations started. The cathedral was reopened in 1994.
This is war memorial to and mass burial site of the soldiers who died in the Second World War. The main monument depicts a dying soldier and his final thoughts - a woman and child (possibly his wife and child). A little bit further along is the Eternal Flame. About 10,000 soldiers who died during the conflict are buried in mass graves here, named where possible. The memorial was opened in 1967.
Just opposite is a huge red plastic pyramid proudly declaring Voronezh's status as a City of War Glory.
Prospekt Revolutsiy (formerly Bolshaya Dvoryanskaya Street) is the main street in Voronezh and along its 2.3 km length it has many interesting sights (not to mention bar and restaurants). Here are some of the most interesting:
Number 3 is where Ivan Bunin was born
Number 18 is the Kramsky Regional Fine Arts Museum it has exhibits from Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome plus local artists. It is housed in a former palace.
Number 32 is the Officers' House
Number 39 is the former Somova estate.
Number 42-44 is the former Central Hotel which was built in 1882 and counted among its guests Chekhov, Bunin and Mayakovskiy. It is now a restaurant - Italian Dvorik (Courtyard).
Number 43 is the former Hotel Bristol. It was built in 1910 and now houses some shops, bar and restaurants.
Number 50 is the puppet theatre. It is quite a modern building although the history of puppet shows in Voronezh dates back to 1925. Outside the theatre is a very popular statue of Bim the dog, hero of Gabriel Nikolaevicha Troepolsky's 1971 book "White Bim the Black Ear". There is also a huge clock on the side of the puppet theatre building.
Number 56 is the Proletarian Cinema. The building consists of two parts in completely different styles. The old part of the cinema was built in 1914-1917 and the more modern part was added on in 1969.
Also on Prospekt Revolutsiy is Victory Square, which was opened in 1975, as a memorial to the defeat of the Nazis in 1943.
- Arts and Culture
- Castles and Palaces
Admiralty Square and Uspensky Cathedral
The Admiralty Square is a memorial area which was opened on September, 7th, 1996, which was the 300th anniversary of the Russian military fleet. Voronezh as the home of the Russian fleet under Peter the Great and Admiralty buildings were erected in 1697. The square is large and located next to the river.
The Uspensky Church is the oldest church in Voronezh dating from the 17th century. Its construction was ordered by tsar Boris Godunov but on June, 29th, 1680 there was a fire which burned down the monastery and some nearby buildings. When it was rebuilt in stone it was probably planned as the main cathedral in the city (it was given five domes, usually a sign of this).
The church was damaged during the Second World War and in 1946 it was turned into storage space for the regional government and then a museum but, despite some attempts at repairs, the building was in a bad state and suffered from flooding. It was finally renovated in the 1990s.
- Historical Travel
Museum of the Great Patriotic War
(Muzey Velikoy Otechestvennoy Voyny) The Great Patriotic War is the Russian name for the Second World War and in Russia dates from 1941 - 45. This museum has two floors and is packed with photos, some medals and a few weapons. The photos were really interesting. The Nazis wanted to use Voronezh as a jumping point to get to Stalingrad (Volgograd) and during the the fighting from 1942 - 43 90% of the buildings in Voronezh were destroyed but the Nazi advance was halted here. Photos show the extent of the destruction and the clean up efforts afterwards. When the Nazis finally retreated from the city, they left it full of mines, some 58,000 were eventually found. During the Soviet Union, Voronezh was not given Hero City status, but it has recently been recognized by the government was being a city of military glory. Sadly, none of the information is in English, but if you can speak Russian, then there is a lot of interesting material.
It cost 90 roubles for foreigners and 50 roubles for Russians, plus an extra 50 roubles for a ticket that allows you to take photos.
- Museum Visits
Regional Museum (Kraevedchesky Muzey)
Has the entire history of the region from bronze-age arrowheads to huge rocket thrusters in two and a half floors. There are some models of ships built in Voronezh, some Soviet posters and lots of news clippings. It was quite interesting. It cost 60 roubles.
- Museum Visits
St Aleksey of Akatov women's monastery
This monastery was originally built in 1620 to commemorate the victory of the citizens of Voronezh over the Lithuanians and the Ukrainian Cossacks which was won on St Aleksey's Day. It has the oldest brick building in Voronezh - a white-painted bell tower with an interesting brick roof built in 1674. The St Aleksey Monastery was closed in 1931 by the Soviets and became a convent in 1990. The gardens are lovely with weeping willows and a small graveyard.
Sunbathe on the beach
If yuo want to enjoy the summer sunshie of Voronezh, then you can get the number 90 bus to the river 'Usmanka' (almost to the end of the route). Get off the bus when all the young people get off, looking like they're going to the beach. It'll take about 45 mins from the main Prospect Revolyutsii.
The water is clean and there is sand (although I'll admit not the best in the world) and a shop and cafe where you can get yuor shashlik and other refreshments. You can even hire a small boat or go down the water slide there.
Alternatively, if you want somewhere nearer to the city centre, get the number 5 microbus (from outside of the Spartak cinema) right till the end where you get to the sanitorium, there's a smaller beach there (not so clean though)
Russian banya (sauna/baths)
If you want to try out the Russian banya experience in Voronezh, then head over to 'Petrovskie Bani' located near to the circus on Moiseeva street. For 150 rubbles you get a swimming pool, russian, Turkish, and Finish saunas. It's a real Russian experience and you feel brilliant and clean afterwards (ready for the best night's sleep ever). These baths are very clean and modern. If you want a more 'Russian' experience then you can go to an old soviet bathouse near to the main bus-station on 'pereulok slavi' (head north of the busstation and then take the second street on the right). These aren't so clean, and are a lot hotter. But I prefer it. So if you fancy taking your clothes off and sweating it out, give it a go.
- Water Sports
Ride the Bus! cost 4.-6.5 Rubles
you can ride the bus all over the city of Voronezh and out into the country side a real long ways for cheap, we spent one day riding three different buses costing a total of less than 20 Rubles per person for the whole day. What a trip we took the smaller van like buses for a better ride not having to stand up.