Tag: Museum

Old, cute, kitschy, cool

This week I’ve been exploring the weird and wonderful world that is Kyiv‘s left bank.

Like many foreigners here, I have to admit I spend way too much time in the city centre and view the left bank with a certain amount of suspicion and intrigue.

So, on Thursday I joined a mini tour of a left bank waste recycling centre with my journalist friend Jerom.  After the tour, our guide showed us the factory museum. It was a magnificent collection of old Ukrainian/Soviet artefacts.

As you can see, the left bank is full of surprises…


The full set of pictures is here:

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

City Guide: Mykolayiv

Your guide - Sergiy 'malchik' Prokhorov

A native’s guide to Mykolayiv

By Sergiy Prokhorov

Almost each city in Ukraine is beautiful and worth visiting. Mykolayiv is not an exception, and being originally from this city – I know what I am talking about. Believe me it is the town you will remember after one single day and if you spend there more time you may not want to leave it!

It is located in the South of Ukraine and together with Odesa, Mykolayiv represents the beauty of this part of the country. It is not that big as Odesa, it’s population is a bit less than half million, but it does not have the coast.

In the city centre it feels like you are in a sea resort town. However, we will come to that in good time. First, let’s start with the regular things, the so called ‘classic’ sightseeing.

In Mykolayiv there is the best zoo in Ukraine. It doesn’t have giraffes like Kyiv zoo, but it is the only zoo in Ukraine that belongs to the wolrd zoo association (http://www.waza.org/en/site/zoos-aquariums). So if you ever happen to be in the city, make sure you drop in to this huge zoo. Especially if you have children, that would be so much fun for them.

Bears are especially amazing. Seems like they have worked in a circus before.

Going further, if you heard about the Russian empire’s fleet, Mykolayiv was the place where all those ships were built and kept. To ease the delivery of the wood needed for ship building, the streets in the city mainly run in straight lines and meet at right angles. It a little bit like Manhattan.

The city is located at the mouth of two rivers – the Ingul and Pivdenniy Bug, and in tribute to Mykolayiv’s history of sailing and seafaring we have a large fleet history museum which is well worth visiting. It houses small copies of modern and ancient ships and you can also go to the outdoor part and touch real ship weapons: huge cannons, torpedoes, and also anchors.

Model ship from Mykolayiv Ship Museum

Big guns

Depending upon your ability to be interested in boring things, you might be interested in attending Vereshagin art museum, but if you like sports you can go swimming, iceskating and even skydiving in Mykolayiv! not bad, huh?

Ok, that was the first half of your day. During the second half you may want to visit a big shopping mall called City Centre. It’s not located in the city centre but it is not far and if you locate it, you will find lots of boutiques, a cinema and a couple of restaurants. After that it is time to go directly to the city centre. It is basically represented by one wide pedestrian street called Sovetskaya (Soviet). The legacy of the USSR is still living in the name of this street, though there have been several unsuccessful attempts to rename it. The square is full of shops, boutiques, eating out places, etc. It is also very green and makes feel like you are somewhere at the sea.

When you go to the end of this street you will see a big statue of Lenin – a place where local skaters hang out and one of the rivers mentioned above. If you walk along it you will see the other one. It looks magnificent and it is specifically spectacular because of two bridges over those rivers. Both of them open from time to time to let the ships go to the shipyard. One of the bridges raises up, the other turns around. If you are lucky to see this you will be impressed. Huge soviet built constructions move without a single squeak. Unbelievable!

One goes up

...the other spins around

You may watch it from the brink of the bridge while ships go out or in. You may also go to the yacht-club – a place along the river where local oligarchs keeps their yachts.

Ok, time goes on and night life is the final thing in the city that will make you think about staying more. You definitely have to visit two main night clubs in the city – Illusion and Storm. That’s where you can really realize why Mykolayiv is often called a city of brides. The girls in the city are extremely beautiful. So if you have a wife, make sure she keeps an eye on you while having fun in a night club. If you don’t, then enjoy the time.

As you can see it is relatively well developed and no surprise that Mykolayiv turns out to be the most cost effective city in Eastern Europe beating Riga and Tallin (http://money.msn.com/business-news/article.aspx?feed=PR&Date=20120224&ID=14826772)

Finally the day is over and you may consider spending one more, since there are so much more to see in the city!

Museum of… toilets

I’m serious. It’s not a joke, Ukraine (Kyiv) actually has a museum of the history of the toilet!   …or lavatory, crapper, throne, bog, thunder-box, or whatever you want to call it.

Allegedly (and quite believably) it is the first toilet museum in Europe.

Mini boom-boxes at Kyiv's toilet shrine

I haven’t visited yet, but I most definitely will and according to its website, when I do I can see an ancient ‘brass ship toilet’, a 14th century English porcelain pot and a German ‘night vase’.

Translated by Google, the museum’s website starts with three relatively understandable, but slightly odd questions:

“Have you ever wondered: “How to start a civilization?”

“How to determine the level? “No?” 

“Did you know that until the 17th century in European cities could build a house without a latrine?” 

and then, quicker than you can say ‘turd burglar’  the translation descends into grade-A nonsense…
“if you’ve heard about the toilets, laboratories, toilets, “do not waste a single minute,” toilets “three in one” in the toilet tanks, gold toilets? No? And what do you know about the first natural human needs? All of them? Or anything?” 

So, rather than pooping-around with badly translated nonsense, I recommend a visit. Apparently one can learn about ‘world toilet day’ and gasp in awe at the largest collection of miniature toilets in Ukraine.  You’d be crazy to miss the opportunity and its FREE.

Via Ukraine and long live the dunny.

Gangster-looking man in white shoes gives a crap interview

To be honest, if my teacher took me to a 'toilet museum' I would also look bored

Ever wondered what's inside? ...no, me neither

If you would like to visit, please see the toilet website for more information http://www.toilette.com.ua/

Home(page) of the toilet

State Air Museum

Have you every wanted to see a MiG-28 do a 4G negative dive?

Well, you can’t because MiG 28’s don’t exist. However, the State Air Museum of Ukraine does and it is paradise for Top Gun movie fans, plane enthusiasts, and everyone else in Kiev with some time to kill.

The museum is actually located on the same airfield as Kiev’s Zhulanay airport in the south East of the city (see map below) but you’ll need to find the museum entrance because its different from the main airport. The address is: 1,  Medova street, Kiev, Ukraine, 03048,

What’s there? well, lots of planes, helicopters and missiles.

Ukraine today may not be wealthy, but this country has a rich history of military innovation and the USSR built some amazing flying machines. This is the place to see them.

The museum is all outdoors, so choose a nice day to visit (or take your hat and gloves) and if you plan to stay for along time take some food and drinks because I didn’t see anywhere there to buy any.

Oh, and this day trip wont break the bank because it cost about 10UAH – that’s about 1 Euro.

State Air Museum, Ukraine

State Air Museum, Ukraine

State Air Museum, Kiev

State Air Museum, Kiev

State Air Museum, Kiev

State Air Museum, Kiev

For a more detailed explanation about the planes on show, follow this link

To see a lot more pictures, follow this link.

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