Tag: lviv


As a gift to a very good (and long-time) friend of mine, this weekend we moved 500km West this weekend for two days in Ukrainie’s ‘capital of culture’ – Lviv.

As a man who’s been to many ‘capitals of culture’ (and almost all European capitals) I can honestly say Lviv is one of the most beautiful. It’s not only unique from a Ukrainian perspective bit it’s as diverse, quirky, inspiring and enjoyable as anywhere I’ve ever been anywhere in Europe – including and perhaps even more so than Ljubljana in Slovenia.

For those who know me, you’ll understand the significance of that last statement.

Lviv is special and like it or not, Lviv will be the hottest ‘must see’ city in Europe within the next 5 years.

Despite the war thousands of kilometres to the East, or perhaps because of the war, Ukraine is opening to the world like never before and the world now knows where UA is. For now Lviv and Western Ukraine may be the best kept secret for Poles looking for a romantic weekend away and for those of us in Ukraine, but that won’t last. Easyjet or RyanAir will arrive soon and when they do you’ll all be wondering why you never came before.

This is all the more remarkable for a city which, just 10 years ago was as drab and depressing as any of its post-Soviet neighbours.

Go there!






CT 5 & A Weekend in Lviv

I managed another 7:45am start today but it was far from easy. Orthodoxy’s insistence on using a different calendar means that Easter weekend in Ukraine is one week later than in Europe and Ukrainians insistence on being Orthodox means Easter is a ‘big deal’. So we had a long weekend and I escaped to Lviv in Western Ukraine, perhaps Ukraine’s most beautiful city.

Like most other big cities in Ukraine, Lviv is a whopping 500km from Kyiv and this means a 9 hour tourney there (with two food and two police stops) and then 7 hours home again on Monday. However it was worth it.

Having easy access to Lviv is perhaps one of the best things about living in Kyiv, and while I disagree with many Ukrainian’s assertion that it’s the ‘most Ukrainian city’ (it is unlike anywhere else in the country, therefore not typical of Ukraine), it is still a special place. Lviv is a shining example of Ukrainian hospitality, creativity and culture and also shows what can be achieved when a local population learn to love and engage with their city and surroundings. A Flaneur’s dream.

Easter in Lviv


[Click the image above to view more pictures from Lviv]

Anyway, back in Kyiv the weather is cold and grey and I’m struggling to find much motivation for pedalling. Only the promise of fruit and yoghurt plus a ‘detox fresh’ and coffee is keeping me going.

Later today I will, for the first time, switch my car tyres back to ‘summer tyres’ thus confirming the end of winter. However any positive emotions that might appear as result of that will be short lived as my car is then due for a 1,500 EUR repair.

Perhaps I should cycle everywhere 🙂

52 minutes
Level 5
15.06 km
333 calories

via Google Keep.

As beautiful as a pysanka

‘The world is as fragile as an egg and as beautiful as a pysanka’

A few weeks before Easter, I walked out of the metro near my house and noticed a group of Babushkas crowded around a woman who was demonstrating a new gadget. While they maintained their cool-but-unforgiving ‘tough-guy’ stances (as all babushkas seem to do in public), I would have to say they seemed genuinely interested in what they were looking at, even excited.

Intrigued, I went over to see what the woman was selling. It appeared to be some kind of painted egg or maybe some kind of machine for painting eggs.

I smiled and walked off wondering why a painted egg would cause such excitement.

Zhanna Kobylinska explains why below…

The painted eggs are called pysankas and they are an integral symbol of Easter. They are Ukrainian Easter Eggs.

Pysanka and their lively colours

The word ‘pysanka’ comes from the verb pysaty (to write) because an egg is written with beeswax rather than painted on. The egg is widely used as a symbol of the start of new life, just as new life emerges from an egg when the chick hatches out. Traditionally, an egg is decorated with multicolor Ukrainian folk designs: white is a symbol of purity, birth, light, rejoicing, virginity; yellow says about youth, love, the harvest and perpetuation of the family; orange symbolizes endurance, strength, and ambition; green is the color of fertility, health, and hopefulness; spring, freshness and wealth; red is a symbol of charity, spiritual awakening, the divine love and passion of Christ, hope, passion, blood, fire, and the ministry of the church. Blue says about good health, truth and fidelity. Brown symbolizes Mother Earth and its gifts and generosity.

The Pysanka Festival, Lviv

The Pysanka Festival takes place in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv and it decorates the city with these traditional pysankas. The festival also teaches everybody, both Ukrainians and foreign tourists, to master their egg decorating skills and every participant has a unique opportunity to attend master classes to make his or her own pysanka.

At the festival one can see pysankas made from different interesting and unexpected materials such as chocolate, balloons, trees, flowers etc. Thus, during the festival period Lviv is turned into a real Open Air Pysanka Museum. One can plunge into a real whirl of unforgettable emotions, good mood, supply of energy, spiritual refreshment and feeling of starting new life.

The Pysanka Festival in Lviv is usually held in April and if you attend you can share the atmosphere of good, hope, faith, new life and spring!

The Pysanka Museum

The Pysanka Festival in Lviv is one way to discover this Ukrainian symbol of new life, goodness and hope and enrich someone’s spiritual inner world. However, if one wants to learn more about pysanka, the techniques used to paint them and their history, I highly recommended a visit to the only worldwide Pysanka Museum located in Kolomyia (Ivano-Frankivsk region, West Ukraine). Its collection presents unique works of miniature painting whose ornaments keep traditional pagan symbols. The museum’s collection has more than 12 thousand pysankas and the building housing the Pysanka Museum is built in the shape of the largest ornamental egg in the world (14m in height and 10m in diameter) with exposition and exhibition halls inside. I recommend you visit their exposition of decorative eggs from Belarus, Poland, Czech, Slovakia, Romania, France, Denmark, China, India, Argentina, Canada, the USA, Israel, Sri-Lanka, Pakistan and Egypt (some exhibits were made in the 19th-20th). You will find a variety of subject compositions and unique colour combinations that have formed a system of codes to be read each year as they are presented.

Zhanna Kobylinska

EURO 2012 promos

As Ukraine gets ready to host the European football championships in June the country, well parts of it,  have had quite a serious cosmetic makeover. Streets have been repaired, roads built, airports opened and stadiums erected.

Kyiv and Lviv got new logos, and the metro system even got new ‘English’ language signs!

In addition to this, Ukraine and her host cities feature in a whole medley of ‘inspiring’ promotional videos.

To save you hours of trouble trawling youtube, I’ve listed the best of them here.

Ladies and Gentlemen, sit back, click play and let Ukraine roll…


First up, the general Ukraine and Kyiv Promos 

Vlad video… a preview of the footballing action


Switch on Ukraine. Its a real ‘turn on’


You can’t come to Ukraine without experiencing Taras Shevchenko in some way, he’s everywhere. Here’s his contribution to Euro 2012.


4 wonderful minutes of Kyiv


Kyiv Live, a great time-lapse video of the city


I Didn’t Ask To Be Ukrainian I Just Got Lucky! – A ‘Discover Ukraine’ promo


This is the full official promo: “High time to see Ukraine”


Next we have the host city Lviv

Very short clip about the Lemberg Stadium Lviv


Welcome to Ukraine. Lviv. Euro 2012 [HQ]


UEFA‘s Lviv EURO 2012 Promo video


This one is worth watching just for the music!


...and Kharkiv 

The Stadium


The city


What they do when there’s no football


and finally, the formidable Donetsk


The expensive Donetsk promo for UEFA Euro-2012


The expensive stadium


Oh, and…

Yes, there’s even a happy EURO song!

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