Dendropark Oleksandriya

Park in Bila Tserkva

Bila Tserkva’s wonderful Dendropark Oleksandriya is Ukraine's largest landscaped park. It's much bigger than Uman's more-heralded Sofiyivka Park, but it is not as nicely manicured and draws far fewer visitors. The park is dotted with glades, bridges, cafes, gazebos, ponds and pieces of sculpture. It's a lot of territory to cover on foot, so consider hiring a bicycle outside the entrance (per hr/day 35/100uah). Pick up a map of the park and the town at the park entrance (15uah).

The park derives its name from Aleksandra von Engelhardt, Potemkin's niece and wife of Poland's Crown Hetman (head of the Polish army) Ksawery Branicki, who in the mid-18th century commissioned French garden architects to create this 200ha chunk of greenery.

There is ample opportunity for getting lost and picnicking with the locals among the park's quietly overgrown woods and crumbling architecture. Where Polish silk dresses once rustled and aristocratic canes crunched on gravel paths, now headscarved babushkas march entrusted grandchildren on health walks and couples smooch on park benches, but the style and romantic megalomania of the Polish nobility still shines through in faded lustre.

To get here, board trolleybus 1 or 4 anywhere along bul Oleksandriysky (4uah).

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