What makes Ukraine so special, how does it live in this country, what distinguishes Ukrainians from the rest of Europe? These are just a few questions that this blog would like to answer based on my personal experience. Of course, highly subjective, but I would like to share it with people who are interested in Ukraine, so I write it down and publish my experiences in this wonderful country in..
When you live in Ukraine, you most likely start you trip to the Carpathians from this town. It is extremely popular among the tourists and holds spectacular sights. Mukachevo. A small, quiet place where you can find something interesting for each taste, a town which you will not regret visiting. This is a great example of multicultural community, polite and respectful people, gorgeous nature and breath-taking landscape.
The first thing you notice when you come to Mukachevo is that it is surrounded by the mountains. Although, when you go to the centre, you will not be able to see that. But as soon as you go to the highway, which surrounds the town, or when you stand on the bridge over river Latorytsia, you will see how marvellous it actually is. The town whispers to you that it hides secrets which you cannot find out in one day or even in two days stay. To feel this place, you need to come at least for three days.
The view from the bridge across Latorytsia river, photo by Kateryna Sokolova
Though in some places, like from one of the bridges across Latorytsia river, you can take an amazing picture like this one. And it is not Amazon River. But you can try to trick your friends. As you can see, the sky looks pretty scary. It looks like it is going to rain. if you read the news, the top one is that weather in the Carpathians and in general in the Western regions of Ukraine is not normal as for the summer. It is raining almost non-stop, a week ago it was snowing in some mountain villages of Zakarpattya region. When you pack your suitcase, check the forecast.
Along the river bank you will see this beautiful plant that look like a wedding dress. But do not get over excited about it. If you touch, do not squeeze it on a sunny day because you will have a severe burn. The juices of this plant contain the oils which under the sun will burn your skin. The process of recovering can take up to one month. But it seems that insects are enjoying resting on this dangerous flowers.
Hogweed (Latin – Heracleum), photo by Kateryna Sokolova
The town is very compact. As soon as you pass the centre, you will see the district of private houses, very fancy private houses. Everything shows that the owners care about their property. As we went there in June, one of the wonders we noticed there, on the front yards, was blooming Hortensia. If you haven’t seen it before, it will surprise you a lot that in one bush there are flowers of different colours – blue, purple and pink. In Mukachevo they are everywhere.
Hortensia, photo by Kateryna Sokolova
Next thing you realise is that actual centre of the town is very small. It has many cafés where you can just relax and talk to your friends. There are several monuments and old buildings here. This main alley is a pedestrian zone so you will not see any cars here. Right in the middle there is a Ukrainian flag. As you can see in the photo, the pavement is covered with sett (or Belgium blocks) which is very common for old Ukrainian towns. The government usually does not allow to change it because it is one of the historical relics. You cannot imagine how many heels where broken here. Keep this in mind and choose the shoes for this trip wisely.
Mukachevo, the centre of the town
Mukachevo is filled with interesting monuments. It will not be hard to find most of them as they are placed right on the main alley. But if you have a goal to find all the monuments, here is a guide for you.
The first and the most popular monument is a chimney sweep. Why is it popular? Because it has the cat. Everything gets more exciting if it has the cat. The head of the cat got golden because people touched it for a good luck.
A Chimney Sweep Monument (source: )https://ua.igotoworld.com/en/poi_object/70696_pamyatnik-trubochistu.htm
Go further, and you will see Kyrylo and Mefodiy square. Guess what was placed right in the middle of this square? Of course the monument to Kyrylo and Mefodiy. They are very important for Ukrainian and Slavic cultures in general as they created the Glagolitic alphabet.
Kyrylo and Mefodiy Monument, photo by Kateryna Sokolova
Standing in the middle of the square, you will see the theatre building. It is so tiny that you can feel like you time travelled to the past where, apparently, it was enormous. An interesting fact is that the town even has a cinema (Peremoha – in English “Victory”). Usually such small towns do not have this wide range of entertainment.
The Theatre, photo by Kateryna Sokolova
A bit further to the left, there is a monument to Oleksandr Dukhnovych. He was another important person for Ukrainian culture and language. He was a famous “budytyl” (awakener) of Slavic culture. In the picture you can see that one building on the left is covered with plastic. It is now being reconstructed by the administration of the town. This is very important. When you are in the centre or passing by the closest to the centre streets, you will notice how many rubbish bins there are here. Even in Kyiv there is no so many rubbish bins. Maybe that is the reason why streets here are a lot cleaner. People do not have to search where to throw away their trash.
Oleksanr Dukhnovych monument, photo by Kateryna Sokolova
Right opposite to Dukhnovych monument, there is a cathedral and another monument. You can guess this one. People in Western regions of Ukraine are very religious. There are many cathedrals, churches and monasteries. Most of them are beautiful.
The Monument to Mary, The Mother of Jesus, photo by Kateryna Sokolova
The most exciting sight to see in Mukachevo is Palanok castle. As it is situated right on top of the 68-metre-hill, you can see it every time you enter or leave the town. No one knows when it was built but it was first mentioned in the documents in XI century.
Palanok Castle, 300 m away, photo by Kateryna Sokolov
The entrance to the castle is not free and the working hours are limited. Keep in mind that like in Germany everything is closed here on Sundays. And on Saturdays shops and sights work till 15:00. But you can always come to the top of the hill and see how beautiful Mukachevo is from that height.
Palanok entrance, photo by Kateryna Sokolova
The last tiny thing (literally tiny) that you need to see it a Celt mini sculpture. Just 300 m away from the railway station, placed on the river bank, it looks very cute.
Mukachevo is the town created for people who want to escape from the crowds and routine. It seems that when you come here, time stops. This town has European spirit, the magic of old narrow streets, quiet centre and people caring about each other. The town where cultures are mixed and still people are happily living together, where Soviet and pure Ukrainian are mixed. You need to feel it. This town has an exceptional soul.
It is surprising how popular healthy lifestyle is becoming in Ukraine now. It seems that only several years ago people were fond of eating “salo” (pork fat) with bread and green onion – traditional Ukrainian food. These days people started to eat more useful food for their body. As a result, in Ukraine have appeared many different eco friendly small shops which guarantee that vegetarians, vegans, and even raw vegans will not be hungry. In such shops it is possible to find any kind of super-healthy, nutritious and tasty produce of Ukrainian small companies and farms. But not only can you buy food there but you can also but cruelty free cosmetics! So let’s have a look at the most popular eco shops in Ukraine.
If you decide to try different styles of cooking, it would be great for you to now where you can buy ingredients. It happens often when you have a vegan friend and you have no idea what to cook if they come for dinner.
