The Pirogovo Open Air Museum Kiev

 

img_3119

img_2429

About 12 kms south of Kiev Ukraine lies the village of Pirogovo which contains the Pirogovo Museum of Folk Architecture and Life. It is a 370 acre open air museum showing the cultural history of Ukraine. The site contains folk architecture brought from all parts of Ukraine and reassembled there.

img_2453

img_2442

The setting is rural as is the display, ancient buildings, a church that dates back to 1742, windmills, old houses, art and handicrafts. On festival days in Ukraine there are displays at the site which are well worth seeing.

img_3120

img_2440

There are records of habitation at the sight since the 1600s and its setting is ideal for an exhibit like this. Rolling country away from the city although close enough to easily reach it. In summer it is beautiful with wild flowers walks, streams, horses, all redolent of the times gone by.

img_3122

 

img_3121

It is an official state museum although the setting is far from the traditional museum building environment. It’s a rally great day out in the country with a combination of rural life, fascinating buildings and real history as it was lived.

img_2962

img_2449

 

Travel – Architecture and Cities

 

img_6028

I love it that every city I visit is different. Sometimes people ask me what is my favourite city out of all those that I have visited, and of course that’s an impossible question, but I sometimes try to work it out.

img_3099

There is a big difference between cities that were built as cities and those that simply evolved over centuries, from settlements beside rivers or the sea, into those that exist today. There are the great cities of the world, London New York Paris etc, and then there are cities, none the less great to those who live there, but not one of the places that everyone feels they must go to.

img_0791

 

img_2953

London is a city that has evolved over centuries from a small settlement in Roman times to the metropolis of today. The City of London is formalised architecture the result of the great fire in the 17th century which led to the city being laid out but for the rest it has grown and evolved over centuries resulting a whole mixture of styles uses and inhabitants, some would say a whole series of villages strung together.

img_0906

img_6001

 

As a contrast the centre of St Petersburg was planned and built and preserved, despite wars and changes, such that even today you can get the feeling of being just a step from the world of Tolstoy and the characters of War and Peace. Sometimes that purity has an almost big chocolate box feel about it, almost too good to be true, but such a pleasure to explore, and a living cultural museum.

img_7220

img_7221

Eastern cities reflect the rises and falls of their history and culture and have become a world of enormous contrasts, where ancient powerful histories have faded and been replaced by new modern recoveries of prosperity, interlaced with the growth of informal settlements resulting from the migration of poorer inhabitants from the countryside to the city in search of a better life.

img_0496

img_1437

Some cities are defined by nature, the physical environment dictating the shape and limits of the city, and nature itself being the limiter of its expression. Then there are the new, purpose built, modern cities of the 21st century, pragmatic, functional but none the less appealing for the imagination of their design.

img_1953

img_1457

Which are your favourites, well you pay your money and you take your choice but for me, despite my efforts to analyse, I don’t know, I still love them all because what ever they look like, however planned organised or random and chaotic they are, it’s the inhabitants that define them

sam_0288

The Crimean Peninsula

 

IMG_2204

 

There are times when you are on the coast of the Crimean peninsula, or Crimea, when you get the feeling that you are in the South of France, in Provence, before it became famous and developed and expensive There is that familiar mix of a rocky coast the scents of pine tress, the warm waters and beaches, good wine good food and sun! But it’s a lot cheaper that is certain!

IMG_2225

A good place to stay is in the city of Simferopol, the main city of Crimea, which, whilst not being exactly in the centre is very well placed to get around and see the south coast and the mountains. There are hotels but a good plan is to rent an apartment and a driver and get around the peninsula. A driver and a car are not expensive and really convenient.There is an interesting park dedicated to metal workers with statues they have created, and when you get thirsty try the local Kvas, a drink made from fermented bread.

IMG_2158

Crimea is famous for its wines and they are really good. There are many beaches and small ports. Balaklava is a good place to go hire a boat spend the day at sea going around the coast, swim off the boat, catch fish, find a beach, make a fire, cook the fish, drink the wine and have a great day. Or sit at night on the beach with a group and watch the shooting stars and the sky lanterns that people send up

IMG_2194

 

IMG_2277

The history of the Crimea is a vivid and warlike, one, which makes for a lot of sites for historians or those interested. The Crimean war, the naval bases of Sevastopol and Balaclava and the history of the second world war. Then the famous Swallows Nest on the South Coast. Of course also Yalta, a beautiful town in addition to its historic significance, and see the palaces dating back to the days of the Tsars.

IMG_2588

The scenery of the Crimea is not just beaches but mountains too and a great outing is to take the 3.5km cable car up Ai-Petri, which, whilst not being the highest mountain has amazing Vistas down the South East coast and at the top there are great hikes, and exploring.

IMG_2240

Its hard to get to Crimea these days since the Russian takeover but if you want a Riviera experience without the crowds and cost, a great place to go filled with welcoming and interesting people.

IMG_2252

Kiev Ukraine

 

IMG_3101

Despite the turbulent political history of recent years Kiev is a great city to visit. It’s a real walkers city, old streets alongside wide boulevards, old houses and modern blocks, park, gardens, historical sites and a great buzz that reflects a really lively city. It’s not a flat city so the hills, which contain some of the nicest parts of the city, have vistas and intriguing places.

IMG_3031

The Dnieper River or Dnipro runs through Kiev, more than 2000 kms long and flowing through 3 countries before it empties into the Black Sea. It is a focal part of the city with many bridges and islands in the centre of the stream some of which have beaches used in summer months just to have fun. You can take boats along the river walk along it look down in it from parks and gardens and see its relevance in life.

IMG_3058

 

IMG_3051

 

The centre of the city at the Maidan, sits in a sort of bowl with hills around it and narrow roads going up from it and this is an historic area with Cathedrals starts of old building squares built in a European style. The city blends its history and daily life seamlessly making it easy to immerse yourself in the city and its ambience.The city is filled with colours, this is not a city of gray and glass, it has real vibrant colours.

IMG_3074

 

IMG_3090

 

Kiev is an artist’s city, museums, galleries a castle, open air displays by painters ,theatres, libraries, photo exhibitions all abound, and its easy to get to without the trials of having to find transport. Ukrainians enjoy enjoying themselves and that feeling permeates the city. Its fun. There are parks, botanical gardens high on the hills surrounding the city, even a fascinating and historical cemetery if you enjoy that sort of thing, and up on the hill above the city stands the Mother Motherland statue or Brezhnev’s daughter depending on your point of view of history. Made of more than 3000 tons of metal it’s an amazing sight looking down on the city.

IMG_3119

 

IMG_3116

 

IMG_3117

A really good way to spend some time is to visit the Pirogovo museum not far outside Kiev where old and ancient buildings have ben preserved as an exhibit that gives you a real insight into how Ukrainians lived through earlier generations. The buildings are set in a park so in summer filled with wild flowers and streams and grasses so it’s a fascinating place to meditate too.

IMG_3102

Ukrainians are really hospitable friendly people, so don’t be put off by the troubles of the world it’s a great city to visit.

IMG_3095