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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

Eggciting Easter

Easter eggs are a widely popular symbol of new life across most of the world, but forget the chocolate version, in Ukraine its high-art. The Ukrainian pysanka is created using a wax resist process to create intricate, brilliantly coloured eggs. As the traditional May holidays and Orthodox Easter are fast approaching, we suggest you plan to visit a lesser known Ukrainian town Kolomyia...especially at Easter.

What does any Ukrainian associate the town of Kolomyia with? Definitely the Easter egg this is borne out by the monument to the traditional Ukrainian pysanka, modelled on a Ukrainian Easter egg, standing in the middle of the town. Kolomyia is one of the most historic towns of Halychyna, a region in Central Europe straddling the border between Poland and Ukraine; therefore through the centuries the town suffered numerous invasions and changes of regime.
Historians believe the town was founded as a fortress in the 13th century, though the first inhabitants here appeared in the 7th century. In medieval times and later, Kolomyia suffered numerous disasters invasions and pillaging by Tatars and Mongols, massive fires throughout the 16th century, and finally political and social instability when in the 17th century the town became a centre of rebellion against Polish oppression headed by Oleksa Dovbush. He is often compared with Robin Hood, as he became legendary for gathering bands of men to rob the mansions of Polish landlords and then giving away the spoils to poor peasants.
The truth in this story goes hand-in-hand with legend, one of which says the body of Dovbush was transported to Kolomyia, cut into 12 parts and the pieces dispersed throughout the city as a deterrent to other rebels. If you happen to have an extra day in the Ivano-Frankivsk region, local people will definitely tell you more tales of Dovbushs exploits and even take you on an excursion to the mountains to follow in the footsteps of the hero.

Kolomyia Redesigned
After the fires and invasions the town revived, becoming an important regional trading centre: merchants and craftsmen could sell only at the market in Kolomyia, so inhabitants from nearby villages had came to the town to buy goods. In the 18th century, Kolomyia became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which brought the influence of Germanic culture to the town. It was during this period the town dramatically changed its look moving from wooden architecture in favour of brick and stone. Masonry was safer in case of fire and flood, a fact the townsfolk understood after the numerous misfortunes that happened there.
It is also the time the most significant architectural monuments of Kolomyia were built. At the end of the 18th century the grand Catholic Church (Mazepy 93) was built in baroque style with lush exterior decorations and tall windows. Designed and built by Bernard Merettiner, who also built the Cathedral of St Yura in Lviv, it has unfortunately changed in appearance due to restoration work and total neglect in Soviet times. Another must-see building in Kolomyia is Ratusha. In fact, you wont be able to miss it as it stands near the Catholic Church. Built at the end of the 19th century on the main square of the town Ploshcha Rynok, its peculiar due to the fact that a courthouse faces the square. Not to overload you with dates and information, just follow our advice: walk around Kolomyia (the central part is for pedestrians only) where each new street in the centre of the town will teach you a lesson in history and culture.

Easter Town
Having seen the historic sites, its time to look at the thing Kolomyia is most associated with the Easter egg. One of the biggest eggs in the world is housed in Kolomyia (Chornovola 43) its 13.5 metres high, 10 metres in diameter and stands as a monument to the traditional Ukrainian pysanka. However, it is not only a monument, its also a museum dedicated to the Ukrainian art form housing nearly 6,000 examples of the elaborately decorated eggs with traditional decoration from each region of Ukraine. The museum itself was founded at the end of the 1980s. In 2000, it moved to this egg-style building designed by Ihor Shuman. The unusual design of the museum immediately attracted thousands of tourists and the idea of organising a festival was quick to follow.
This year, the festival of Pysanka takes place from 20 to 21 April right in front of the museum. Pysanka masters from all over Ukraine head here to exhibit their fragile masterpieces and sell them. As well as pysankas, other traditional Ukrainian crafts like embroidery, wickerwork, pottery, weaving, woodcarving and much more await. The festival also has an educational mission you and your family have the chance to learn the mastery of pysanka, as well as the traditions of the pre-Easter period in Ukraine; evenings will be devoted to dancing-singing-eating so youre assured of a fun time in Kolomyia!

Pysanka 2013 Festival
Kolomyia
20 21 April
For more information visit www.doroga.ua/Pages/Events.aspx?EventID=480

Looking to celebrate Easter a little closer to home?
National Easter Pysanka Festival
Kyiv Expocentre (Hlushkova 1)
26 28 April
596-9192

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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