They say that Leonid Hlibov wrote one of his famous poems here in the gazebo of the Lyzohub estate, which is located in the village of Sednev, Chernihiv region. However, along with the incredible legends and spectacular landscapes of autumn fog, there are quite real and even critical issues, for solution of which there’s not so much time.
Once upon a time, a Cossack colonel Yakiv Lyzohub had chosen this territory for his future estate. And you can barely argue this choice: the incredible landscapes and the high slopes of the Snov River’s banks, it seems, even back then they created a really special and somewhat even mystical atmosphere. Under the order of Yakiv, the creation of the park had been started. Then the estate turned into an impressive architectural and park ensemble that today attracts tourists from all over the world. However, here, in the Chernihiv region, history is closely interwoven with legends, creating some sort of another, special reality, in which all doubts get out of the way.
Famous Ukrainian artists and cultural figures visited the Lyzohub estate quite often. Although argument with a history is a futile discussion, it does not prevent local people from generation to generation to retell stories that seem to make this place even more sacred. So, for example, almost every tourist can hear about Shevchenko’s lime tree, under which prominent Ukrainian writer wrote the poem “Witch”. There is also an alternative version, according to which lime was planted by the poet himself. If we go a little further, we can come across the Bohdan oak, under which the Ukrainian Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky allegedly held a meeting. Even a Lyzohub’s building, the first floor of which is buried underground, has its own fictional history. Local kids love to tell that from this place underground passes lead to Chernihiv. To believe in sometimes extraordinary stories or to try finding out the truth is a personal choice of everyone. However, sometimes this truth is so close. For example a tree, which seems to be planted by Shevchenko. In fact, when the poet arrived at the Lyzogub estate, the lime tree had already been around 600 years old.
But it’s unlikely that even the most unexpected legend about Taras Shevchenko is able to interest the guests of the estate more than a Hlibov’s gazebo which is situated on the slope of a tall hill. Tour guides often tell that it was here that the Ukrainian poet and story-teller wrote his famous poem “Zhurba”. It is difficult to doubt these words: here, under the feet, there is a stone with the inscription that Hlibov liked to rest here, a little further – a monument to the writer. This game on the verge of real stories and legends doesn’t distract you. On the contrary, it generates a lot of excitement, creates some kind of a lottery, the loss in which seems something impossible, or at least painless.
In fact, as the locals say, the gazebo is a symbol of love, a testimony to the uneasy struggle for their own feelings, a gift that Illia Lyzohub made for his wife. Before marriage, this couple had to fight hard to be together. Yelyzaveta’s father tried to destroy relations of the newlyweds in every possible way. He even promised to leave his daughter without inheritance, if she decides to connect her life with Lyzohub. However, this didn’t scare a couple. In 25 years Illia decided to make his wife a present that we know today as Hlibov’s gazebo. This story may cause some doubts: is it appropriate to associate the construction with the name of the writer, if the gazebo is primarily a symbol of the struggle for love? However, time always brings its own adjustments.
However, despite its attractiveness for the guests and the interesting history of the gazebo, it has quite real problems and they are not fictional neither by locals nor by time. This spring, the hill where the symbol of love and Hlibov’s favorite resting place is located, has moved down, and dangerous cracks have appeared under construction. Activists have started to sound the alarm: the architectural monument of national-level importance is in a real danger.
Despite the rapid reaction of local authorities, so far, it was impossible to solve the problem. Experts emphasize: the gazebo itself is in good condition, but the landslide can really become critical. This list is also complemented with the barriers created by landowners. The territory of Lyzohub estate is divided in such a way that the park, most of the buildings and gazebo that is in danger, have different owners. While those who seems have to make every effort to save the monument, exonerate from their responsibilities, the risk of losing the beloved building of guests is growing day by day.
A bureaucratic machine is an evil that can harm not only a person. Local authorities promise that the site of the slope over the river and the building itself will be strengthened. Only a little thing’s left. Or, it’s not a little: time is needed until they take care of all the relevant documentation. There is also another option – to disassemble the gazebo and transfer it to another place for the sake of its salvation. However, not all local deputies like such a course of events that is quite normal practice in other countries.
Today, the gazebo is surrounded by warning strips, and a safe visit to it, according to local authorities, maybe only for small groups of tourists. In such situations, all mysticism fades away, it takes a backseat. Disputes about the correct names, the veracity of legends and verification of guides’ words – all this seems frankly untimely and distant. The one that will only distract from real risks and challenges, the one that will diminish the attention and make not the best state of affairs even worse. For so far, the imaginary stories live alongside the danger, which so far was shut out only with the red strips.
By Dmytro Zhuravel
Photo by Andriy Kazun