In Ukraine, it is obvious that Kyiv is a centre of healthy lifestyle culture. Here you can find not only eco shops but restaurants as well. You can read about them in our previous article http://www.ukraine-blog.com/2018/01/19/eating-raw-in-kiev/ Even if you don’t fancy cooking, you can order a delivery. In case you are adventurous, follow us into the best Kyiv shops and more.
We searched for eco shops and realised that there are several kinds of them. We can divide them into two big groups: the first is a store network and the second one is a family business (or business led by vegan and raw vegan enthusiasts). Other difference between the shops is that some of them have websites and some of them don’t. It means that in the internet you will only find their address and telephone (if you are lucky). But it is better if you visit those shops to see if they are good enough for your taste. Please note that eco shop doesn’t mean that only tofu and vegetables are sold there. Most of the them also have eco farm produce (not mass production – animals are treated properly as the volume of production is small) like milk, cottage cheese, cow and goat cheese, different kinds of meat. This kind of farming is actively supported in Europe.
To be honest, eco farming is not that popular in Ukraine at present time. People are not ready to perceive that in mass production of meat animals suffer and they are not ready to pay for the eco produce more. Nevertheless, more and more see the difference.
Kyiv hides many secrets. First vegetarian shops appeared (and it is hard to believe) almost on the outskirts of the city. In the city there are two districts that make locals’ skin crawl if you mention those – Borschahivka and Troyeschyna. These Brooklyns of Kyiv are not that dangerous.
The first shop was opened not far from Borschahivka, close to Nyvky metro station. It is still working so you can go and check. This shop belongs to the enthusiasts and location has changed since the time it was created. It is still called The First Vegetarian Shop. It is a small and nice place. Here you can buy many interesting produce. And good news is that there is a website: http://vegmag.blogspot.com/
Address: 2/4 Kulybina Street, Kyiv
Working hours: every day 10:00-20:00
Unfortunately, the owners cannot afford a person who publishes information on the website that’s why last posts were written in 2012. But the shop is still working. You can buy but milk, soya yogurts, cocoa butter, tofu, vegan sausages, rice, green buckwheat, nuts, etc. Employees are usually polite and can give you some advice.
The second shop was opened in Troyeschyna. It was called Greenfood but, due to the competitors (yes, this segment is developing) and high taxes for small business, it was closed. This shop was similar to the first one. But here you could also buy more healthy sweets and high-quality spices. To bad so sad, because it was a great opportunity for people of that district to buy eco produce without going to the other side of Dnipro river. Moreover, it used to be the only place where you could buy green buckwheat… Now you can buy it in any supermarket.
Eco Lavka is the biggest network of eco shops in Ukraine. It is popular because it is affordable and sells the produce of Ukrainian manufacturers and farmers that you will definitely not find in the supermarkets. There are shops not only in Kyiv but also in other cities of Ukraine. Addresses are published on the website: http://www.eco-lavca.ua/
The funny thing about this network is its amazing logo cow. It is placed next to every shop so you can see it blocks away.
Before there used to be only several shops in Kyiv. Later on, the owners have developed a great strategy. They have placed small shops in different districts of the city right in the sleeping cells. The effect was wonderful. People got curious and started visiting these shops! Another great strategy was to employ kind and polite people and then teach them how to treat customers. The sales raise because employees were taught in a right way – they made customers buy produce that they hadn’t planned on buying. But the produce was so much better than the supermarket one that they came back again and again. Several years ago, there have appeared loyalty cards with a little logo cow on them. People are treated nicely and are happy to come back. It is written on each card – “the card of a favourite customer”. Won’t you love this? And the range of products is wide: for meat eaters, vegetarians, vegans and raw vegans. You can even but natural cruelty free cosmetics and medicine.
This is one more, smaller network. Not many people know but these shops were part of Eco Lavka network. Later on, they decided to go in different directions. As the owners explained, they had different strategies for their development. And the products in these networks are different. Green Store has their own line of natural cosmetics and oil perfume. Believe us, you need to try those. Many vegans survive day after day in Kyiv thanks to this small shops.
Here you can also receive a loyalty card. It is super deep green and gives you 3% of a discount. It is not that much but make you feel appreciated.
This one is fancier and more concentrated on importing products. Unfortunately, it will not become a personal favourite of vegans and raw vegans. But for people who want to buy organic products of foreign manufacturers, this place is ideal. Or if you search for a quick and healthy snack.
As you can see, the best place for buying food to treat “that vegetarian friend of yours” are spread all over Kyiv city. If you are vegetarian yourself, you need to visit these shops. You will be surprised how tasty vegetarian food can be. There is a company in Bila Tserkva which produces natural raw sweets and chocolate. You need to try those. And here we leave you hungry and intrigued till the next article.
Do you really believe that you know everything about Ukrainian culture? Having heard only about Okean Elzy as the most popular music band from Ukraine, don’t be too quick in your judgements. There are underestimated bands that will make you understand how special music can be here. The bands that we found for you are all from Western Ukraine, from three different cities. They all have their peculiar style. They are often headliners of music festivals inside the country and abroad. These bands participate in the campaigns for nature protection. They are responsible about their work, easy-going people and truly hilarious when you get to know them. Let’s meet out Top 3!
There are some Ukrainian bands that are worldwide famous. Among those you might have heard about Okean Elzy, Vopli Vidopliasova or Skriabin. But you cannot claim that you heard truly Ukrainian music till you visit some Western cities of Ukraine and listen to local bands.
We are starting our journey in Ternopil. Here, in 2006, there was formed a band that will definitely make you laugh. It is called “Los Colorados”. The members enthusiastically use traditional musical instruments. The band performs not only their own songs but also covers for famous recognisable songs, for example, Rammstein. The thing is that they not only do the covers, they translate the lyrics into Ukrainian in a very funny way.
The song that made them popular in Ukraine was a cover for Rammstein’s “Du Hast”. You can say that for some times the video recording of this song got viral because people were listening to it and sharing it via social networks. The guys were amazing in keeping a straight face while singing hilarious text. They presented “Du Hast” as a “German Folk Song”. In Ukrainian version it sounded indeed like a folk song.
The members of the band are not taking themselves too seriously which makes them real comedians. If you ever visit Ukrainian wedding, you would here a similar kind of music which Los Colorados perform.
The band has an official Facebook account and it is really worth visiting. They participated in eco-art festivals Karpatsky Protiag and Cheremosh Fest. All the members are very responsive so if you have any questions, they will be happy to answer.
Los Colorados (picture taken from official Facebook page)
In the previous articles, you have already read some information about this band. To summarise all that information, we can say that Koralli are not just a musical band, they are also active members of our society and inspirators for other people.
They have many projects to be proud of. The most popular are Fenomen Hostel in Ivano-Frankivsk and eco-art festival Karpatsky Protiag. They stopped being active for some time when the war started as one of the members volunteers to serve in the national army as a medical worker.
