Chernihiv has known human settlement for over 2,000 years. The region comprises a very important historic region, notable as early as the Kyivan Rus' period, when the oblast' cities of Chernihiv and Novhorod-Sivers'kiy were frequently mentioned. The city of Chernihiv was the second most important Ukrainian city during the Rus' period of Ukrainian history, often serving as a major regional capital.
Chernihiv city, the capital of Chernihiv region, Northern Ukraine, is on the Desna River. First mentioned in 907, Chernihiv is one of the oldest cities of Kievan Rus . From the 11th to 13th cent., Chernihiv was the capital of a principality of the same name, but the city declined after the Mongol invasion of 1239. It passed to Lithuania in the 14th cent. and to Russia in the 16th cent. It was under Polish control during part of the 17th cent. Chernihiv's architectural monuments include the 11th-century Spaskyy Cathedral, the Church of the Assumption in the Yelets Monastery (11th cent.), and Ivan Mazepa's baroque army building (17th-18th cent.)