After a year and a half … Ukraine remembers ….
The Memorial Park of the Great Patriotic War
Over the next couple of months, I will be re-visiting some of the familiar sites in Kiev, Ukraine.. My time here is almost done.
I have one more major trip planned and then my effort gets diverted into getting the paperwork in place, signed and approved for the next assignment… Hopefully Moscow in July..
The Kyiv Fortress is a generic name given to structures located throughout the city of Kyiv.. They used to be a series of of fortifications part of and known as the Western Russian Fortresses in the early to mid 19th century.
Some of the buildings have been converted to a museum known as the Kyiv Fortress complex that includes the military hospital fort and a smaller fort on Bald Mountain from the1872. Other buildings are still in use by the military or commercial industries..
Aside from being a nice historical place to visit, there are also nice views of the stadium and the city beyond from the fort’s perch atop the hill.
St. Cyril’s Monastery in Kyiv, Ukraine is actually now a museum and a small church is all that remains of the original sprawling monastery atop the hill close to Dorohozhychi metro stop.. It’s a nice walk through Babi Yar park..and through the forest..
The monastery was actually closed in the late 1700’s and transformed into a hospital and insane asylum.. It is now a part of the Sanctuary of St.Sophia’s and considered a place of historical value.. Much of the original structure was desmantled but the main church and belfry were preserved.
The inside of the church has lovely frescoes and paintings from the 12th century that have been well preserved.
To get to St. Cyril’s, you can take trolley bus #12 from Dorohozhychi metro and it has a stop at the entrance to the complex.. or as mentioned, it is a lovely, albeit long, walk from the metro station.
The basic entry fee is 20 uah for adults but be fore-warned, photographs are not allowed inside the church.. (Yes..I know.. I snuck a couple..lol)
Now I don’t generally believe in digital manipulation.. I use post processing as little as humanly possible.. I think a lot of people tend to overdo it..Only my opinion so please don’t take offense anyone..
I remember when HDR was new and exciting.. I experimented.. I overdid .. the infrared came along.. I experimented.. lately I have been experimenting with contour painting..
My first love is still panoramic shots.. followed by doors, windows… everyday stuff that I see while I explore this wonderful world.. But …
These prints can be found here at Fine Art America
Kyiv’s streets are filled with hidden alleys and courtyards.. Walk through any of the archways and leave the noise and congestion of the sidewalks behind.. There is no telling what you may find… I am a huge fan of simple, colorful composition in my photos and in Ukraine, opportunities abound..
I am constantly reminded that beauty is not in what we look at.. it’s in what we truly see..
There was a time, before the Russian invasion of Eastern Ukraine and it’s illegal annexation of Crimea, that Ukrainians and Russians considered themselves brothers..This symbolic brotherhood was celebrated by the construction of the People’s Friendship Arch in Kyiv, Ulkraine in 1982.
The arch is made of titanium and reaches 50 meters at it’s highest point.. Beneath it are 2 sculptures –
A bronze statue of Russian and Ukrainian workers holding up the Soviet Order of
Friendship of Peoples
A granite statue depicting the Pereyaslav Council of 1654
At one time, the plaza below it was full of people..especially at night when the rainbow colors lit the area. Now the square remains mostly deserted.. In these dark times for Ukraine, it stands as a reminder of what was and what could be again..
By the way, this is not a political post.. so political comments will not be approved and will be removed..
You’ve seen them.. the urban explorers.. Huge packpacks..2 cameras hanging around their neck.. walking stick, hiking boots, a battered map in their hand.. The epitome of the modern day adventurer. You’re just waiting to hear them say –
“Livingston, I presume?”
But what are they doing? They are taking the same old picture of the Eiffel Tower …following the same herd to and across the Charles Bridge .. joining the masses in front of the Parliment Building..
If you are going to see iconic landmarks in a city, a map is hardly neccesary. Just look for the biggest conglomeration of people with cameras and tag a long.. and make sure it is, at least midday because adventure may wait for no man, but it can,by God, wait until after breakfast..
Don’t get me wrong.. seeing the landmarks is one of the reasons we travel to different cities.. Can you imagine going to Paris and NOT seeing the Eiffel Tower..or the Arc de Triomphe .. or the Louvre? Of course not.. But exploring a city is so much more…
It’s side streets and back alleys.. it’s small hidden cafes and a neighborhood bakery. It’s an open air market with vendors yelling unintelligible things in very loud voices.. It’s watching the sunrise over a new place.. and sunsets with new friends..
Ok..with that being said, there is no “wrong” way to explore during your vacation..some ways are just more right. Let’s go over a few of the different ways you can see what you “must see” and still have a relaxing vacation..
1. Walk.. walk..and walk some more… Walking, by far, is the most common way to get out and about.. Map or no map, walking allows you to enjoy more of the sights, sounds and even, the smell of your surroundings.. walking gives you total immersion in your enviroment..but it takes the most time and energy.. Granted, you can add the subway or buses to save time, but that’s not really walking ..is it?
2. Hop On/Hop Off Bus Tours … My opinion, the next best thing to walking… You “hop off” at your destination..take photos..explore the surrounding area (I have been know to walk to the next stop) … and “hop on” the next bus to the next spot.. There is no tour, the bus is just a ride between landmarks. Most cities have some version and most are fairly inexpensive. Whenever I visit a new city, at least one 24 hour period is devoted to seeing the landmarks..and I usually choose this way to do it.
3. Bicycle … This is another good choice but it takes common sense, a degree of caution and, in most cities, nerves of steel. It is a fairly quick way to travel that still allows you to enjoy your surroundings, even more so going uphill..which usually morphs from cycling back to just walking.. only this time, walking AND pushing.. My biggest complaint about this is taking care of the bicycle..if you want to go inside a museum or gallery, you have to lock it up.. carry your helmet ..
4. Guided Tours … My least favorite of all ways … They have their place,of course, but just not my cup of tea. I took a mountain wine tour outside of Batumi, Georgia that was very enjoyable..even though the tour guide spoke only Russian and I understood only one word in 10.. Still, the tour was fun, the other “tourists” were pleasant and a great meal was included.. Still, having to move when everyone else moved, stop when everyone else stopped and, even worse, was having to pass up on great photos because noone else wanted to stop..
Packing for a day trip can be as much an adventure as the actual trip .. we’ll talk about what to pack..and why.. next time..
Until then HAPPY TRAVELS!
About 15 km east of the center of Kyiv, on the road to Brovary, there is a historical monument that few in Ukraine know about..
Hidden, a half kilometer inside the thick pine forest, is the Bykivnia Graves National Historical Memorial. This memorial is dedicated, and located at, the former village of Bykivnia, and was the site of the mass graves of political enemies of the Soviet Union during the Stalinist purges of the mid 1930’s.
These unmarked mass graves were actually discovered by invading German forces during WWII. There is an estimated 30 – 100,000 victims that were buried here. Victims of Soviet propaganda, Polish Army officers executed during the siege of Warsaw in the 1940’s… and as many as 20,000 officers and intellectuals in the Katyn Massacre.
While it is easy to blame the Soviet Union and the Stalinist Purges, it is known that the German army also used the site for burial of Ukrainian Nationalist and army officers captured during the war.
If you plan a visit to Kiev, Ukraine, take some time to visit this memorial. Along with Babi Yar, it is a grim reminder of humanity’s troubled past.. Take time to explore, to examine, and to remember.
Standing at the observation point near the “People’s Friendship Arch” in Kyiv, Ukraine, gives you a perfect view of the Podil and the Dniper River below. The Dniper Is Ukraine’s longest river and flows through the center of the city..
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