As you can see, this band deserves to be known for their public activity. But their music is even better.
The band was formed in 2005. The idea for that time was very simple: to take Ukrainian folk songs and make modern popular versions of those songs so that youth of Ukraine went on with the traditions and knew what their grandparents used to sing when they were young. It appeared to be vey successful project especially when it came to Christmas carols.
Some time later, Koralli started to write their own songs which were even more successful. The band release several albums. Now, the members have changed due to the circumstances. The leader, Myshko Adamchak, remains the same. He is also a producer of the band and a contact person.
What makes this band unique is the usage of trembita – the musical instrument traditional for Western Ukraine, especially for the Carpathians.
Koralli are never bored. They do not have inactive state. They always participate in the festivals, in the contests and just communicate with their fans and supporters. Myshko conducts all possible and impossible PR campaigns to get his band in the top performers of international festivals. He often asks for the votes of subscribers. The post on Facebook page frequently get from 100 to 700 likes. This shows how popular Koralli are for a band from a small town like Ivano-Frankivsk.
Koralli (picture taken from official Facebook page)
Koralli often participate in popular programme “Rock Koliada” where they perform their rock versions of traditional Ukrainian Christmas carols. Finish reading this article and visit their website to here those songs!
The band was formed in 2010 in Uzhhorod. So, our final destination is Zakarpattya Region and the funniest musicians in Ukraine. If you get to visit their concert, you will be surprised that no one is sitting by the tables and drinking. People jump up high in front of the stage repeating the moves that musicians name even if they do not understand Ukrainian language. Trystavisim concert is an inexplicably delightful experience for people of all ages.
The members of the band are really communicative and supportive so if you have any ideas about the festivals ot concerts where they can participate, you can contact them directly and get a quick response. Several years ago, the band was very popular. They released two successful albums and got invited to eco-art festivals as well two other bands from our list.
After and in between the festivals, Trystavisim visited Kyiv and promoted their new album. With the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the band wasn’t that active though has recently release a new song.
When you listen to this band, you just start moving without realising it. You don’t have to understand the lyrics to enjoy it. Pay attention: this band also uses traditional for Ukraine musical instruments.
In Uzhhorod, there are at least three languages combined: Russian, Ukrainian and Hungarian. It makes a local dialect even more interesting for the audience. Trystavisim often use this dialect in their songs.
Trystavisim (picture taken from official Facebook page)
No end to find
Ukrainian culture has no end to be found. It is stretching from the East to the West, having influence from Soviet Union and all the bordering countries. The mixture of different nationalities makes music and language of Ukraine exceptional. Sometimes it is surprising how people who speak different languages can still understand each other and create something together.
The Top 3 Ukrainian bands from Western part of the country will prove to you that music can be entertaining and simple but keep up with the traditions.
Los Colorados, Koralli and Trystavisim work in different genres but use practically the same musical instruments. They warm up people’s souls and remind them of their origins. It is truly and example to follow. They are not trying to make money. They try to bring to the audience the songs which were forgotten as the time passed. They are renewing Ukrainian culture.
How many examples of such creative work are there in the world? Not too many. Ukraine shows again how strong and united they are when it comes to their identity.
Eight years ago, in 2010, the first ever festival of such format started in Ukraine. It was “KarpatskyProtiag”. Unfortunately, due to lack of funding and armed conflict in the country, the musicians stopped to conducted it. The main aim of the festival was to combine music with collecting rubbish in the Carpathians. The organisers used to say that it only depends on people whether in future we have Carpathian Mountains or mountains of garbage. The initiative was supported by people from all over Ukraine and even from some cities of Poland. It was a truly Ukrainian eco-art festival. Maybe, after reading this article, activists from foreign countries will help to renew this tradition.
It was the first initiative in Ukraine that combined creative work and fight against plastics trash. The point was to engage music lovers in helping our environment. For this purpose, the organisers came up with an unusual idea – they rented a train, invited musical bands and made a campaign to attract as many people as possible. It was successful because the participants were excited to go to the Carpathians and, moreover, to help fighting plastic pollution.
The train with loud music started its route from Ivano-Frankivsk at 03:30 am and went for approximately6 hours till it reached the final destination – Rakhiv. We already published an article about this amazing place so you can see how beautiful it is.
The most entertaining thing was that the organisers rented only two railway-cars and people could buy a ticket for the train and just move between the railway-cars and listen to music as well as communicate with the crowd and musicians.
It consisted of several parts. The first part was actually going by train from Ivan-Frankivsk to Rakhiv and listening to music. This part was also about laughing, joking and drinking yogurt, provided by sponsors. It is the most amazing time because you can see through the window how mountains wake up in the morning and how the fog disappears under the warm sun.
The second part was all about arriving to Rakhiv and going to the main square situated at in the mountains. There the organisers gave rubber gloves to the participants as well as bags to collect all the garbage that was there. The results were absolutely amazing! From the beginning up to the end of the festival the participants collected shocking amount of plastic trash. It is surprising how irresponsible people can be, polluting the area where they live.
Cleaning in the mountains
After collecting plastic in the mountains, the crowd of people who care used to go to the café and restaurants to lunch and communication with each other, share their thoughts, exchange their contacts or just spend a wonderful time on the bank of the mountain river.
The last part of the fest was all about returning to Ivano-Frankivsk. Of course, there was the music all way back, too. The musicians were different. The organisers had their own band and they used to perform as well. The way back was more relaxing, peaceful and
warm. The strangers, who were not the participants of the festival, were amased to see trembitas (national musical instrument) in the train. Everyone was happy and smiling, a bit tired but caring about nature. The mountains were dancing as the train moved back. The train used to come back to Ivano-Frankivsk the same day in the evening.
For the period of festival existence, a lot of bands took part in it. Among these bands were
«LosKolorados» from Ternopil, «Fiolet» from Lutsk, «Trystavisim» from Uzhgorod, «Perkalaba» from Ivano-Frankivsk, «PropalaGramota», «Pan Pupets», «OtVinta».
Theorganisershavetheband«Koralli». It was also one of the festival participants.
An art part of the festival was not only about music, it was also about the workshops that were conducted by artists and poets. There was even the contest for the poets. There was also a free mic where everyone could read their poems. Young people could be heard.
As organisers used to say, the festival was only for real activists and foolhardies.
Trystavisim, KarpatskyProtiag, 2012
When it happened
There are two important periods for the mountains – the beginning tourist season and the end of this season. Maybe, the main purpose for that was to show people how much trash there is before people come and after.
The active hiking season starts in April-May and ends in August-September.
Once the festival was conducted on Easter holiday. It was the beginning of May. Another time it was conducted on Independence Day (August 24). It was a wonderful time! People carried flags and celebrated right in the train.
