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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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Ukrainian Culture

A Stroll Up Khmelnytskoho

Khreshchatyk may be the citys main thoroughfare, but Bohdana Khmelnytskoho definitely gives it some competition. With major business centres, theatres, museums, and historic monuments in the plenty, not to mention the varied cafés and restaurants at your disposal here, a whole day could be spent on this street without a dull moment!

With Khreshchatyk closed on the weekends, the fountain at the bottom of Khmelnytskoho, peering up toward the National Opera Theatre, seems the perfect place to stop for a moment and admire the view. From here, plan to spend the next few hours heading uphill, as you learn about the buildings along one of Kyivs most historic and interesting streets. 

Names and Nomenclature 
History will tell you that Bohdana Khmelnytskoho Street first appeared, more or less as it is today, in the 1830s. With the Cadet Corp under construction at the time, it was given the name Kadetska Street. Experiencing rapid development throughout the next couple of decades, however, the street was renamed Funduklevskaya in 1869, honouring then Kyiv Governor, Ivan Fundukley. 
Fundukley donated money from his own pocket to build the first all girls school in Kyiv, which took in children of all social classes. Found on the corner of Khmelnytskoho and Pushkinska at ?6, the offices of Naftogaz Ukraina reside there today. Of course, it looked a little different back in the 1860s, with records suggesting that the well-known poetess Anna Akhmatova studied in this very building. 
Just across the street, another building is reminiscent of the days of Fundukley Theatre Bergonie, or what we know today as Lesi Ukrainky Russian Drama Theatre. In addition to the incredible architecture found within, drop in any evening to take in one of a fabulous selecton of performances always at your disposal. Rather appropriately, Teatralna metro station is found just outside the door of the theatre, while just a few steps up, there's one of the most talked about buildings in Kyiv ?7 Khmelnytskoho. 
Just a few years ago, flowerbeds flourished on this very spot. Then, construction on a business centre began. After long and loud discussions between residents, city council and private businessmen, the building was generously presented to Kyiv to house the citys very own Museum of History. 

Museums and Business Centres 
Having taken time to visit the many layers of Kyiv in our very own city museum, we wouldnt fault you for feeling a little peckish. Cross the street and take your pick from the various venues that have recently appeared along this road. 
Having eaten, return to the street where youll find yourself in the perfect position from which to stand and admire the grand blue building on the other side. Built between 1914-28, ?15 was once the site of the Olhynska Gymnasium. The National Scientific Natural Museum moved in in 1966, and today unites five unique museums of geology, palaeontology, zoology, botany and archaeology. As a favourite of local residents, nowhere else in Kyiv will you find an intact mammoth skeleton, as well as many rare species of plants and insects. 
Heading up toward Volodymyrska, a fairly new business centre has emerged. Located at ?17/52 Khmelnytskoho, work finished on Leonardo in 2008. Not unlike the Museum of Kyiv History, there was much debate about this building as well, most notably because it competes with the nearby National Opera Theatre in terms of space. While it does reflect the cloudy skies hovering above, especially in this cooler season, this multi-storeyed glass cube does house a number of important companies, such as banks, luxurious restaurants and boutiques. In fact, should you happen to be in the market for an Aston Martin, this is where you can buy one. If travel by train is more suited to your wallet, however, make your way to the Universal Travel Agency located in the same big building, where tickets can be purchased to anywhere our trains trundle.  

Another Piece of History 
Continuing up the street, the German Embassy is nicely nestled in at ?25 with an actual piece of the Berlin Wall situated out front. Immediately following, one of this streets most romantic corners is at hand, Khmelnytskoho 37/2. Here, not far from the music school, a symbolic statue dedicated to Chopin appeared not that long ago a huge dazzling white piano done all in tile, by sculptor Kostyantyn Skretutsky. The keys are not real, but if you come close enough and listen, youll be able to make out the music of this fine composer!
The next local peculiarity is not far cross the street and walk about 200 metres. There, on the corner of Khmelnytskoho and Kotsyubynskoho, youll find a tall yellow building called Rolit (Khmelnytskoho 68). Rolit is an acronym, which deciphered, means someone who works with literature. Many a famous writer of the Soviet UNI0N lived and worked in this building at one time, many of whom will be forever immortalised on the numerous memorial plaques just out front. Back then, the street was named Lenin, as, per tradition, all main streets, regardless of the city in the Soviet UNI0N, were named after the regions revolutionary leader. It was only in 1992 that the street was named after hetman Bohdan Khmelnytskiy. 
From here, the street goes down a steep hill where it is united with Olesya Honchara Street which has a separate story all its own

