Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Walk in Feofaniia Park: May 31, 2013

Feofaniia Park with St. Panteleimon's Cathedral 

This morning, I met a group of women (IWCK) for a tour of Feofaniia Park located on the outskirts of Kyiv.  The park is beautiful with peonies and other flowering shrubs still in bloom.

We walked through the landscaped park (10 hrv entrance fee), into the deciduous forest to the holy springs of St. Panteleimon and the Virgin Mary.  The spring water is believed to have healing properties.

 Shrine of the Holy Spring of the Virgin Mary

The spring dedicated to the Virgin Mary is quite rustic compared to the newly constructed building that spurts out three streams of holy water dedicated to St. Panteleimon.

 The Precarious Path to the Spring of the Virgin Mary

From the holy springs, we continued up the hill to the grounds surrounding the convent and St. Panteleimon's Cathedral.  The convent's land was being planted during our visit. 

 St. Panteleimon's Cathedral

Original construction was completed in 1914 in a five-domed "Russian" style.  Under the Soviet regime, the cathedral was closed and became badly damaged.  In 1990, the cathedral was returned to the church and restoration began.  Now, the cathedral, inside and outside, is quite new.  The cathedral houses relics from several saints buried in the caves at Lavra as well as a relic of St. Panteleimon.

In 2004, Yanukovych (the current president) was so sure that he would win the election, that he began planning to build a house within the park grounds that would have a view of the cathedral.  He didn't win and the Orange Revolution happened instead.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Kyiv Days - Sunday: May 26, 2013

Sunday's Kyiv Days began with a 5K fun run.  The fun run was sponsored by a "Healthy Kyiv" group.    Their health-themed signs want beer ads and poisonous tobacco smoke banned.

This group has my vote for best coordinated running attire.

After watching the foot race for awhile, we went in search of the street fair.  There are always artists selling their work along Andrew's Descent (Andreyevsky Uzyiz), but today there was so much more spreading almost to St. Sofia's Church.  There was art, junk, junk art, Soviet souvenirs (old or maybe newly created), and bric-a-brak.

St. Andrew's Church
St. Andrew's Descent (the street)
My favorite piece was this carved wooden moose with real antlers stuck on it.  It was close, I almost succumbed to buying it, but I couldn't think of a place to put it when I got it home.  Plus, it weighed about 25 pounds.  A nice piece of folk art, though.

Colorful Ukrainian Textiles

There were more people wearing Sioux-like Native American headdresses.  These guys were selling beaded animal figures from Mexico--and, they also stood as background for photos.  Authenticity was irrelevant.

This woman and various homeless dogs are always at the bottom of Andrew's Descent.  Her sign asks people to help homeless dogs and cats.

Domino's Pizza - good restroom

Back at Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti) the square was packed with people enjoying an evening concert.  

Some people were releasing small hot-air balloons.  The bottom of the frame has a flammable substance smeared on it which is lit on fire.  As the air inside the balloon heats up, the balloon rises and floats away.  As Californians, we cringed at this fire play.  I wonder how often one of these small balloons lands on a tinder, dry spot.  Then, again, Ukraine doesn't seem to have as dry a climate as California.

Then, fireworks.  We got back to our apartment just in time to see from our balcony the amazing fireworks.  They were extraordinary and lasted 10-15 minutes.  Each burst was better than the one before.  

Another great weekend in Kyiv.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Kyiv Days - Saturday: May 25, 2013

1025th Anniversary of Kyiv

I read that it's either the 1030th or 1031st anniversary, but since "1025" is written next to the planted clock and new floral painting of St. Sofia, I'll go with 1025.  For this anniversary, the city of Kyiv threw a huge weekend party.  The weekend began with a highway bike race with national and international (Bulgaria, Belarus, Israel, etc) riders.  The oval circuit ran the length of Kreshchatyk Boulevard from European Square to Bessarabs'ka Circle.

The day was originally to begin with a Gay Pride parade, but with Orthodox priests referring to homosexuals as "rabid dogs" and many, many threats of violence, the parade was canceled--as it was last year.

There were even more people selling "props" for photos.  The guy in the above photo is holding a chinchilla (I think) and he has a little rabbit in the background.  If you want to pet the animal or have a photo taken holding one of them, there is a fee.  Ukrainians love to be photographed by their friends with these "props", in costume, or in front of any beautiful landscape. Ukrainians mostly use large digital cameras instead of cell phones.  I'm impressed with the number of large cameras I see here.

There was a Peruvian guy dressed like Sioux Native American.  He was selling CDs of Peruvian flute music.

We went to a landscape park that had "green cars" meaning that the cars were part of the landscape design.  The designs very clever and beautiful.

There were flowers everywhere and more photo-op props.  This pink bike with the basket of pink and white flowers was irresistible, although I need more practice as a model.

My friend Elen Chikhladze from Tbilisi, Georgia, was in Kyiv, too.  She was dancing at a nearby club tonight so Dan and I went to see her.  

The dance concert began with amateur dancers of all ages who had a lot more courage than I ever would.  Then the professionals took the stage.  I am not exaggerating--Elen was the highlight of the evening.  Wearing gold, she danced a very lovely piece in the middle of the concert.  Then she had the last dance--a dramatic grand finale performed to Carmina Burana music.