The aim of this festival was to show how people impact the environment. And choosing these exact periods for the festival, was a strategic move that organisers made. All the participants felt huge responsibility for every plastic bottle that they found in the mountains.
Another brainchild of “KarpatskyProtiag, is Fenomen hostel. It is worth mentioning in this article because most of the bands who participated in the festival stopped in this hostel for one night.
Fenomen islocated in the central part of Ivano-Frankivsk (green area of central city lake). It is one of the most popular hostels in the city. We mentioned it before in our article about Ivano-Frankivsk. It’s really worth visiting.
As the festival is not conducted anymore, you can simply come to Ivano-Frankivsk and then enjoy your way to Rakhiv in an early morning diesel train. You will be surprised how meadows change for the mountains in a short period of time.
In 2012, “KarpatskyProtiag” was combined with literature festival “Potiag do Yaremshe”. Yaremche is one of the most popular touristic places n Ukrainian Carpathians. That’s why “Potiag do Yaremche” attract a lot of people from all over Ukraine. For this reason, it was not hard to combine to festivals.
Many modern Ukrainian writers took part in the festival. They conducted workshops and moderated the literature readings. They analysed the books, some exact works of foreign authors as well as Ukrainian translations of foreign authors. There were conducted autograph sessions.
The organisers managed to harmoniously put together musical and literature parts. That year, such famous Ukrainian writers as TarasProkhasko and AndriyLubka took part in the event.
Example to follow
As Europe slowly moves to banning plastic packaging and protecting the nature, it is very important for German society to find world examples of plastic pollution and fighting against it. As most of the countries only started to care about the environment now, it is amazing to know that Ukraine started such splendid campaigns in 2010!
It is disappointing that this initiative wasn’t supported by the government. But people make difference! You can change the situation today! You can contact the activists, you can join forces or you can just go with your friends to any place in Ukrainian Carpathians not only to have rest but also to collect the garbage and give it to the recycling places.
Have you ever wondered what the foreigner should do when they come to Kyiv? They definitely like to go to the cinemas and enjoy live theatre performance or at least visit some art galleries. Is there such an opportunity in the capital of Ukraine? It is understandable that all the performances should be in English as most people from abroad speak this language perfectly well. Kyiv wins its prize for all the headlines and information in public transport as it is in English. The translation and transliteration work started here in 2012 when preparing for Euro 2012. In the metro and in the electric ground transport you will here the stops named in English. But that’s not the only surprise that waits for you in this huge city. There are also places where you will feel like you’re home again.
We have chosen Top 5 places for the foreigners in Kyiv. Here you don’t have to worry if people understand you. You can just enjoy the time doing the thing that you enjoy the most. These places are wonderful for a date or just for being alone when you need to think about something and forget about the world. Some of the places are actually hilarious.
For movie lovers
This place could be called multinational. The cultural centre “Kyiv Cinema” is a place that host international film festivals. It is the only cinema theatre in Kyiv which shows the movies without dubbing. It means that not only locals can come and watch the movies, but also people from other countries. On April 26, “Kyiv Cinema” together with the Embassy of Spain in Ukraine opened an annual CineFiesta that allows Spanish people in Ukraine as well as Ukrainians who enjoy Spanish language to see the best movies produced in Spain. The movies go with the subtitles in Ukrainian to make sure that everyone definitely understand everything.
Official poster of CineFiesta 2018
As soon as CineFiesta finishes, another film festival starts. It can be Austrian, German, Turkish, British, Dutch, etc. You will never be bored no matter which country you are from. For a whole week you can enjoy the selection of different genre movies – from comedy to documentaries.
The cinema theatre was opened in 1952 and since then the building itself hasn’t changed, even inside you will see high ceilings and big chandeliers. But the insides were renewed completely. The theatre runs three floors. On the first one there is a cash desk in case you prefer not to buy tickets online. The second floor contains a huge hall with a café where you can buy popcorn and drinks. Here the official part of the festivals usually takes places. When festivals are open, they attract crowds of people who want to meet and communicate with native speakers. So, it is quite possible that you meet someone from your hometown in this place.
CineFiesta 2018 Opening
If you are hungry before the movie but you hate popcorn because you get all that crumbs on your chest in the dark hall, you can visit the restaurant right outside the theatre. It always smells very nice and in summer there are crowds of people chatting and enjoying their vine on the terrace.
If you enjoyed a movie and not you don’t want to go home, you can go to the basement floor as there is a night club where you can play billiards. There is also a stage where sometimes live music can be heard.
The location of the cinema theatre is amazing as it is situated right next to Lva Tolstogo metro station. If you are not tired, you can have a 15-minute-walk to Maidan Nezalezhnosti. And if you are lucky, Khreschatyk will be closed for the cars and you will be able to walk on the road and see crowds of people taking pictures with actors dressed as pandas, penguins, minions and other funny characters. Khreschatyk is splendid at this time of the year because chestnuts trees are blooming beautifully in pink and white colours.
For modern art lovers
Not far from Kyiv Cinema there is an art centre that attracts crowds of people mainly because the entrance is free. When you go out of the corner, you will see a long queue of people waiting impatiently for their turn to come in. Some of them get tired of waiting and just go searching for another adventure. But for those who are patient enough, the owners prepare exhibitions of the artists from different parts of the globe.
The centre was opened in 2006 but it really boomed in 2009 with the exhibition of skulls by Damien Hirst. A huge number of students attended it. The British artist showed in one of his works how he saw the Orange Revolution of 2004.
PinchukArtCentre in 2009, Damien Hirst “Requiem” Poster
If you enjoy and understand modern art, this place is definitely a must. But before going, think which time if better for you not to see the crowds. The queues are not so long in a working day and the opening hours are very convenient. You can find all the necessary information on the official website.
For paintings lovers
The place is called “The Museum of Modern Art of Ukraine”. But to be honest, it mostly represents XX century with some new paintings. If you want to see the works of the artists which you have never heard of before, you should visit this place. Just ask yourself, is Gapchinska the only Ukrainian artist that you know? If it is so, you need to widen your horizons and to see how many talented people live and create in Ukraine.
The entrance is free but you can leave some money for museum development.
The Museum of Modern Art of Ukraine (the picture from official website)
Not far from this place there is a new café and art centre. Here usually take place fashion events, art installations. In the café you can play intellectual games every week. This place is very popular among Ukrainian youngsters.
This might be depressing but it is a part of Ukrainian history. If you are fond of learning new information about the countries that you visit, then you need to visit National Museum “Memorial to Holodomor Victims”.
It is situated not far from Arsenalna metro station, and it is better if you walk there without taking a car or public transport. The way lays though the Park of Eternal Glory This park is huge and marvellous. People often come here especially in spring and summer.
