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On the cover
7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope

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.


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.


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.


Ukraine Travel

Easy Day Excursions Outside Kyiv

With the weather warming, weekends in Ukraine can be spent much more enjoyably than being cooped up in your apartment. What to do? Get out of the city! To make the decision process about where to go a little bit easier, weve compiled a list of a few fascinating destinations that wont take you too far, but far enough to feel like you have had a bit of a break.
A great way to spend the day/couple days/extra long weekend, take in a number of these rarely talked about spots and spider web your way around Ukraine, getting better acquainted with this great country as you go.

Found in the Zhytomyr oblast, Korosten lies on the banks of the Uzh River and has been around for quite a long time. With roots that go back to the 8th century, this settlement was at one time the capital city of the Slavic tribe Drevlyany where, as legend has it, its people often refused the enormous tithes put on them by the Kyivan Rus. Coming to collect one day, they killed the Kyiv Rus Prince Igor the moment he entered their territory. His wife, Princess Olga, decided to take vengeance on the tribe and burnt all of the lands to the ground. Made even more famous because of its fabulous porcelain and graphite reserves, Korosten is a quaint little place and worth an afternoon of investigating at least.
Found in the central, slightly northwest part of the country, the city of Zhytomyr has been around since the 9th century. Having been ransacked by the Tatars, ruled by feudal Lithuania, and later becoming part of Russia, it is now fully Ukrainian and is an administrative district for the province of the same name. A major transportation hub linking Poland and Belarus, Zhytomyr is rich in parks and public squares and has its own version of Khreshchatyk, called Mykhailivska St., which remains open only for pedestrian traffic. Some of the things you must see include the St. Sofia Church (1748); the Nature Museum housing stuffed specimens which depict the Polissian topography; the Korolyov Cosmonaut Museum; and Gagarin Park which boasts nonstop activity in this warmer weather. 

As one of the most important trading and banking centres in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Berdychiv is a small town with a big history and has even had people like Honore de Balzac come to visit. There was also a time when Jewish culture was quite predominant and even today, Berdychiv remains an important pilgrimage site. The significance of this place is connected with the Hasidic master Levi Yitzhak, whose mausoleum is located in the Berdychiv cemetery and ranks right up there with even the most foreboding of gravesites. Wanting to pay respects or at the very least get the wits scared out of you, spend the afternoon walking around looking at some of the tombstones that go back long before WWII. Afterwards, take time to tour the 17th century fortified Carmelite convent; also worth a look. 

Often sacked by the Tatars, Vinnytsia was founded as a fortress by one of the Princes of Lithuania which only grew larger once the Kyiv-Odesa railway was built. A major agricultural region, it is also recognised as home of the Ukrainian Air Force. Impressive estates, churches and theatres are also found here, some of which are centuries old. Make sure you take in the Afghan War Museum and Slavic War Memorial Park; Gorky Park which often plays host to numerous events in the city; and the stunning example that is Ukrainian Orthodox architecture the Vinnystia Orthodox Cathedral. If you have time, plan on a number of different trips that will take you just outside the city limits such as the Bugh Riverboat Cruise, head to see Werewolf (Hitlers bunker during WWII) or hike through the Nemyriv Scythian Ruins.

Bila Tserkva
Founded in 1032 by Yaroslav the Wise, it was later used as the spot where a peace treaty would be signed between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Ukrainian Cossack rebels under Bohdan Kmelnytsky. There are a number of notable buildings located here, many of which demonstrate Ukrainian classicalism in their architecture, such as the covered market that goes right back to the beginning of the 17th century, as does the Branicki family Winter Palace built on the bank of the Ros, now operating as a music school. There are also a number of different churches of note but one of the best things about Bila Tserkva is its historical Alexandria Park: Spanning two square kilometres, ruins can be found by the lake. 

Uman is one of the biggest towns in the Cherkassy region, and its worth seeing because of its famous Sofiyivka Dendropark. 155 hectares in size and planted by a rich Polish aristocrat at the end of the 18th century in honour of his wife Sofia, when you visit this huge park, a veritable museum of nature, you will certainly feel as though youve stepped into a fairy tale. Or, perhaps a poem by Ovid, as the central theme of the park was inspired by Greek and Roman architectural motifs and the grounds are certainly scattered with classical-style statues and temples. The landscape is a monument to the art of the gardener as well and its definitely worth spending at least a day walking around the park or taking a boat along its meandering waterways and lagoons. 

Kaniv & Cherkasy
On your way to Cherkassy, stop through Kaniv. One of the most important main inland ports, it has an affluent culture and rich history which its numerous museums pay homage to. And the fact that Taras Shevchenko is buried on one of the hills overlooking the river makes this a site of pilgrimage for many people each year. 
Cherkassy was once populated by Cossacks in the 15th century and the Cherkassy Castle (now the Hill of Glory) was built to fight off enemies. The city developed around this castle and now acts as one of the larger administrative centres in this area. Full of greenery, the Park of October Anniversary is one youll want to make sure you experience, as is St. Michaels Cathedral the tallest cathedral in Ukraine. Several farms which have been founded and are run by foreigners exist in this area as well and visits can be made upon request.  

Priluki is one of the oldest cities in Ukraine and has even been registered as dating back to the second millennium BC. Heavily damaged during WWII, it boasts Ukraines largest airfield and was the main base of Soviet strategic bombers during the Cold War. Along with its great history and armed forces chronicles, what you can expect to see in this town is the former chancellery and sacristy of the Prikuli Cossack Regiment as well as a few cathedrals. The biggest one of note: St. Nicholas.

With its architecture allowing visitors to experience Russian trade routes of the past, this is another place known in Ukraine as an ancient city. Famous not only for housing the lyceum where writer Nikolai Gogol graduated, there are 70 or so other buildings that exist here that have real historic or cultural significance. Such as numerous Baroque churches, the 200-years Post Station, the Gogol Museum, the Rare-Book Museum and as the home of Pablo Picassos wife Olga Khokholva, it fits definitely fits our bill of places to visit. 

From the 11th right up to the mid 13th century, this town was the economic and political centre of the Chernihiv princedom, with evidence of a printing house located here as early as 1679. Architecturally, the Kyivan Rus and the Cossack Hetmanate have had the most influence, where the oldest church in the whole of Ukraine can be found here: The five-domed Saviour Cathedral commissioned in the early 1030s. The Boryso-Hlibsky Cathedral should be next on your list of places to see, followed by the Church of St. Paraskeba, while the Catherine Church should finish off your circuit. If youve still got the energy, pay a visit to former Cossack homes and mansions such as the Lyzohub and Polubutok residences, the Mazepa House and the Collegium.

Lana Nicole

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Comments (1)
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olga bond | 16.04.2010 07:25

we visited Chernigiv last week-end. All major sites are literally next to each other. Very compact, clean and cute. I love all those 19 century wooden houses - it felt like we went back in a time machine. Go up the bell-tower in Trinity-Ilyinsky monastery.

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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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