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7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope


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28 February - 6 March 2014

Ukraine History

A Stronghold of Rulers and Rebels

With the recent death toll jumping to nearly 100 and 1,000 injured, Hrushevskoho Street, one of the strongholds of EuroMaidans three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the countrys stand against government corruption, abuse of power, and the violation of human rights turned from peaceful protest to all-out revolution. Having witnessed much over the years, Hrushevskoho is a street with a history, and not only care of recent days.

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Ukraine Today
Acelebrity using their status and intelligence to influence public views and opinion is rarely seen in modern society, even less so in Ukraine. Here, the majority of celebs use their time, effort, and money to enhance or further their career rather than put their name to something that can do good for others. However, as EuroMaidan intensifies, some are making themselves heard and they fall either side of the EuroMaidan divide.
It used to be that when rebellion and revolution occurred, the intellectual, creative, and spiritual elite would be front and centre.

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Ukrainian Culture

When Walls Can Talk

People have been writing on walls since the dawn of civilisation, we call it graffiti, and ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Sometimes it is merely the creator wanting to leave his or her mark; sometimes there is an underlying social or political reason. And it is due to the latter that graffiti has exploded across Kyiv in recent months. Anti dictator messages aside, we peel back a few layers of paint to look at graffiti in the city in general.

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Ukraine Travel

Provincial and Charming Poltava

Poltava is one of the most ancient towns in Ukraine the first settlements on the Ivanova Mount date back to the 9th 10th century. The town takes its name from the Ltava water stream, which flows into the Vorskla River, on whose banks the town is situated. For centuries, Poltava was the borderland between Kyivan Rus and the so-called Wild Field vast territories inhabited by different nomadic peoples.

In the 18th century, Poltava was the scene of one of the most significant events in Ukrainian history the Poltava Battle. It was right next to Poltava that the Swedish army failed to vanquish the Russians, with the latter taking rule over Ukraine for the following centuries. Logically enough, Poltava became a city celebrating Russian glory, and some of the best Russian architects started building a small St Petersburg here, to honour the victory of Peter I. 

This Charming Town
These days, Poltava is a rather provincial, but very clean, friendly, beautiful and charming town 300 kilometres north-east of Kyiv. The town has a population of slightly more than 300 thousand, and is an important cultural spot in Ukraine. Getting to Poltava from Kyiv is simple at your disposal is either the city railway route (the trains and express trains run to Poltava every day and the trip takes around four hours), or by road buses and marshrutkas run to Poltava every day, at regular intervals, and cost approximately the same, with the only difference being comfort. In case you opt to go by car, youll be there in about three hours.
Poltava has always been a centre of the powerful, cultural, intellectual and spiritual development of Ukraine. The list of eminent people who have lived and worked here is an extensive one from the most famous Ukrainian writers Ivan Kotlyarevsky and Mykola Gogol, to lesser known though not less important scientists such as Volodymyr Vernadsky, Volodymyr Korolenko, Mykola Sklifosovsky, Mykhailo Dragomanov and many more. These luminaries created so much of a specific atmosphere of intellectual concentration, that the town was given the name Ukrainian Athens. 

Squares and Symbols
Probably the first place worth going to in Poltava is its famous Round Square a fantastic example of classical architecture. The round park all around it is like the sun, with street-rays coming in from all directions. One of the streets is for pedestrians only, and walking along it will lead you to Ivanova Mount a place of many historical monuments in Poltava. 
The main Christian symbol of Poltava is definitely the Uspensky Cathedral, which is a must-see for every guest in town. The church was initially built in the 18th century then totally destroyed by Bolshevik Barbarians in 1934, before being rebuilt in the 2000s. Experts claim the reconstructed version is far removed from the historical one, but nevertheless is a beautiful sight to see and take pictures of. 
In Poltava, there are many other ancient churches and monasteries dating back to Cossack times just ask the locals and youll definitely be given the full backstory and a detailed description of how to get there, all at a leisurely pace. Slow is one of the epithets often applied to Poltava those who have been know for themselves the sedate and unhurried atmosphere.

Tasty Sights
Poltava residents are also humorous ones. Take for instance the monument to traditional Poltavska Halushka (dumpling) dont miss your chance to take a picture of that! Not far from the Halushka monument, there is a tower of the old Poltava Fortress a spectacular view from that will also make a perfect photo. 
Poltava is a well-provided town, so finding a place to stay for the night wont be a problem. For low-budget trips there are the reasonably-priced Gold and Sinay hotels, and for those appreciating comfort and a bit of luxury, 4-star hotels Palazzo and Gallery are at your service.
In immediate proximity to Poltava is Dykanka Village the legendary village of Gogols hilarious novels, and Velyki Sorochyntsi Village the location of the biggest and the most famous Ukrainian fair-market. A bus from Poltava to Velyki Sorochyntsi leaves every hour and costs around 35hrv. This year, the event is in August (14 19), so dont miss your chance to have a touch of true Ukrainian culture in all its colourfulness and hospitality!  

Kateryna Kyselyova

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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didnt Know We Had

    Throughout EuroMaidan much has been made of Ukrainians making a stand for their rights. What exactly those rights are were never clearly defined. Ukraine ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1952. The first article of the Declaration states all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The ousted and overthrown Ukrainian government showed to the world they dont understand the meaning of these words.


    Kyiv Culture

    Pulling Strings
    Located on Hrushevskoho Street the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades childrens favourite the Academic Puppet Theatre had to shut down in February. Nevertheless, it is getting ready to reopen this March with a renewed repertoire to bring some laughter back to a scene of tragedy. Operating (not manipulating) puppets is a subtle art that can make kids laugh and adults cry. Whats On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.

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