From Krasna pl it's a three-minute walk southeast along pr Myru to the old historic core, known as the Dytynets ('citadel' in old Russian). Today it's an informal park dotted with domed churches overlooking the Desna River. The highlight is the 12th-century Boryso-Hlibsky Cathedral, which contains a worthwhile museum where the star attraction is the pair of intricate silver Royal Doors, commissioned by the famous Cossack leader Ivan Mazepa.

The building next to the cathedral is the 18th-century collegium, built in a style known as Cossack baroque. It houses an exhibition of Ukrainian village icons.

Nearby is the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral (Transfiguration of the Saviour; 1017), with its two distinctive missile-like corner bell towers. Within its dark interior are the tombs of several members of the Kyivan Rus royalty, including the younger brother of Yaroslav the Wise. Lining the southwestern edge of the Dytynets is a row of 18th-century cannons, from where you get a prime view of the five sparkling golden domes of St Catherine's Church in the immediate foreground.

At the southern tip of the Dytynets stands a Shevchenko monument, or should that be 'sits' – this one has an unusually young Shevvy chilling gloomily on a park bench, momentarily distracted from his view of the sluggish river below.

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