Stadium of FC Desna
Stadium of FC Desna
Chernihiv region Stadium named after Yurii Gagarin

The stadium was built in the 1930s and is the base of Olympic training in Chernihiv.

Chernihiv region
Official status:
Not registered as monument
Sports complex
Date of destruction:
March 2022

Before March 5, 2022. Photo:

A great football career begins with hundreds of small steps and with a big childhood dream. And the dreams of many young football players in the Chernihiv region were born and cherished at the stadium named after Yurii Gagarin, which is part of the Chernihiv Olympic Educational and Sports Centre.
Quite a few outstanding football players began their careers at the Yurii Gagarin stadium and the ‘Desna’ football club that has the stadium as its home arena. Among examples, there are the European vice-champion Oleh Kuznetsov, and the second scorer of the Ukrainian national team, as well as its captain and the midfielder of the English ‘West Ham United’ Andrii Yarmolenko.
In the 19th century, there used to be a city garden where the stadium is now. But in 1936, a stadium for 3,000 spectators was built here in an attempt to improve the physical well-being of Chernihiv residents. During the Second World War, it was heavily damaged by bombing. The restoration of the stadium began only in the 1950s: the stadium was fenced, and the western and eastern tribunes were built with 7 and 4 thousand seats, respectively.
In 1961, the stadium was named after the first man in space, Yurii Gagarin, who made his historic flight. Three years later, residents of Chernihiv got an opportunity to meet him in person at the very same stadium named after him.

After March 5, 2022. Photo:

At the time of the declaration of Ukraine’s independence, the Chernihiv City Council undertook an official commitment to preserve the stadium as a base for Olympic training and to do their best to make it meet the requirements of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). The stadium has been reconstructed several times since then. The main field was completely renewed, along with the electric heating and irrigation systems. Also, new running tracks were installed. The hotel for football players was also rebuilt to provide them with everything they needed for training and recuperation: rooms, a sauna, a swimming pool, a medical office, and a dining room. Finally, Chernihiv got the stadium ready to host matches at the highest level. The people of Chernihiv continued to work so that the sports complex fully met the requirements of UEFA.
However, these plans were disrupted. On March 5, 2022, during Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the siege of Chernihiv, the eastern tribune was destroyed by artillery fire. And on March 11, Russian aviation damaged the field as well. The stadium, where several generations of Ukrainians along with future champions trained for decades, and where children’s dreams came true, was destroyed by the Russian military with 500-kilogram high-explosive bombs.
The site that once held memories might turn into a memory itself.

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