You will be delighted with the view on Dnipro River. But the statue of the thin little girl in front of the museum entrance will make you shake.
A little girl (picture taken from http://prostir.museum/ua/post/35498)
For music lovers
If you like listening to organ with orchestra, this is the number one place for you. Not far from the city centre there is a National Organ and Chamber Music Hall of Ukraine which is literally an active catholic cathedral which holds the concerts everyday expect for Sundays. Well-known organ players perform here.
Even if you get bored of music, you will be happy to see one of the most famous buildings of Władysław Horodecki.
Saint Nicholas Cathedral (the picture taken from http://wedding.ua/company/locations/kiev/1389430845/)
These are our Top 5 places to visit while in Kyiv. Enjoy your stay and don’t get in trouble because of the language that you speak. You can always find a solution whether you would like to watch a movie in English or communication with people from your country or other countries.
Kharkiv is a huge beautiful Ukrainian city which used to be the capital of Ukraine from 1919 to 1934. You can read all the historical facts in different sources but what you won’t find online and in the books are those emotions that you experience when you see new parks, old buildings, smiling people. There are many places in Kharkiv which will feed your curiosity such as Museum of Sexual Cultures of the World, City Funicular, Gorky Park and many others. Today we will try to walk you through the most interesting places of the city.
It is surprising how landscape change when you look through the window of the train Kyiv – Kharkiv. Mile by mile trees disappear and enormous fields with tiny islands of trees are ready to make you smile. This is one of the reasons for visiting this city in summer – you will be able to see the difference – spacious nature can be without a ridiculous quantity of buildings and people. You will see cows, goats and even horses which calmly chew the grass. If the window is open, you will feel the smell of the cut grass and see people working in the garden. Here, in the countryside it seems like everything becomes slower because no one needs to rush. There is no metro, there is no peak hour and annoyed people who are late for work. Here you can enjoy the moment.
And then, in contrast, you arrive to Kharkiv railway station. And it’s like stepping on an ant house. This will be the first time when you realise how big the city is. People come and go. For some of them it’s just a check point before they go to another city, and for the others, it is a final destination. You will never see empty benches in front of the railway station especially in summer. Be ready to start a walk to remember.
Metro in Kharkiv
Unlike Kyiv metro, there are no tokens. Be ready to find banknotes (1 UAH, 2 UAH, 5 UAH, 10 UAH) and coins. Machines will grab your money and give you a paper ticket in exchange. You need to feed this paper ticket at the entrance. It won’t return to you. So if you want to keep one as a souvenir, you need to buy an extra one. The tickets are only valid for a day. That’s how local administration motivates people to buy electronic cards which is convenient because it saves your time as the queues for ticket machines are usually long.
At the entrance you will see a giant squirrel surrounded by flowers. Don’t be surprised. Local authorities changed the monument of Maksim Gorky for the squirrel. You will see crowds of people taking selfies with it.
The park itself has been recently reconstructed. The territory is quite big. There are different thematic areas like French zone. There is a lake with black, white swans and ducks of all possible colours. There are also several nice arbours where you can have a rest and just enjoy the view.
You will find different sculptures of children all around the park. You can even play a game to find all these sculptures and take pictures with all of them.
There is also an observation wheel which looks stunning at night time.
When you see something sparkling in the bushes or between the trees, that will definitely be a sculpture of children. Some of them look very pretty hanging down from the trees. They light in the dark changing their colour from white to purple. There is a whole alley of umbrellas which are boring to look at in the morning but at night they are spectacular.
There is a nice children’s zone with amusement parks and the area where your children won’t ever be unattended.
Kharkiv funicular is a must! This is actually the first thing that you need to put in your list when you plan your trip. It was first open in 1971! At present time, one-way ticket costs only 30 UAH and one ride takes approximately 18 minutes. It is totally safe. The funicular was reconstructed several years ago and now is extremely popular. The length of the route is 1385. The minimum height is 8 m and the maximum is 26. You will really see the tops of the pine trees. We advise you to go in autumn to see all the colours that nature has or in summer when everything is bright green and full of life. You won’t regret it!
Kharkiv Funicular in Autumn
In the end of April and in the beginning of May, don’t miss blooming tulips. Not far from Karazin University, one of the most popular and prestigious universities in Ukraine, there is a monument to Kharkiv founders. Here you will find this amazing field of tulips of all possible colours.
Another place with such great amount of this flower waits for you Taras Shevchenko Park not far from the monument.
Field of Tulips, next to the monument to Kharkiv Founders
The Museum of Sexual Cultures of the World
In 1999, the museum was open as an initiative of the workers of the Department of Sexology of Kharkiv Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education. This place is usually in the list of the hidden sights of Kharkiv among the ghost buildings and other curious places which attract only experienced travellers.
The museum is situated in the backyard of a regular house. There are no signs that show where you need to go. But when you find it, you will be happy for at least three reasons: you actually found it and most people haven’t even heard about it, the tickets are very cheap and the exhibitions are truly informative. You can also have a guide which is better if you don’t speak Russian or Ukrainian.
Our last stop for today is Sarzhyn Yar. A Botanic garden which you need to visit to see three famous places for local people and tourists. The first one is the place where red fishes are grown. You can come here and catch a fish. After that, the employees weigh is and you buy it.
The second place here which attracts plenty of attention is the source with holy water. It is believed that the water from this source cures diseases and improves your physical and mental state.
The last place you need to see is a giant clock which shows real time in Kharkiv. The clock of surrounded by flowers. Beautiful wooden steps lead to the clock from two sides. You will see many people taking pictures. That’s for sure.
Hopefully, you found at least one reason to visit Kharkiv. Just remember that you won’t regret visiting this city. It is very clean. In the park, for example, you won’t find piles of garbage and people stepping on the grass. On Saturday, you can even meet the mayor of the city and take a selfie with him which is very nice because natives can see that not only average person walks here but also local authorities.
“I love Kharkiv”, next to Blahovishchensky Cathedral
The spring has just shown us a bit of its sunny weather and on the streets of Kyiv you can already see beautiful girls walking without their warm winter hats and scarfs, find their highest heals but still comfortable heals because it is not snowing anymore and they are save to look beautiful without diving into the snow or even sliding and falling on the ice. The perfect time for some long walks around the city in search of squirrels. If you wonder where you can find this fast fluffy animals, we have some tips for you. Just don’t miss these places!
As you can imagine, in Kyiv there are lots of parks. But not everywhere you can find squirrels. You will say – why should I even start searching for these animals!? The reason is simple and it is quite possible that you have multiple reasons:
You are bored and you want to escaped from this crowdy capital;
It is warm and you haven’t tried your new bright coat yet;
You have some walnuts at home and you want to share them;
You like nature and animals;
You are crazy about parks.
