"To the North of Luhansk" Starobil's'k by hunterV

Starobil's'k Travel Guide: 33 reviews and 160 photos

A Legendary City

Starobilsk (“Starobyelsk” in Russian) is one of the cultural and industrial centers in Luhansk region, a centuries-old city on the River Aydar.
The city is often called a legendary city since lots of legends are associated with it.
The population is about twenty-three thousand inhabitants now.
The city has a lot of sights, among them:
- a women’s monastery;
- old Orthodox cathedrals;
- Starobilsk District local lore museum;
- numerous monuments and bridges.
To see them all you would need a couple of days provided you are interested in history and legends.
The city's history dates back to the 17th century. In 1600 a free village was founded at the bend of the River Aydar by General Bogdan Byelsky (1550-1611), Czar Boris Godunov's envoy in the area. Later Bogdan Byelsky fell into disgrace before the czar who was very envious of every nobleman who had more merits than the czar himself.
The free village founded by Prince Byelsky fell into decay and was only revived by the end of the 17th century. In 1686 a new settlement was founded there. People called it after Bogdan Byelsky for his merits in developing the area.

Memory of the Famous Novel

The name of the city is closely connected with the famous novel of Soviet writers Ilya Ilf and Eugene Petrov “The Twelve Chairs” whose main hero was Ostap Bender, “the Great Schemer”.
One of the most hilarious chapters in the book is
"Interplanetary Chess Congress"
, still perhaps the greatest piece of chess humor ever written.
As Alexander Fadeyev, Chairman of the Soviet Writers' Union, wrote to Ilf and Petrov: "You have a very nice hero, Ostap Bender. But really, he's just a son of a ***." (Journal "Odessa", No. 8, 1997).
The novel was filmed and has always enjoyed great popularity among the people of the Soviet Union and FSU countries now.
The actors who played the main role of Ostap Bender – Archil Gomiashvili (1926-2005) who played the role of Ostap in 1971 and later Andrey Mironov (1941-1987) who played that role in 1977 – became almost national heroes afterwards, even if that role had been their only one.
In 2008 the monument to the famous novel was unveiled at the campus of the Starobelsk Faculty of Shevchenko National University.
It depicts Ostap Bender entering the city in 1927 and a beggar boy who spread out his arm begging “the Great Schemer” (who was at that time “out of his schemes” and almost a bum himself) for ten copecks.

Unusual City Day Celebrations

The city residents celebrate Independence Day and City Day on one day – August 24, which is very rare in Ukraine.
Such a big state holiday as Independence Day should not coincide with any other holidays.
City Day is celebrated either in May or in September in all other towns and cities of Ukraine.
The city is the center of a county with dozens of villages.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Lots of history in this compact city, stores, a hotel, cafes and restaurants, picturesque countryside
  • Cons:Problems with accomodation
  • In a nutshell:A Friendly Historical City
  • Last visit to Starobil's'k: Apr 2016
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (33)

Comments (10)

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Apr 12, 2016 at 2:43 AM

    a lot of grat updates again since my last visit to this page !

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    May 7, 2015 at 12:04 PM

    Interesting page with many interesting pictures. I'd love to visit it to pay tribute to Polish herooes imprisoned there and then killed by Stalin's regime (Katyn crime). Well, all those Soviet/Stalin's era monuments should be removed ASAP in my opinion.

    • hunterV's Profile Photo
      May 7, 2015 at 12:08 PM

      You are right, Matt! They are all splinters of the Soviet imperial past....

  • hopang's Profile Photo
    Nov 7, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    The monuments and memorials at Starobil's'k certainly look amazing to us. Wish we have the chance to visit this legendary city one day. Thanks for your virtual tour with excellent photographs. ~ho & pang

  • Jerelis's Profile Photo
    Mar 20, 2013 at 1:23 AM

    I always love to read your extensive and quality tips. Nice pictures too. Thank for sharing.

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Mar 20, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    Victor, another gorgeous page with brilliant photos. The "Twelve Chairs" momument looks fabulous. The east of the Ukraine is still on my travel list.

  • yumyum's Profile Photo
    Jan 25, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    Soldier with a mobile phone! That's a good one ;)))

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Oct 3, 2009 at 4:32 AM

    HunterV macht Halt im Hunters' Halt, eigentlich ganz logisch ! ;-))

  • sourbugger's Profile Photo
    Sep 25, 2009 at 5:38 AM

    this is very much a 'mother russia' page. honest, true, fascinating

  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo
    Sep 23, 2009 at 7:27 AM

    Wonderful page about a town which is famous because Ostap Bender chanced to visit it, haha! Amusing saldat a mabilkoy! Great historical review and useful links (including the English text of 'The Twelve Chairs'

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Sep 19, 2009 at 5:57 PM

    Great page, Victor. Informative, interesting, clever, creative, superior photos, and excellent insights.


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