Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Random Picture Collection: Kiev Edition

Roughly every month I collect the photos that didn't quite get their own post and bring them together in a single post.  Past collection can be found here.  

Today's collection is centered around our trip to Kiev from a few weeks ago.  We begin with this warrior/angel that overlooks Independence Square.

This is of the Ukrainian government's ministry buildings that was in the shape of a half circle.  

The view of Kiev from the opposite side of the Dnieper River. 

In Independence Square these guys dressed in animal costumes or pop culture icons, such as Bart Simpson, and SpongeBob SquarePants go around and ask all the tourists with kids if they want to take a photo.  God only knows the last time these costumes were washed.  

Another view of Kiev.

My home city of Kharkiv is 40km from the Russian border and I haven't seen to much of this sort of anti-communist public speech.  Kiev is a different place all together being four hours away and this sign and display of photographs and essays was located outside St. Michael's cathedral.  

These next two photos are of an arch called the People's Friendship Arch and it was built as a symbol honoring the 60th anniversary of the USSR.  It offers some of the most beautiful views around Kiev.  

St. Michael's Cathedral.

In America, there would be a huge scaffolding set up, in Ukraine you have painters tied to ropes.  

St. Andrew's Cathedral.  

One of the stalls at the tourist market had these huge colored pencils with the largest one too big to really be able to hold in your hands.  

This building was for sale and could certainly be the setting for a Ukrainian-based version of The Munsters

I doubt this company will ever figure out why they don't get a lot of English speaking clients.  

The obelisk is a World War II memorial.  

A lastly, here is a panoramic photo I took of Kiev...click on the image to see it better. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Somebody's Going To Get Served!

How many times has this happened to you?  You are just walking down the street and you come upon a break dancing competition.  Somebody's going to get served!   

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Battle of Poltava

Poltava, Ukraine's greatest claim to fame is probably being the location of the Battle of Poltava between the Swedish and Russian empires.  The year was 1709 and the two powers were in the middle of The Great Northern War.  They fought for only a few days and Russia's victory over the Swedes is often attributed as the beginning of Sweden's decline as a world power.  Peter the Great led the Russian forces and here's a statue of him which our guide says was life sized.

My Scandinavian heritage [a little more Norwegian than Swede] made this side trip fascinating...especially this peace arch which tries to repair the relationships between the Ukrainian and Swedish peoples more than three centuries after the battle.   

Each side of the battle has a portion of the memorial dedicated to it...it's interesting to note the similar national colors.  

Surrounding the battle grounds which has been left mainly undeveloped are some Orthodox churches and this giant mound which still holds the remains of soldiers who died in the battle.

Saturday, December 1, 2012