Kremenchuk - a central Ukrainian city that may surprise you
With a population of around 220,000, Kremenchuk is another one of those Central Ukrainian cities that is often overlooked. While in Kyiv I met many locals who had never even heard of Kremenchuk and this despite it not changing its name half a dozen times over the last century like its neighbour to the West - Kropyvnytskyi. Kremenchuk has existed in its own right since the 16th Century and since then its been one of the nuts and bolts of the industrial hub of Central Ukraine. However, the question that may have brought you here - is it worthy of a visit or your time?
Kremenchuk was almost wiped off the map by European Brothers when the mother to end all wars the second world war was responsible for between 90-95% of the city being destroyed due to the fanatical fighting that took place here. On the 29th of September 1943, the city was liberated from the Nazis, this day is now forevermore celebrated in Kremenchuk as the City Day.
Despite rising from the ashes with a remarkable post-war recovery aided by a healthier economy, it is said Kremenchuk lacks much of the architectural charm and distinctly Ukrainian character of its sister city, the oblast capital of Poltava to the East. And yet despite these claims made by those who may only want to be negative - I'm here to claim that it is a city of charm and beauty that will draw you in and leave permanent positive memories engrained on you.
The first time, you may approach Kremenchuk you might approach it from the west. You will bump across a rusty old bridge that wouldn't look out of place crossing the Mississippi River in the good old United States. The first impression many will have is that this looks ominous but maybe it's exactly why the Ukrainian Government have injected almost $400million into a New suspended Bridge that will be constructed in the next couple of years making the old rusty Mississippi bridge obsolete. Upon arriving in Kremenchuk, it becomes quickly clear the city has beauty and plenty to offer the discerning tourist who is willing to take a chance on Kremenchuk.
I'm a traveller that likes to find value when I stay anywhere in the world - so like clockwork on route to Kremenchuk, I found myself an apartment via Booking.com - realising upon arrival that I was going to stay for more than one night I booked another place for a second night. If you are curious about the quality of accommodation you can get in Kremenchuk I urge you to take a look at my video that shows you what you can get for a mere £17 a night. Also, I recommend using the Booking.com search function to have a browse at what is available for the dates you may have in mind.
Once, checked into your apartment or hotel what on earth is there to see? Well, the widened Dnieper River is worthy of being marvelled out. Not too far out of the city is the reason the Dnieper River is as wide as it is around Kremenchuk. It's all thanks to the Hydro-Electric Dam that provides Electricity for the region as well as making the river at least at this point in the geography worthy of boat tours, beach time and simply a place to clear one's head.
Since the De-Communisation of Ukraine that happened from 2014 onwards, Kremenchuk has now lost its Grand Lenin Statue however, it does