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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

Commotion Amid Ukraines Countryside

The territory of Ukraine is unique:  youve got the wild Crimean coast, industrial Donbass, beautiful Eastern meadows, and especially great in winter the magnificent Carpathian Mountains. Unfortunately, most of us tend to overlook what we have here at home for whats over the border. Well, overlook no more; Ukraine has everything you need for a wonderful winter holiday right between its borders, turning this years snow escape into an exceptionally enterprising mini-break.

Instead of getting active here in Ukraine, many of us drive to Slovakia, train it to the Alps or hop on a plane to the Rockies to get our skiing, snowboarding, hiking, biking and ice fishing fix. Why? Many quote superior resorts, better-groomed runs and/or more extreme opportunities as the reason. In the last few years, however, the number of people getting involved in winter sports here in Ukraine has been on the increase, and local resorts have been growing to meet the demand, adding more modern equipment as well as access to a full range of winter sports activities. 

Bukovel 
Located in the Yaremcha region, not far from the village of Polyanytsia, Bukovel is right in the heart of the Carpathians. Boasting a 2,000-metre long run, this has to be the largest and most state-of-the-art ski-resort in Ukraine. At a height of 900m, this resort was a pawn in the bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics, and as such offers some stunning scenery and some pretty state-of-the-art equipment. Daily lift passes will set you back about 350hrv with only half of the hills actually supplying lifts. But with tonnes of runs with varying degrees of difficulty, snowmobiles for rent, luxury hotels (a decent hotel room or cottage can be had from 600hrv up to 2,000hrv/night), night clubs, restaurants, saunas and even a place to play paintball, a true European atmosphere is the order of the day. 

Tysovets 
Once a military base, Tysovets is becoming one of the more popular ski resorts here in Ukraine as its about 1,000m above sea level and only 142km from Lviv. With only three main runs (800, 650 and 600m each), however, served by just one lift, its probably not the best slope to head to if youre looking to fly down the mountain and race back up. Their cross-country tracks, on the other hand, are another matter entirely as few ski resorts have paid as much attention to the desires of those wishing to remain on a less vertical decline as Tysovets. Once a training ground for Soviet ski teams, you can find a great network of paths. Then slide on into the hotel and cottages that dot the bottom of the resort complex to warm up.

Hoverla 
As Ukraines tallest mountain (a vertical rise of 800m and a top elevation of 2,060m), Hoverla should be a definite on your list of outdoor locations to visit. The slopes are covered in forests of beech and spruce trees, above which is a belt of frosty sub-alpine meadows, with the Prut River to the east boasting a beautiful waterfall regardless of the season. Choosing to hike Hoverla is a fairly intense activity, so we advise a guided tour up to the top. There are a number of tour operators that work all year round, including the winter months, and for a very nominal fee will offer you accommodation, meals, transfers and your own personal guide. 

Mlynky 
As a kingdom of eternal darkness, its caves are often deemed the eighth wonder of the world, and possessing unknown mysteries, their treasures are unlocked only to those brave enough to journey their underground labyrinths. Not far from the village of Zaliccya in the province of Ternopil, exists just such a place. Stretching up to 40 kilometres in length, these underground cavities are an incredible depiction of Mother Natures talent. Inspired patterns found on walls, clusters of crystals, hanging garlands of stalactites and stalagmite gardens make this an incredible adventure for kids and adults alike. There are a fair number of places to stay over the weekend should you be looking to turn this into a real Ukrainian adventure, or book a tour where accommodation, transfers and meals are all provided. 

Slavske 
Only 120km from Lviv, the Slavske slopes are not at all far from Tysovets, which means they will likely see a good number of ski bunnies throughout the year. You could see why, considering daily lift prices here are far lower than other resorts (80 120hrv/day). Trostyan Mountain is the most popular peak at Slavske and has five trails all ranging from 1,000 to 1,500m. Behind Trostyan, there are a few other hills you may want to try, such as Pohar, Menchul, Warsaw and Zakhar Berkut; the last of which has two runs of about 700-800m. But Politech Mountain is the best option there are a number of cosy little pubs situated at the base where one can sit and enjoy a beer or two while resting sore tired muscles after a long day of carving down the hills. 

Southern Carpathian Mountain Chain
The Carpathians have not yet been fully integrated for cyclists, winter or otherwise, but this is what makes the roads so great for those looking for a little adventure on two wheels. Whether you intend to make short day trips (from any town or village) or longer distance trips (those up to several hundred kilometres are available), youll be able to cross to any region within this large mountain chain fairly easily. One such well-travelled route starts out at the Kolomiya train station, onto Stopchakiv, Kosiv, Yavoriv, Kryvorivnya, Ust-Putyla, Selyatyn, Ruska, Shurdyn Pass, Shepit, Berehomet, Storozhynets, and finishes in Chernivtsi. But beware! Logging roads suitable for mountain cyclists are not easily identified on maps and getting lost is a real risk! Regardless of where you might end up, however, accommodation is easy to find, and hotels, B&Bs, sanatoriums, even private homes, offer lodging at various prices. 

Nobel Lake 
Staying on the western side of the country but moving a little further north to what has been called the last great water wildernesses of Europe, is where you will find one of the best places in all of Ukraine to try your hand at ice fishing. As part of a major national park, Nobel Lake spans more than eight square kilometres, and home to many birds such as storks and herons, this remote area remains reasonably undisturbed especially during the winter. Species of fish such as Silver Bream, Asp, Crusian Carp, Rudd, Common Bream, Tench, Common Perch, Cat Fish, Roach, Common Carp, European Pike Perch, European Wels, Northern Pike and Ide can all be found here. Even though the village of Nobel is a farming community, its got a few places that will offer lodgings for just a few people or whole groups. 

Drahobrat
This resort has got the highest-altitude in all of the Carpathians with peaks at Stih and Wizhnytsia reaching heights of 1,704m and 1,883m respectively. Its the altitude that keeps this place open longer than the others as you can ski and snowboard here beginning with the first snowfall right through til the end of April, and sometimes even into May. Eight runs, ranging from 1,200m to 3,000m, and consisting of various degrees of difficulty, tend to draw out those with a mind for serious down-hilling, but even if youre just starting out, theres also a small hill of just 300m which is equipped with instructors ready and willing to help. At the bottom of the mountain, the resorts facilities include a sauna, a number of pubs, cafés and restaurants, a billiard room, table football and hockey, a ski school, rental centres and if you still feel like you havent had enough outdoor activity, a tubing hill can be found as well. A hotel or cottage will set you back around 150hrv per day, and boding well in the snow-seekers favour: Drahobrat is rarely ever crowded.

Not sure where to start? 
Try one of these sites to get the lowdown on the highest points in the country: 
Ternopil Sport Tourist Club www.tourclub.com.ua  
Try Ukraine www.tryukraine.com  
Lviv Ecotour  www.lvivecotour.com   
Ski Ukraine www.skiukraine.info  
Fish & Chizh Ltd www.fishingukraine.com 
Argo Club Tour Operator  www.argo-club.com 

Lana Nicole

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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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