We prepared some information for you about the best parks for weekend rest or for walking after work or for a meeting with your friends. Here they are.
Forest Park “Vynohradar”
This park is great for nature lovers. It is not equipped like other Kyiv parks. You have noticed that in the name of the park there is a word ‘forest’. Don’t be surprised. Vynohradar district is relatively new and it was built in the place where the pine forest started. Now it is the most popular place for the picnic among the locals. Inside the park, there is a restaurant and places for making fire. The entrance is opposite the bus stop. You can also rent a bike and cycle inside the park breathing all that fresh pine air. Don’t come there on May holidays because there is an insane amount of people there and the air smells like barbecue.
On a working day you will definitely see one of the local squirrels. And if you take some not cracked walnuts, they will take this delicious meal right out of your hands.
This park is pretty close to one of the most famous places in Kyiv – Puscha-Vodytsya.
How to get there
It is a bit hard to find it on the map. But there are several ways to get there by public transport. The easiest way is to the metro station Nyvky and from there take the trollebuy 26 and go to the final stop.
Another option is to go to Syrets metro station and take the bus 439 till the final stop.
This park requires reconstruction. Nevertheless, it is always crowded. People come here to feed the ducks, to cycle and just to spend time with their families. The park is big enough. It stretches between two metro station and has four lakes. To be honest, you can only see water in three of them. The fourth has grown with different kinds of plants. Some Kyiv photographers come here to take pictures of the birds that you can’t meet anywhere else in Kyiv.
Nyvky Park in summer
It can take half of the day if you want to walk from one side of the park to the other with stops for taking selfies with the ducks, eating your lunch, watching how cyclists try to get through the crowd of people… If you want to get in touch not only with nature but also with people.
It is highly unlikely that you find squirrels in this park. But if you go to the fourth lake, you might see amazing birds.
How to get there
By public transport you just go to Nyvky or Beresteiska metro station. As simple as that.
This park is very beautiful and fully equipped. The location is not very convenient so for this one it’s better if you rent a car. The entrance is not free (20 UAH per person) but a good thing is that you can go to the official website and check out all the prices and the instructions.
In the park there are several lakes that were created by men. People are actually not afraid to swim there.
In general, it is a nice place to spend time with your family and friends. Sometimes you can even get to the music festivals that take place in the park. It is better to some in summer.
Feofaniya Park in summer
This one is again for nature lovers. It is not fully equipped. The locals are very lucky that this park wasn’t destroyed by building yet. And the main reason for that is that it is situated on the hill and the earth moves constantly leaving no chance for the builders.
As for the city cyclists, it’s one of their favourite places starting from early spring up to the late autumn. Here they can try their first extreme rides going down from the hills without even a hint on a road. There are not too many people in this park, the air is always fresh. If you’ve ever been to a mixed forest and you want to refresh your memories, you should definitely visit this park.
If you want to try cycling yourself, there is a bike rental not far from the park as well as Dynamo Children’s Club. You can watch the game there without even coming inside – you can see the game through the fence.
The probability of meeting squirrels and feeding them: 90%.
How to get there
It is very simple. You just go by metro till Syrets station.
This is the most popular park in Kyiv. The location is very convenient for people who come to the capital of Ukraine for the first time. From this park you can see many interesting places, for example, the left side of Dnipro River, a sadly famous helicopter platform.
You can start you walk from Arsenalna metro station, which is the deepest metro station in Europe, and then go down till you reach The Arch of Peoples Friendship. It takes a good hour to get there. While walking, you will see some interesting places such as the Bridge of Beloved and the Puppet Theatre. It is the best park to get familiar with the city, to feel the rhythm and to communicate with natives. It is more likely that you meet English speaking people here.
Mariinsky Park, end of summer
Don’t forget to bring the walnuts! And have a great walk!
Every person in Kyiv knows that true spring starts only when magnolia is blooming. This is a very important event for the natives and tourist. It attracts crowds of people. Some of them want to see the awakening of nature, some just want to upload a new profile picture, but all of them come to certain places in the centre, loitering around the park and smelling those enormous flowers on the trees. Now, we are visiting Hortus Botanicus Fominianus Universitatis Kievensis (Fomin Botanic Garden of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv).
Fomin Botanic Garden of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv was founded in 1839. It is one of the oldest botanic institutions in Ukraine. It is very important place for the environment which aims to conserve and study rare plants. Nowadays scientists and activists in Ukraine and in other countries try to save the disappearing species. The student of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv try to plant something new each season. Unfortunately, they don’t get enough resources for that so it is not renewed often.
Now the collection of the plants in the Garden reached 9000 species which makes it one of the influential places in the country.
In 2009, the administration of the Garden applied the documents to the Ministry of Youth and Sport for adding tropical and subtropical species to the collection.
Unlike many other park in Kyiv, which we talked about in the previous article, Fomin Botanic Garden is situated in a convenient place. You can see the entrance to the park as soon as you go out of the metro. The infrastructure here is simple and developed so you can reach it from any part of the city, even from the airport Kyiv Zhuliany.
If you fancy going to the park right after your flight, you can take the trolleybus 9. Your stop will be “Universitet Metro Station”. The surroundings of the Garden are really fascinating. If you are interested in education and higher education institutions, you can visit two universities. The first one is Drahomanov National Pedagogical University which is situated right opposite the Garden. You won’t miss this yellow building. To reach the second one, you need to go up from the bus stop and then turn right. You will see a big red building. This is Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. In front of the University, there is Taras Shevchenko monument and park. It is smaller but often crowded because of the students resting during the break and people who just want to have rest.
If you want to see some more sights, you can go up and cross the road. There is Saint Volodymyr’s Cathedral, one of the biggest and most visited cathedrals in Kyiv. From the Garden, you can also take a 20-minute-walk and see some famous places like National Opera, Golden Gate, Hedgehog in the Fog. Your final destination will be Saint Sofia’s Cathedral and St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery. Then you can go down and see Maidan Nezalezhnosti.
As you can see, the location of the Botanic Garden is truly convenient. You won’t ever get lost here!
Let’s dive in this oasis of beautiful trees and flowers.
If you come here in April or May, you will probably see mysterious bright yellow bushes and lots of people in front of them taking pictures. These bushes are spread all around the city and attract lots of attention. It is now surprise that you can see the macro pictures in social networks. We also managed to take one.
Blooming apricots are one of the most important plants that let us know that spring has finally come. It is believed that if apricots are blooming, the temperature won’t drop less than zero. It is not always true. Last year, it was snowing in April.
