Sunday, February 18, 2007

The terrific Taras Shevchenko tour

Today was a beautiful day. So I will try not to be cynical.

To celebrate this beautiful day, Mr Moi and I nursed our mini-Caribbean-Club hangovers from the comfort of our couch, and looked at the beautiful day every now and then (basically, when we were game enough to expose our eyeballs to sunlight).

But, as fate would have it, I had agreed to babysit the kids of a couple we know. After a bolstering meal of chinese instant noodles, we set out in the crisp minus 3 air, and walked to our friends' house.

I took the point-and-shoot with me to capture the fleeting afternoon. And it wasn't until I downloaded these photos that I realised I've documented the terrific Taras Shevchenko tour.

Taras Shevchenko is a Ukrainian literary hero (not to be mistaken with Andriy Shevchenko, who is a Ukrainian soccer hero. And unlike Taras, he's still alive).

Walking to the end of our street, Mr Moi and I had to cut through Taras Shevchenko park.

Most of the snow on roads and paths recently melted, and has since been followed by a cold snap. So there's still snow on the grass, but not on the paths. This makes walking a pleasure, and despite there not being any other people in this photo besides Mr Moi, there really were a few people out and about.

The sun was actually shining through the trees, which I thought looked rather pretty, and not a little endearing.

As we walked through Taras Shevchenko Park, I couldn't help but notice Taras Shevchenko University. It's the big red building you see in the background.

There's a story behind the colour of the university - I think some young bolsheviks were protesting against the Tsars, so Nikolai II ordered them to be killed. They happened to be students at the university, who were protesting at the university. So, to remind the public of the bloodshed, Nikolai ordered that the building be painted red.

If that's not enough Taras Shevchenko for you, then here's the main man himself. Everyday, he keeps watch over his park and his university.

Unfortunately, because of the way his statue is positioned, he can't keep watch over his boulevard.

This is Bulvar Taras Shevchenko.

Well, part of it. It's actually quite long, and lined with poplar trees. I'm looking forward to seeing it in the summer.

Walking down Bulvar Taras Shevchenko on a Sunday night, as we were, we could hear the bells of Volodomyrsky ringing.

This old church is still operating as a Russian Orthodox church. The bells were calling people to church, I guess, and unlike other bells you see around the place, they were being rung by humans.

I love the blue domes with the gold stars painted on. Even religious people must be three year old kids deep down.

Kyiv, as with all former soviet countries, is full of underpasses. Because the driving is so bad, and humans act as something to target rather than dodge, the soviets wisely built a lot of underpasses around the cities.

This is one of them. It's also an entry to the Universityet metro station, one of the deepest in the world.
The sun is running out, so here are a couple of last ditch shots to capture the prettiness of the day.

And finally, here's what brings me back to earth: garbage piled high right on the footpath of one of the city's flagship streets.

And here's one of the trams from the 1940s that hopefully will get replaced by a Swiss-issue 'new'* tram.

I hope you enjoyed these colour photos from Kyiv.



Willowtree said...

Great photos, and a great tour. Thank you.

Rookie said...

WOW! I used to live just few blocks away from that park on Dovshenko street and your pictures brought back many memories of my wonderful childhood. Keep up the wonderful blogging!

Pamela said...

yes. I enjoyed it very much.

Little Miss Moi said...

Dear willowtree. Thanks mate. Anytime.

Dear rookie. Oh dear. If you lived on Dovoshenko then you can out me as an impostor, and tell people that, in fact, past the park going towards Tsirk, it's not Bulvar Taras Shevchenko, but Prospekt Pobedy. When I looked up your old street, I realised that the name changes! It will always be TSB to me.

Dear pamela. Yes, life is in colour here in Kyiv sometimes!

olechko said...

great shots!!! The colors tell how cold it was out, brr.

Beccy said...

Great pictures and some history!

Jenny said...

Beautiful stuff!

Sabrina said...

Loved seeing the pics! And the history lesson!

Little Miss Moi said...

Dear olechko. Yes it was clear and crisp. I wanted to take the SLR, but we had 20 mins to get from my place to past tsirk on foot. So I took the point-and-shoot. The clear winter days are great for pics, though, can't go wrong!

Dear beccy. Thanks! I just hope the history is correct (toddling off to check wikipedia now!)

Dear Jenny. Thanks - hard to go wrong. And Taras was a good looking fella.

Dear sabrina. Thanks! I just hope my history is right...

Hmmm... just checked wikipedia and no reference to the colour. I must have it on hard copy. I will return to this topic sometime in the future....

enid said...

wah, the old country. enid's homesick already. she's also got a bad case of fibitis. (good photos! the sun on snow does make it all look much happier, doesn't it?)

Little Miss Moi said...

Dear enid. Yes, the sun actually shining actually tugs at the heartstrings. It was v. pretty on Sun arvo...

pumpernickel said...

Dear Litle Miss Moi:

Nice photos - and thanks for the Haiku. Have you been able to make some of the touristy sites. I recommend the Pechersk Lavra, but see if you can get into some of the neat further down catacombs...

Little Miss Moi said...

Dear pumpernickel. I have been to the Pechersk Lavra. It is very impressive, I went to the far caves on a weekend and got a bit claustrophobic brrr. I haven't been to the Upper Lavra (the part that is owned by the government with the museums etc) at all yet.

A friend told me a story last night - she went on a tour and they went down into the caves. As you know, you light your way with a candle - well, someone's fur coat caught alight! Imagine trying to evacuate those caves.