понедельник, 15 декабря 2008 г.

A journey into Kyiv oblast: hidden gems on the outskirts

One of the biggest collection of ceramics is a proud of Trypillya culture museum

This pot is two or three thousand years older than the Yin-Yang found in China.

A bird from straw is an ancient Ukrainian averter.

Museum is a two-stored building, located in Trypillya village on the bank of the Dnipro River.

There clay figures symbolise a Foremother whom trypiltsi worshriped.



This power plant is located on the place where legendary Dragon or Zmiy burst out having left famous Dragon Walls or "Zmiyevi Valy".

Sviato-Pokrovska church in Parkhomivka village, 30 kilometers south of Bila Tserkva town. Researchers discovered antique, pagan and Byzantine architectural motifs in it that are supposed to symbolize the unity of all religions. The church was a technical miracle of its time, with boilers in the basement to heat the floor and the church.

But the greatest treasure of the church is its mosaics by the iconic Russian painter Nikolay Rerikh.

     There are plenty of travel options for a weekend break in Ukraine, but one that Kyiv residents often seem to overlook is the closest: Kyiv Oblast.

     You may be surprised to find that in the distance of no more than 100 kilometers from the capital, you can look at: the remains of one of the oldest civilizations, in Trypillya village; the legendary Dragon Walls, created by ancient people to protect themselves from enemies; a church with mosaics by famous artist Nikolay Rerikh in Parkhomivka village; and Oleksandriya dendrological park – a beautiful and romantic place for a walk in the town of Bila Tserkva. All these places are a part of the “Golden Ring of Kyiv Oblast” tour conducted by art agency Territoriya A and the government as part of preparations for Euro 2012, the soccer championship that will have games in Kyiv.

Trypillya culture museum

     Imperfect roads and a lack of good hotels and cafes should not be an obstacle for someone who is able to appreciate the unpolished pearls of the Kyiv province, almost untouched by the tourist business.

     After a half-hour trip by a small bus or car along Novoobukhivske Shose, you won’t notice anything remarkable about the two-storyd brick house in Trypillya village 40 kilometers from Kyiv. However, you may notice the diverse landscape that surrounds it. The building, which accommodates the museum of Trypillya Civilization, is located on the picturesque bank of the Dnipro River which does not seem to work with a view of a power plant with fuming pipes. Next to the building is a clumsy imitation of an ancient Trypillyan two-storied house of wood and clay, with a gate that looks like a two-horned arch. 

     The museum has one of the biggest collections of ceramics and ancient tools gathered by private collector Oleksandr Polishchuk. It is located near the place where archaeologist Vikentiy Khvoyko discovered a new archaeological culture in 1896. It was named after the nearest village of Trypillya.

     The most intriguing thing about the Trypillya Civilization is the challenges it presents to official science. Trypillya traces its origins back by 7,500 years, which makes it older than the Egyptian civilization. It existed for 3,000 years. It occupied a large territory of the present day right-bank Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Hungary.

     “It was 25 percent of civilized Europe at that time,” said Denys Olenchenko, a young and enthusiastic museum guide. “[One historian] even said: “Ukrainians, search for the beginning of all Europe around your Middle Dnipro.”

     There is evidence that people from this ancient culture were the first ones to invent a wheel. “Archeologist found a small clay bull-toy on wheels. If there was a toy with wheels, than a real wheel also existed but it, of course, rotted as it was wooden,” said Olenchenko.

     One of the pots in the museum boasts an ornament that looks almost like the famous Chinese Yin-Yang symbol. But this pot is two or three thousand years older than the Yin-Yang found in China.

     One of the museum’s exhibits is a collection of Ukrainian embroidered shirts, many of which inherited symbols of the Trypillya culture: there you can see a Foremother with elevated hands and a swastika, the sun symbol.

