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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

Ukraines Top 10

Continuing our look at travel, and just broadening the horizons, we here at Whats On have put together our Top 10 of cool places to visit this summer while staying within the borders of Ukraine.  Full of outstanding nooks and niches, there are a number of ancient castles, incredible cathedrals, Greek temples, enormous parks, crystal-clear lakes, mountain chains and even a few submergent caves. Scattered about Ukraine, some of them are easy to find, others not. But all of them are marvellous and definitely worth checking into.

10. Lviv
As every wall in Lviv is a monument of architecture soaked in history, this old city is fairly thought to the cultural capital of Ukraine. The first reference to Lviv dates back to the year 1256, and since that time, there has been a number of cathedrals, churches and monuments erected. Lviv is also a city of art where a large majority of the buildings are decorated with sculptures, ornaments or paintings. And the museums! Lviv truly is a European city, almost untouched by the Soviet era. And as life here flows surely but quietly, the complete opposite to the countrys capital, it is this classic tranquillity that makes this city a great place to spend a romantic weekend away.

9. Khortytsa Island
This island is visibly the largest of those finding residence in the Dnipro River, and thanks to its historical background, it is now quite well-known as a popular tourist destination. Over the course of the 16th century, the Zaporizhska Sich was founded on this island which later became a fortress and centre of the illustrious Cossack State. And located near the province of Zaporizhya, it features a small village dating back to the era of the Cossacks. In the hopes of restoring such an important period in Ukraines history, much of what was has been resurrected and is now a must for tourists wanting to get in touch with times long past.

8. Sophiivskiy Park, Uman
This great park is situated in the Cherkasy Region of central Ukraine and has even had an asteroid in the Milky Way named for its beauty. The park itself was founded in 1796 by Duke Pototskiy who owned spacious lands in the region and named the park after his daughter Sophia. But it has only been since the middle of the last century that it could be called a National Ukrainian Park. With broad borders that occupy a massive 179 hectares, every year over 500 thousand people turn up to unwind and slow down, and with approximately 3000 different forms of plant life, a number of lakes, waterfalls and stone sculptures, it really is a place where a little relaxation can be accomplished. 

7. Askaniya Nova
Another great stop in our wanderings about the country is Askaniya Nova a huge reservation park that occupies 33 thousand hectares of the Kherson Region. This is one of those places preserving the natural beauty of our Ukrainian lands and comes complete with a zoo, a botanical garden and the most interesting aspect of all a reservation prairie which you may visit with the assistance of a guide. With more then 1000 different wild animals that live in this large area, visitors have the chance to see them in their natural habitat. Excursions last three hours book ahead to ensure availability. 



6. Shatski Lakes
Located in the Volynska region, more than 30 lakes unite to be collectively called the Shatski Lakes; making this the largest water resort in all of Ukraine. To preserve its natural beauty, the government, in 1983, endowed this area with the title National Nature Park, and ever since, the 49 thousand hectares of park continues to be one of the best grounds in the country to spend time outdoors. Just one more of Ukraines exquisite landmarks, the water here is clean and cool and the colours that surround the landscape dont get much brighter. 

5. Hoverla Mountain
Those who love the foothills and mountains should visit what is known as the highest mountain in Ukraine Hoverla. Its summit reaches a height of 2060 metres above sea level and is the greatest symbol in the Carpathian Mountain chain. Every year and in every season, people from all over the world head in its direction. And having conquered this Snow Mountain, both hikers and skiers alike agree that the 360 degree views are unbeatable.

4. The Kamyanets-Podilskiy Castle 
This ancient spot is situated in the Khmelnytska Region, where this small town is known as one of the oldest in Ukraine. While we may not know the exact date Kamyanets-Podilskiy was found, we do know that it was in 1374 that its name was first mentioned in the Kyiv-Rus chronicles. Built as a fortress to defend the Ukrainian hills, the town is now an architectural monument and popular tourist destination. The fortifications have been made from stone, featuring tall, tall towers and wide medieval walls. And surrounded by the Smotrich River, the mix of landscape that is both beautiful and historical makes this adventurous atmosphere number 4 on our list. 

3. The Catacombs of Odesa
Little do we know about the hidden places under the cities we live in; Odesa being no exception. Once used for mining before the early 20th century, these burrows became catacombs of cover and escape during WWII. Linking more than 60 forsaken underground stone mines with tunnels of various size, their approximate length is about 20 kilometres, and yet it is thought that this 20km is only a very small part of its entire territory. Its entrance is situated over in the industrial district of the city where, should you be brave enough to wander about, various exits will end you up in one of three nearby villages. Rediscovered not so long ago, its secret passages have been reconstructed and have been opened to the public. But beware! This underground passageway is only for those who get a kick out of the haunting realities of history.

2. Khersones Tavriyskiy
Digging deeper into the history Ukraine has so generously been afforded, next we visit an ancient Greek city that comes out of Crimea. In 422-421 BC, citizens of Heraclea came to Crimea where they founded a new country now known as Khersones Tavriyskiy. The remains of their household and architecture can still be seen and felt, where columns of temples and an amphitheatre that still stands continue to attract the attention of tourists from all over the world. Not your typical spot along the Ukrainian tourist trail, this is one of those spots that stands out; as Khersones was founded long before the Cossacks, the Russian Empire and the Soviet UNI0N. Nevertheless, and perhaps even more so, its history makes it worth seeing.
 
1. Chatyr-Dag Caves
What has to be one of the most interesting stops on our tour of Ukraine is in the southern part of the country. Crimea is a land unto itself, and while there is so much to see and do above ground, the same can be said about its underground. The Chatyr-Dag Karst Plateau is another one of those take-your-breath-away locales and extending more than two kilometres, there are scores of hidden caves, wells and grottos in this marble labyrinth. Its best-known cavern has to be the Marble Cave, which, consisting of two spacious galleries and one passage, visitors are faced with the beauty of sculptures that have been made by the hand of Mother Nature.

Vadym Mishkoriz

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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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