Kateryna Kyselyova

Kyivs Museum of History 
The history of the Museum of Kyiv History is interesting in and of itself. With a plan to open in Klovsky Palace on Lypky in 1982, a grand and regal monument of 18th century architecture, authorities began gathering artefacts, relics and historical items four years prior. In 2003, however, the palace was given over to the Supreme Court of Ukraine, which meant the museum and its exhibits had to move house, and were piled onto the shelves of Ukrainsky Dim.
It just so happened that this was the same year the scandalous construction began on the plot of land at the corner at Teatrealna metro station. With a business centre in the works, residents fought to protect the land located there by planting a small city garden, and in 2006, progress on the building slowed. There were court rulings issued, social protests, and promises from the city authority that the business centre would be taken down. Nevertheless, construction continued, however slowly. With a never-ending string of unhappy residents, the authorities came upon a plan to keep the building but turn it into something for the people. 
Construction came to an end this summer, just in time for the EURO 2012 Football Championship. To generate a feeling of art and history in this very solemn-looking business edifice, the façade was given statues of featureless caryatids in the style of social realism. A golden plaque below reveals the buildings benefactors as Vagif Aliyev and Vadym Stolar. Apparently, it cost them $50 million, with an additional 5.5 million hryvnia from the city, to complete the building, create a museum within it, and install all of the exhibits. 

More Than 250,000
Entering the museum, you will be immediately struck by the rich marble and glass interior. On the ground floor, the first two halls have have been allocated to house temporary exhibitions of paintings and decorative art items I am told these exhibitions will change on a regular basis. 
Yulia Yushchenko, one of the museums guides, leads me around the place, telling me a bit more about the concept of the new museum and providing answers to any questions I have. Taking the glass elevator to the second floor (which is where the permanent exhibition begins), Yulia mentions that this is not a museum in the classical meaning. Rather, it is more an exhibition centre. We have more than a quarter of a million items to display theres no way we could present them all here at the same time. Its one of the reasons we've decided on telling the history of Kyiv through the people that have lived and worked here. 
Starting with unique archaeological artifacts from, the exhibit proudly displays an armoury, household items and some rare samples of gold earrings, the shape and style of which were produced exclusively in Kyiv. In each hall, interactive digital screens have been installed, from which visitors can glean more about about a particular epoch or someone of historical consequence. While the information at this time is only in Ukrainian, all of the exhibits also have captions in English. Yulia says they are planning to add English translations to the digital displays soon, and will also have an English-speaking guide in the very near future. 

Eminent People of Kyiv
We continue taking our time to look around, and come across some books that go back to the 16th century all original, as almost everything is in this museum. From literature and education, we continue on to a section on theatrical art to find some personal belongings of the one and only Maria Zankovetska, outstanding Ukrainian actress of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There are delicate silk gloves, hatpins and a coquettish lorgnette, all of which are objects of art. Just thinking about how these accessories were worn more than a hundred years ago is utterly captivating. Another display that attracts my attention is the corner of a famous Kyiv milliner even in the troubled years of the early 20th century, these samples displayed here verify that the ladies of Kyiv were always elegant and well-dressed. 
The rooms on the third floor carry on the theme of eminent people of Kyiv, where you will find exhibits on well-known writer Ostap Vyshnya, eminent scientists Bohomolets and Palladin, surgeon Amosov, actor Bohdan Stupka, singer Nina Matviyenko, and Kyivs sporting glories Valeriy Lobanovsky, Oleh Blokhin, and the Klichko brothers. 
Yulia says that she gets a lot of visitors complaining that the exhibition is not in chronological order. She tells them, however, it follows the political, cultural and social life of Kyiv and its true, it does. Even though I too could find fault, especially in the fact that the building is entirely inappropriate for a museum, the exhibition and the items therein do impress! And, with the museum planning to update on a yearly basis, there will always be new and exciting things to see.

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Comments (1)
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Kevlyn | 28.12.2012 10:57

Didn't know the forum rules allowed such brlilnait posts.


 
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  • When Walls Can Talk
  • Rights We Didnt Know We Had
  • The Path to Europe Begins Here...
  • Documenting Life
  • Head into 2014 Healthy

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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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