Dragon Walls

     After the museum, the tour took us to Zmiyevi Valy (Dragon Walls), located a few kilometers from Trypillya. We got off the bus on top of an unremarkable hill littered with garbage, and our guide told us a myth that every Ukrainian kid knows. In the old times, a Zmiy (Dragon) lived here and killed people. Then ancient hero Kyrylo Kozhumyaka (Cyril the Tanner) from Kyiv risked his life, saving Kyivans from the dragon. He harnessed the creature and made it plough. The two big hills appeared as a result. In the end, a tired and thirsty Zmiy went to the Dnipro and drank until it burst. “And that happened somewhere here,” he pointed down from the hill to the place where the Stuhna river flows into the Dnipro, and where a power plant stands now. “It’s remarkable but this power plant is a symbolical reminder of that Dragon.”

     The hill or, more precisely, an earth wall we stood on was one of the fortification structures created by a civilization that came after Trypillya to protect themselves from steppe nomads travelling from the south. 2,000 kilometers of those fortifications, six to eight meters high, remained in the Kyiv region on the right bank of the Dnipro.

Sviato-Pokrovska church

     Another under-explored site of interest in the Kyiv region is Sviato-Pokrovska church in Parkhomivka village, 30 kilometers south of Bila Tserkva town. 

     Typically Ukrainian villages have wooden churches or baroque-style churches painted white. But this church is quite different. Researchers discovered antique, pagan and Byzantine architectural motifs in it that are supposed to symbolize the unity of all religions. But the greatest treasure of the church is its mosaics by the iconic Russian painter Nikolay Rerikh. The mosaic above the main entrance depicts Pokrova, the protection of the Virgin, who covers people with a carpet. The mosaic is mostly done in blue and white smalt, special non-transparent glass that shines and glints in the sun. Rerikh and architect Volodymyr Pokrovskiy conceived the idea of this church on the tomb of their friend, landlord Viktor Holubiev, who built schools in Parkhomivka and was adored by his peasants. The church was a technical miracle of its time, with boilers in the basement to heat the floor and the church.

     The floor of the choir loft is slightly inclined to create a marvelous acoustic effect. The church survived some tough times. During the Soviet rule, it was used as a warehouse for fertilizers and corn. Currently, it is a working church where marriages and christenings are performed every Sunday.

Oleksandriya landscape park

     On your way back to Kyiv you can make a stop in Bila Tserkva and visit Oleksandriya, a vast park on the north-western suburbs of the town, 80 kilometers from Kyiv. Though to explore the biggest landscape park in Ukraine, you need a full day at your disposal.

     Today anyone can visit the park. But 200 years ago, when the park was a brand new creation of the Branytskiy family, only their guests and members of the royal family could walk its lanes. It was designed in a romantic style with few artificial landscape changes. Nearly every pathway in the park was made from wood chippings and clay, not asphalt or concrete. The park is located along the river Ros and has a system of beautiful pounds with swans, waterfalls and bridges. It’s a perfect place for a long romantic day out.

Trypillya culture museum Ancient Aratta – Ukraine
Trypillya village (1 Rybolovetska, 520-9444).
Near Vydubychi metro station, take the marshrutka to Stayky or Rzhyshchiv, Bukryn, Kaniv (through Rzhyshchiv) to “Shkola-Internat” station in Trypillya village.
Open Tue-Sun, 10 a.m. till 6 p.m.
Tickets are Hr 10, for students Hr 5, for pupils Hr 3
Extra fees: Hr 7 to take pictures, Hr 15 for filming.
A guide is provided for free for a group of 10 or more (non-English speaking). 

Oleksandriya landscape park
Bila Tserkva town (8 (04463) 4-05-51, 4-05-47)
Tours around park from Hr 100
Tickets to museum Hr 6, for students and pupils Hr 2
In the winter, the park is open Mon-Fri, 9 a.m. till 5 p.m.
Starting April 15, the park is open daily, except Tuesdays, 9 a.m. till 5 p.m.
www.alexandriapark.kiev.ua

Oksana Faryna for "Kyiv Post"

Photos: Serhiy Anishchenko


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