Church in the largest residential area of Kharkiv – Saltivka. The architecture of the building, built in 2013 for the Independence Day of Ukraine, resonates with Ukrainian Baroque traditions.
In 2019, Kharkiv was recognized as the most comfortable city in Ukraine to live in. The Saltivka residential district in the eastern part of the city is the largest residential area in Ukraine. By February 2022, more than 400,000 Kharkiv citizens lived there, and such a population density is quite uncommon for European cities. But since the launch of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Saltivka became known in the world as the Kharkiv district that had suffered the most severe attacks from the Russian troops.
The Church of the Transfiguration, built from 2011 to 2013, is located among hundreds of high-rise buildings in Saltivka, where peaceful Ukrainian families lived. It not only embodied Ukrainian architectural traditions but also the revival and renewal of the city.
The Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord was built at the expense of the director of the ‘Turboatom’ factory, Viktor Subotin, to the design of the Ukrainian architect Pavlo Chechelnytskyi. It follows the Ukrainian Baroque style: three-domed, with a total area of 360 m² and a height of 25 metres. The official opening of the temple in 2013 coincided with the Independence Day of Ukraine.
For almost 10 years, important events for many Kharkiv residents took place here, e.g. christenings, weddings, and farewells to loved ones on their last journey. And since the beginning of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the church became a shelter for Saltivka’s residents. Yet nothing helped prevent the Russian army from shelling this place. Incapable of taking Kharkiv, they repeatedly shelled the homes of Kharkiv citizens and the temple itself. All the windows and doors of the church were broken, and the nearby Sunday school building was damaged.
Being a symbol of the revival of Ukraine during its independence, the Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord has henceforth epitomised the tragedy of the city and of the hundreds of thousands of people who have lost their homes and even lives. There was no military infrastructure in the Saltivka area. The Russian military purposefully shelled the largest residential area in Ukraine.
The site that once held memories may now turn into a memory itself.
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