Bolhrad (or Bolgrad) is a small city (population≈15,000) in southwestern Ukraine. It is located in the historical region of Budjak and is the administrative center of the Bolhrad district. The city was founded in 1821 by Bulgarian settlers in Bessarabia, under the direction of General Ivan Inzov who is considered the founder of Bolhrad.
Bolhrad is inhabited by many Bessarabian Bulgarians and is actually considered the unofficial capital of the Bessarabian historic district of Budjak.
What to see in Bolhrad
Bolhrad is a small city and can easily go unnoticed, especially if you’re not interested in its history. However, don’t miss a chance to check it out, especially if you are traveling in the region and you can afford a couple of hours for a quick walk in the city center.
The main sight of Bolhrad is the Transfiguration Church (Spaso-Preobrazhensʹkyy Sobor). It is located near the central square and was founded in 1838 with donations from the residents of the city. The Transfiguration Church is one of the most beautiful churches in southern Ukraine. On January 26, 2012 the temple suffered a huge fire but is currently restored. Take a look at this little gallery I made for you:
Something very sweet that I absolutely loved was the backyard of the church – a beautiful garden with a small lake with swans. There were also peacocks and other birds living there as well. Things like that just fill my heart with so much comfort and joy. (And for those of you traveling with kids – there’s a playground right next to it.)
Bolhrad High School
Another interesting sight in Bolhrad (especially if you’re Bulgarian) is the Georgi Sava Rakovski Bolhrad High School. It is founded in 1858 at the request of Bolhrad’s Bessarabian Bulgarian population, and is regarded as the oldest high school of the Bulgarian National Revival.
Pushkin Park was founded in 1822 (only a year after the construction of Bolhrad). It is located on the picturesque shore of Lake Yalpuh (the largest natural lake in Ukraine), and is one of the main attractions in Bolhrad. Initially, up to 18,000 different fruit and forest trees were planted there, as well as 4,000 vines.
According to the legend, the first tree in the park was planted by I.N. Inzov (the founder of Bolhrad).
The initial name of the park was “State Garden” (Казенный сад). It was named after A.S. Pushkin in 1944. There’s even a legend saying that the poet stayed in this very park, on the banks of lake Yalpuh. However, that’s just a legend. 🙂
We still haven’t visited the park personally, so I won’t post any pictures, but you can take a look in Trip Advisor. The place is beautiful. (We’re planning another trip to southern Ukraine, so I’ll update this park of the post with our own photos very soon.)