Blooming apricot tree
We also enjoyed walking by the pure white tiny flowers of one of the bushes right on the entrance to the Garden. It doesn’t smell so you can stand next to it as long as you want. Though you need to be attention not to annoy people who take pictures after you. This bush looks like a bridesmaid next to a splendid bride…
Yes, don’t be so surprised! Magnolia really looks like it was taken out from the fashion magazines cover. It is luxurious! Enormous flowers attract so much attention that people climb over the fence to come closer and smell them. Everyone is waiting impatiently till the person before them finishes photographing. People come with their families. Some couples are walking holding their hands and smiling dreamingly. It’s like the world around you disappears. You can actually feel that nature has woken up.
Look how many flowers! As many flowers as many people! When you come into the Garden, you may think that every flower invited its person for a meeting.
If you come deeper, you will see that there are two kinds of magnolias here – pink one and white one. Pink looks amazing of the pictures especially if you make macro photo.
Blooming magnolia, macro
Most of the flowers are not yet open but they still look amazing. It is not allowed to touch the trees and flowers (though some people don’t obey this rule), but you can come close enough to smell them and to see how wonderful they are. If you can’t stop you desire of touching it, you will feel like you’re touching velvet.
Awake and waking up, macro
It is so pleasant to stand under the tree with you eye closed and breath in a strong but tender aroma of magnolia. People try to spend as much time as possible next to the trees where the flowers opened completely.
Follow people. Come down the stairs. Go on a bright yellow colour of Forsythia bushes. There, in a row, you will see the benches. We promise you that there won’t be enough space to sit. Be ready to walk!
Go down the stairs again. You will hear a buzzing noise. No, it’s not a beehive! It’s the sound of people talking to each other without smartphones and computers! Can you imagine that in our age?!
This place became a fair without the goods for selling. You will also here music. If you are not aware of that, there are a lot of street musicians in Kyiv. Really talented ones! When this place is crowded, guitar players arrive to entertain the visitors and to earn some money.
Don’t stop! Come here and enjoy soft guitar music!
If you go further, you will see the artists who come here to practice and draw picturesque landscapes. They don’t pay attention to the crowd. They are concentrated on their paint and canvas.
A bit further you may be lucky enough to see the girl wearing a fancy dress and a photographer who tells her how she should stand.
People are everywhere. They laugh, they hold hands, they look each other in the eyes. It is pure harmony, irresistible desire to live! It is the time when Kyiv wakes up with the nature. It is the place where you can feel how connected with nature you are.
Kyiv holds a lot of mysteries. It also holds some devils. One of the theories says that there are three spiritually important buildings in the city. It is believed that these buildings have paranormal powers and can probably influence the events. And nobody knows the truth. But if you’ve been to Barcelona and loved Antonio Gaudi’s works, you would enjoy the sights that are not at all worse than in Spain.
My friend told me about the book by Ukrainian author Oles Ilchenko. It is called “Misto z khymeramy” (The City with Chimeras). According to her, the writer magically combines the mystery and real events as well as different times – the XX century with it’s famine and war threat and the XXI with the children who have modern phones and cameras.
The Cover of the Book “Misto z khymeramy” (The City with Chimeras)
But the main point is that no matter what year it is, the stories behind some architectural sights keep attract attention of historians, writers, and journalists.
The main mysterious building in Kyiv is Budynok z khymeramy (The House with Chimeras). The house is situated in one of the richest districts of the city (Lypky), Bankova Street. You can find this street just going up Heroyiv Nebesnoyi Sotni Street from Maidan Nezalezhnosti. This street used to be called Instytutska but after the tragic events at Maidan it was renamed.
The Old View on Heroyiv Nebesnoyi Sotni Street
But you need to know some details about the procedure of getting into the house or even just passing by it. Several years ago the street was open for everyone so you could came up to this amazing creation and take some pictures. Unfortunately, after the renewing Ukrainian government decided that it has the right to limit the access to the house. Today you can only go for the excursion on Saturday. It will cost you 250 UAH but it includes an inside excursion. There is also a form to sign up for a free excursion but when you click on the link, it tells you that the amount of people for this excursion is so huge that you need to try signing up again a month later. In blogs Ukrainians say that this line is 2-3 months long. If you decide just to walk by the house, you won’t be able to. The police limited the access. And the house itself is surrounded by the metal fence… It is only possible to take the picture of the top of the house when you just passing by the city centre and it’s not Saturday.
The View of the top of the House with Chimeras
The Devil’s Triangle
In his book Oles Ilchenko gives out a very interesting theory about three buildings with devils that make an isosceles triangle. In the middle of this triangle there is a church – and you wouldn’t believe it but it’s Sofia Kyivska. This church now fuctions only as a museum. It is not open regularly. There is also an art gallery inside and quite a nice backyard.
An old map of Kyiv (the version given in Oles Ilchenko’s book)
According to Ilchenko, there were three architects who unconsciously created three houses with the devil. And as it happened in Soviet times, this triangle should have protected the church from any bad influence (you know that Soviet authorities didn’t praise any kind of religion). Anyhow, here you are – all three devils of Kyiv.
The Main Devil
The House with Chimeras is the project of the famous Polish architect Vladyslav Horodetskyy who emigrated to Ukraine. A lot of people might think that he was psychologically unstable because a normal person wouldn’t put the devil on their own house. Actually, this building was originally meant to be an upmarket apartment building but when it was ready, Horodetskyy lived there with his family. Maybe the reason was that other people refused to live there thinking that it can bring bad luck.
It is also surprising that the architect was very fond of hunting. He even wrote a book about this journey to Africa. Partially, the creatures on the house are actual living animals.
The House with Chimeras, 10 Bankova Street
The first one and the main devil is the serpent of the House with Chimeras. It was the first one to appear in this row of architectural mysteries. The amount of out-of-this-world creatures is so big that you won’t even be able to notice it at once. You need to be really attentive to find this angry head hanging from the roof.
The Serpent, The House with Chimeras
People must have thought that Horodetskyy was connected with black magic or even was insane. The house is so unusual that it’s hard to believe that a normal person is its author. But he was and now his works are #1 sights in Kyiv.
The Gargoyle That Smiles
You won’t notice it unless you look carefully. We started our way from Bankova Street where we saw the serpent. Now we come back to Maidan and go up Mala Zhytomyrska Street, after that we cross Volodymyrska Street and we are here – where the gargoyle smiles from the top of the house created by another architect Mykhailo Bobrusov.
The Gargoyle, 8 Velyka Zhytomyska Street
In the book “Misto z khymeramy” the author says that the devils from these three houses look at each other and they are placed on the same level above the ground. In reality, it is not exactly right.
