• Alex van Terheyden

Ukraine is more than just Kyiv, Lviv & Odesa - been to Kropyvnytskyi?


The biggest country in Europe at least for the moment - Ukraine is vast and worthy of 21st century travellers time. Regular visitors to this blog will note my enthusiasm for Ukraine via this Blog and via my YouTube Channel "The Wondering Englishman". Do check out the posts and playlists if you are curious about Ukraine as a place worthy of your time.



I recently had the pleasure to visit the central Ukrainian city of Kropyvnytskyi. "Krop what ski?" Well, in a way you would be forgiven for never hearing about it until now or simply being unaware of this central Ukrainian city. Kropyvnytskyi only came by this name in the year of our Lord 2016!



Kropyvnytskyi has changed its name several times over the years. The original settlement was known as Yelisavetgrad after Empress Elizabeth of Russia (r. 1741–1761) from 1752 to 1924 as well as simply Elysavet. In 1924 it became Zinovyevsk in honour of the Bolshevik revolutionary Grigory Zinoviev (1883-1936), who was born there. Following the assassination of the First Secretary of the Leningrad City Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) Sergei Kirov (in office 1926–1934), the town was renamed Kirovo in Kirov's honour on 7 December 1934 - a name change similar to those of numerous other localities throughout the USSR (including present-day Kirov in Kirov Oblast, Kirovakan, Kirovabad, as well as multiple instances of Kirovsk, Kirovo, Kirovsky and other derivatives). Concurrently with the formation of the Kirovohrad Oblast on 10 January 1939, and to distinguish it from the Kirov Oblast in central Russia, Kirovo was renamed Kirovohrad, a name it maintained until 2016. Due to mandated decommunization the name of the city then changed to Kropyvnytskyi, in honour of the writer, actor and playwright Marko Kropyvnytskyi (1840-1910), who was born near the city. However the Kirovohrad Oblast was not renamed because it is mentioned in the Constitution of Ukraine - only a constitutional amendment could change the name of the oblast.


Kropyvnytskyi is between Uman & Kremenchuk and can be accessed via the immense bus network that serves Ukraine. It can be reached quite easily with a 4-hour drive from Kyiv. It is also possible to reach Kropyvnytskyi from Kyiv via train but it will take you twice as long on a train and often involve numerous changes however, this isn't to say it can't be done or shouldn't be done via train.


But what is in Kropyvnytskyi for the traveller who wants to visit a destination in Ukraine that isn't Kyiv, Lviv or Odesa? Well, I found myself there in 2021 and decided to document what I found. This is An Englishman in Kropyvnytskyi.

Of course, every adventure to every town, city and place will be different depending on the time of year and the interest of the traveller. However, I do hope that my adventure might inspire you to visit this Central Ukrainian city that is less trodden than most. If you are curious about where I stayed when I was there. I made another video showing just how affordable this little city is.