Before closing the chapter of my blog on Kiev, I want to say a few remarks about The Lavra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Holodomor (Great Famine) 1932-1933.
The Lavra and the Holodomor Victims Memorial and are located near each other on the Pechersk Hills on the right bank of the Dnieper River in Kiev. I took a Metro ride from downtown one afternoon and walked about a mile to reach these sites. It was an afternoon of discovery.
Kyevo-Pecherska Lavra, or just “the Lavra” is a monastery with a 1000 year history. It has been an important center of Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Eastern Europe since its foundation in 1051. The monastery became Kievan Rus’ intellectual center. Once inside the monastery, strolling among the cluster of gold-domed churches and courtyards lead me to several interesting museums. One of them displayed a hoard of Scythian gold (7-3 centuries BC), another an outstanding collection of traditional dress from around the country.
The Holodomor (Great Famine) which took place in 1932-1933, was a genocide against the Ukrainian people. It was an artificially introduced food shortage created under Stalin in which millions of Ukrainians died of starvation.
The Holodomor Victims Memorial sits high on a bluff overlooking the Dnieper River. I visited Black Board Alley in the museum underneath the memorial. Here the names of 14 thousand villages and towns in Ukraine which were affected by the famine are listed. This display has become one of the most striking symbols of the Holodomor.
Following are a few photos in memory of my experience in Kiev – a fascinating city where east meets, and often collides with, west.
I am off on a seven hour train ride to the historic town of Lviv in the western part of Ukraine. Fortunately it was easy to buy my ticket online. Finding my way around the train station in Kiev was a challenge without speaking Russian or Ukrainian. I am grateful for the assistance given to me getting around the station on my departure by a delightful Ukrainian Mother and daughter whom I met there.
I have experienced wonderful hospitality from warm and friendly Ukrainian people since my arrival.
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