To be honest, this smiling face by the road is psychedelic thing and looking at it doesn’t make people feel good. Some people believe that this smiling devilish creature was a necessary thing to put on the house of the man who loved to hold spiritistic sessions. It wasn’t the author himself but his client. So maybe it is even better that you can’t see the devil at once…
The House with Cats
It is approximately 2-kilometres walk from the gargoyle’s house. This pretty green building was created by another architect Volodymyr Bezsmetnyy. It is just a welcoming building on one of the calmest streets of Ukraine’s capital city. The cats at the bottom of the house look very nice and warm your heart until you look up where there is a nasty creature staring somewhere in front of itself. In ancient times these creatures were put of the houses to scare away all the paranormal things. When looking at this creature, it is very important not to think about the gargoyle smiling and staring in this direction…
The House with Cats, 23 Hoholivska Street
Three different architects – three different devils – and yet they make one of the most interesting mysteries of Kyiv. It is better if you start your excursion from the House with Chimeras as it is the most popular house in Kyiv (maybe that’s why you need to pay to visit it) and then just make your way passing by Maidan (if you are hungry, it’s a perfect opportunity to visit “Nebos” restaurant which was mentioned in one of the previous articles). There are no access limits to the houses on Hoholivska and Velyka Zhytomyrska so you can see them any time you want. Just don’t let the devils scare you.
To continue our story about ecology in Ukraine, it is worth mentioning one of the most successful eco-art festivals in Western Ukraine, which was popular for several years and then stopped because the organisers refused to go on with the tradition because people were polluting the environment even more instead of cleaning and taking care of it. The main goal of the festival was to draw attention of the government and average people to pollution in the Carpathian Mountains. The format was the same as Karpatsky Protiag but with a major difference. All the participants should have understood how polluted mountain rivers get because of the tourists and natives. The festival was called Cheremosh Fest.
The festival started in 2013. Andriy Melnychuk was really worried about ecological situation in the Carpathians as he lived in one of the most popular place for hiking – Verkhovyna. He noticed how rivers dry out and how much plastic there is in them. And then the local government decided to build a powerplant on Cheremosh river. Andriy got very upset with that idea and he fought till the end. He managed to stop the building. He went to the court, collected all the necessary documents and the result was surprising. It is a rare thing to win the court when the authorities are against you. Cheremosh Fest helped him to defend him homeland. Unfortunately, not everyone in Ukraine understands how important it is to save our nature.
Official “Cheremosh Fest” Logo
An art part of Cheremosh Fest when through three amazing years and was extremely popular. For this event, people asked for days off from work, they came from Eastern and central Ukraine, carrying enormous bags and tents. The festival was all about staying in the wild without electricity, without the house to stay in, without all the conveniences which people of modern age love a lot. The toilets were built specially for this event right on the territory of the festival. Those were simple village toilets – big hole in the ground with the walls, roof and the door. It was a music fest combined with hiking.
Cooking on an open fire
The organisers cleaned a big area for the tent town. There was a common kitchen on the open fire where people conducted workshops. People got together and cooked “kulish” (traditional soup cooked in the pan on and open fire). The whole atmosphere was all about sharing and helping each other. It was amazing to watch how a professional draw henna tattoos. And right next to the stage there was a fair where you could buy honey, milk, goat cheese and other things produced by the natives. It was also possible to buy wooden souvenirs and pottery. People were satisfied with the format of the festival because they managed to put together their two main affections – music and food. What can be better than sitting on the top of the mountain in front of the stage, listening to the music and eating honey right from the honey cone?
The authors of the festival continued with this format for three years. In 2013, everyone was very excited with the idea so different bands from different cities agreed to take part in the festival. Perkalaba, Rura, Pan Pupets and Koralli from Ivano-Frankivsk, Hych Orchestra, Burdon, LBB from Lviv, Zapaska and Folknery from Kyiv, Hutsuly and Roman Kumlyk Capella from Verkhovyna. The organisers even managed to invite the band from Slovakia. Longital performed on the main stage!
The second year of the festival was even more successful in terms of musical part. It was so popular that even bands from Eastern Ukraine came to perform. The list of the participants was longer: Roman Kumlyk Capella from Verkhovyna, TaRuta, DrymbaDaDzyga, Kozak System and Folknery from Kyiv, Trystavisim from Uzhhorod, Flit and Koralli from Ivano-Frankisvk, Chumatsky Shliakh from Khmelnytsky, Vertep from Dnipro. There was a foreign performer! Canadian-Ukrainian band Lemon Bucket Orchestra/Lemonchiki Project.
As you can see by the list of the participants, the festival got its support from the musicians and artists. Everyone wanted to help to fight environmental problems. Some of the musicians participated in the festival not once but twice which shows their commitment.
Unfortunately, the festival in 2015 was the last one of this format and it involved mostly the bands from Western Ukraine as well as Kyiv. The reason for that was the was on the East and intense relations between people from opposite parts of the country.
Cheremosh Fest 2015, Main Stage
In 2015, after conducting the festival, Andriy Melnychuk made an official statement where he explained why the festival should exclude the musical part and tent towns. He was disappointed with people’s behaviour and irresponsibility. He claimed that instead of cleaning the territory, the visitors brought even more trash with them and were not even bothered to take away the rubbish which they had after cooking their meals on an open fire.
Cheremosh Fest haven’t been conducted as an eco-art festival since 2015.
The lack of the music in the Carpathians doesn’t mean that Andriy lost hope and faith in the society. He hasn’t ever stopped with his educational and defensive work. He still draws public attention to the consequences of the industrialization and pollution. He tries to explain people how we can prevent those consequences. He uses social media to show the pictures of hiking and rafting on the Cheremosh river. That’s how people can see how much water the River has and how important it is to take care of it. He also conducts excursion for the foreiners. He is married and raised a child whom he often takes hiking, too.
We are obsessed by making money. And we are ready to find any way to earn as much as we can. That’s what happens in the Carpathians. The authorities, they come and go. Each and every representative has their own vision. One wants to build a powerplant in the mountains which will definitely lead to an ecological catastrophe, another one supports this idea. It happens rarely that local government cares about nature.
Festivals like Cheremosh Fest are meant to show Ukrainian people and people all over the world that we are responsible for everything that happens around us.
It is surprising that Andriy hasn’t lost his inspiration and shows to the public how beautiful can Carpathians be. You can enjoy watching the pictures on the official web-pages. There are extreme videos of rafting in early spring when snow can still be found. You can see how full-flowing Cheremosh is!
Many people come to Verkhovyna for rafting. They enjoy screaming and, as they write on social network, “break Cheremosh waves with their heads”. People are grateful to the instructors and on the official Facebook page you will find funny videos of groups going down the river on a raft, shouting and having fun.
It’s good that people have an opportunity to see mountain rivers in April and then see the same rivers during the peak of tourist season. Other countries should take Ukrainian example as a base and start their own eco festivals. This could be the beginning of new age, when we see nature renewing not destroying.