|On the cover|
Tunnelling Towards Hope
|28 February - 6 March 2014|
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 EuroMaidan’s three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the country’s 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.
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.
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.
City in a Canyon
|Legend has it when Turkish Sultan Osman arrived to conquer Kamyanets-Podilsky in 1621, he asked one of his generals, “Who has built such a mighty town?” “Allah”, came the reply, to which the Sultan responded, “Then let Allah himself conquer it,” and bid a hasty retreat.
Kamyanets-Podilsky remains one of Ukraine’s most arresting sights and has always been a popular tourist destination thanks to its 11th-century old town surrounded by a canyon carved by the river Smotrych. The canyon is 40 to 50 metres deep, and leaves the town standing clearly apart on a tall, sheer-walled rock “island”. What’s On explores the city.
|The first mention of Kamyanets-Podilsky dates back to 1062, when it was recorded in the chronicles of Kyiv Rus as Kamynets. The name comes from the word “kamin” and translates as stone, probably in reference to the rocky area the town stands on. As with most Western Ukrainian cities, this area too was shaped by neighbouring countries Poland, Lithuania and Soviet Russia, which would explain these influences in the architectural and cultural stone of the city. As a beautiful place in spring and summer to explore, check out this list of the city’s landmarks and then make sure you add Kamyanets-Podislky to your travel plans this year.
The number one landmark of Kamyanets-Podilsky is its fortress. It was built in the 16th century to guard the bridge used as the main entrance to the town, which at that time was small enough to be situated on the hill surrounded by a canyon created by the river Smotrych. Thanks to 11 towers and its thick walls, the fortress protected the city for many centuries. Impressive by day, the fortress looks simply amazing by night.
Polskiy Rynok 1
In 1638, Polish King Vladislaus IV Vasa ordered a well be sunk in the rock right in the centre of the city. Following his order, workers cut through 55 metres of solid rock to reach an underground stream. Despite all the effort put into its construction, the well was never used to supply drinking water, as it turned out it was too salty. To preserve it, the well was covered with a huge octagonal pavilion that is used as an exhibition centre nowadays.
Stephan Batoriy Tower
This seven-storey tower, also known as Skornyazhna Tower, is the biggest defensive fortification in Kamyanets-Podilsky. The tower is a part of Polski Gates standing on one of three entrances to the city. This structure saw many battles as it faces the bank of the Smotrych River, which was the key position for launching attacks on the city. Sponsored by Polish King Stephan Batoriy, construction of the tower started in 1564 and took 21 years to build.
St Petro and Pavlo Cathedral
This cathedral is the main historic building in the Old City and was built by Dominican monks in the 14th century. During the Turkish occupation of 1672–1699, the cathedral was used as mosque. That’s why a 36-metre minaret was added. When Polish troops took over the city, they preserved the minaret, but added a statue of the Madonna, which is how the cathedral became one of the only Christian temples in the world with a minaret.
Novoplanovskiy Bridge is one of three bridges that connect the Old City with the rest of Kamyanets-Podilsky. Situated on the east side of the historical centre, the bridge is a must-do as it affords a marvellous view of both sides of the city. The bridge was built in the 19th century as the city’s population swelled with a huge garden created in the canyon beneath it.
Ratusha – City Hall
Build in 1374, Kamyanets-Podilsky City Hall is the oldest city hall, or as Ukrainians call it – Ratusha, in Ukraine. Initially built in gothic style, the design of Ratusha has changed considerably as additions were made over the centuries. Apart from being used as the main administrative building in the city, Ratusha also houses a museum of torture instruments, law and money.
St Nicolas Dominican Monastery
The Dominican Monastery is situated on the highest point of the Old City and is thought to be the oldest cathedral in Kamyanets-Podilsky. First mentioned in 1372, the cathedral burned down in 1420. A century later it was rebuilt, but it was not until 1754 that full reconstruction was finished.
Most parts of the Armenian Cathedral lie in ruins after it was destroyed in 1930, however even the remains impress with their ornamentation and size. The Bell Tower of the cathedral is still standing in the very centre of the Armenian district of the city.
Bishop’s Palace (Archaeological Museum)
Situated in a house that once belonged to an Armenian Bishop, the Archaeological Museum has a wealth of exhibits for visitors to see. The collection was started in the beginning of the 19th century and now you can see the household of a caveman and his tools as well as many other things on display.
This cathedral was founded in the 18th century by Trinitar Order monks who were famed for freeing Ukrainians from Turkish slavery. It is constructed in baroque style with statues of the Order’s founders St Jean de Mat and St Felix Valua standing near the main entrance.
Upcoming events in Kamyanets-Podilsky
Brides Fortress: Family Festival, 10 – 12 May
Each and every year, all brides gather for a parade along the streets of the Old City. Together with newly-weds and longer-term married couples, the bride’s parade is a bit of fun alongside the other entertainment planned. The parade kicks-off on 10 May at 16.00 and starts near Ratusha.
Festival May Days in Kamyanets-Podilsky, 19 – 21 May
May Days in Kamyanets-Podilsky is a three-day festival dedicated to the opening of the tourist season. A lot of workshops open around the city, there’s music playing at every corner and people dancing in the streets. Don’t miss it!
Porta Temporis Historical Festival, 20 – 21 May
The Porta Temporis festival is usually held in the course of the May Days festival, inviting tourists to see historical reconstructions of the battles that occurred on these lands throughout the years. Costumes, horses and medieval weapons are all a part of the action, taking visitors back in time.
Forpost Festival of Medieval Culture, 28 – 30 June
At the end of June, Forpost gathers people to showcase the culture of medieval Podilya. A fair, musical festival and the mighty knights of Kamyanets-Podilsky are waiting for you.
UNR’s Last Capital Festival, 24 – 25 August
This festival features military historical reconstruction of the events that took place in 1919 when the Ukrainian National Republic (UNR) tried to stave off the influence of the Soviet UNI0N. The festival will tell you more about the history of the UNR and the problems it faced at the beginning of 20th century.
Respublika Festival of Street Art and Music, 13 – 15 September
Every year, musicians and artists from all over Ukraine and neighbouring countries flock to Respublika. The main stage of the festival is situated right in the courtyard of Stariy Zamok creating an astonishing atmosphere. This year, a lot of worthy acts are expected, so keep up to date.
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|Rights We Didn’t 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 don’t understand the meaning of these words.
| Kyiv Culture|
Located on Hrushevskoho Street – the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades – children’s 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. What’s On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.