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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.


Kyiv Culture

On the Hunt for Kyiv Sights

Wandering around one of Kyivs biggest and most popular squares, Maidan Nezalezhnosti, one day, I came across a group of people waving flags and making a big old racket. They were offering Free Tours, which for Kyiv I thought was pretty cool indeed, and dipping out of work early the very next day (boss sanctioned, of course) I became a tourist myself. Wanna know what I learned? Read on.

There are two (just like they advertise) FREE walking tours that leave from Maidan (in front of the main post office) every single day: the first at 12.00 and the second at 16.00. Because it is so unbearably hot today, I have opted for the second tour, and probably should have waited a couple days more until my thermometer read something less comparable to the Sahara Desert. But Im here now, and so are a few other tourists, and being called over to get this walk started, our guide starts off by talking a little bit about the square were standing on...

The Climb Up
He also talks about the Main Post Office, the Monument of Independence and the citys beautiful clock made of flowers. Paying special attention to the hotel across the street, Hotel Ukraine, he mentions that while it accepts guests and works like any hotel would, it has never actually been finished. Its construction started under Stalin, but after his death, Khrushchov didnt see the profitability in continuing it and so froze all work on it. This is the way it remains today. 
We proceed along Khreshchatyk and head up Prorizna where a monument to Panikovskiy is stationed. Mr. Panikovskiy, as it is told to us, is the main character in a story by Soviet authors Ilf and Petrov called The Golden Calf. Apparently, if you put money into his change purse, a great fortune will come to you! We give it a shot, but youll have to see for yourself if it actually works. 
Continuing our climb, we stop at another monument to a famous actor and director of Soviet times, Les Kurbas. After listening to a short history about his life, we resume moving upward and come across a beautifully old, red building on the corner. Built in the 18th century, this used to be a luxurious hotel in which the owners apparently charged guests exorbitant prices for candles they required during their stay. One candle was included in the price of the accommodation, but if they needed more, theyd have to pay. 

Inundated in Info
Crossing the street toward Golden Gate, we stop in front of the fountain where our guide points out a cat sitting in a tree: it has been made of plastic forks! We then discover that there are three other cat figures in and around this area, but youll have to take the tour to figure out where. 
Coming around to the entrance of GG, we stand just in front of its enormous gate, where we are told the legend about three witches that used to live here. With a wry sort of smile as he tells this tale, he mentions that their souls now reside in the three cats located not far away. Those of us not frightened by the mystical story take the chance to walk around, and after learning a little bit more about the Gate and Yaroslav the Wise, we move on toward Sophiivska Square. 
We stop here only briefly as there is ongoing construction and can hardly hear ourselves think, but Mykhailivska Square is next and its not too far off, so we get our fill of churches in either way. There is lots to talk about here: how the communists demolished the cathedral, Holodomor and the Law of 3 Grains, as well as tales about Princess Olha, Kyrylo and Mephodiy and Saint Andrew. 
After taking a ridiculous amount of pictures, we head down Andriivskiy Uzviz which will be the last stop on our walking tour today. Stopping in front of Andriivskiy Church, our guide mentions how popular this spot is for wedding pictures, and then goes on to talk about the street were on, as well as the last monument well see today: two characters from a popular Soviet tale, Chasing Two Rabbits.
This is where our tour finds its end. It is free, but if you feel so inclined to tip your guide, then they will readily accept. Which is what I do, and head happily back up the street to write this tale. 

Vadym Mishkoriz

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Comments (7)
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P57 Hoodia Slimming Soft Gel | 10.11.2012 03:01

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istanbul tours | 08.02.2012 17:00

I took the 12:00 Old city tour. There is modern city tour at 16:00, too.
The guide was a friendly due with typical Ukrainian pronunciation, that is well understood yet. He brought in good info all the time and kept conversing with the diverse group that we were. Moreover, he helped me plan well the time needed for my return, as I had a flight to catch.
I recommend joining these tours, as you can always have a walk around the sites, but it is much, much better learning more about them by a guide, that has lived there and can bring some personal stories, too.
We discovered with http://www.privatetoursinistanbul.com and we highly suggest to anyone whom would like to visit that site.

iixzbgojt | 16.10.2011 17:12

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Kassie | 15.10.2011 04:51

If my problem was a Death Star, this ariltce is a photon torpedo.

julia | 23.08.2010 08:32

I plan to visit Kiev next summer with my german friends and free walking tours are perfect for us!=)

Masha | 08.08.2010 11:24

Seems to be a nice tour. I didn't know free tours are now in Ukraine. I tried it before in other countries. Great idea to start it in Ukraine. I will definetely try it.

hermine | 06.08.2010 20:04

D'u need a new photographer??? hey, good camera is not all u need to have good results....

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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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