Derek's Time-Space Warp

A collection of thoughts and experiences as I explore the universe, warping time and space in my vicinity

Ukraine / Germany Trip, Day #4

Kiev, Ukraine

Today we rode the metro and headed out for another day of sight-seeing. We headed in the general direction of the Motherland Monument, but on the way we passed the Музей «Меморіал жертв Голодомору» (Holodomor / Genocide Memorial). There were large numbers of soldiers standing nearby, which was somewhat unnerving at first. Turned out that today is Holodomor Remembrance Day, in which Ukrainians remember the Holodomor, the man-made famine/genocide of 1932-33 which killed about 12 million of their countrymen. From there we walked to Києво-Печерська лавра (Kiev Pechersk Lavra), probably the top tourist site in Kiev. It’s the site of an old (11th century) monastery complex that covers 235,400 square meters. Some of the buildings were damaged or destroyed by the Germans in 1941, but were rebuilt in 1995 after Ukraine’s independence from the USSR. Definitely a place to spend time wandering and exploring…and well worth a visit! We spent quite a bit of time there. Towards evening we walked over to Kiev’s famous Батьківщина-Мати (Motherland Monument), an enormous stainless steel masterpiece of Soviet sculpture built on a hill overlooking the Dnipr River. It was awe-inspiring, to say the least. At the base of the statue is – ahem! – Меморіальний комплекс Національний музей історії Великої Вітчизняної війниan (The Ukrainian State Museum of the Great Patriotic War) – an enormous sculpted monument to the heroes of the Soviet Union in World War II. I can’t imagine that either of these monuments are very dear to the hearts of the fiercely patriotic Ukrainians. And yet there they stand. We ate dinner at Вареничная Камюша (Varyenichnaya Kamyusha), a very cool restaurant that specializes in perogies and other Ukrainian specialty foods. The verdict: would definitely eat there again! As we walked back toward our apartment, we suddenly realized that there was no traffic on Khreshchatyk St. – an 8-lane main road – and that pedestrians were strolling freely down the street. Intrigued, we joined the locals walking down the otherwise empty main street. In places, musicians had set up in the middle of the street and were playing all kinds of music. It was a strangely peaceful experience that somehow felt fitting.

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