August 8th, 2016
When it was time to leave Kyiv we really didn’t know why we were leaving. I mean this was a city that was so European yet so rock-bottom priced.
The church, for example, was grand.
One of the biggest churches, Kyiv Pechersk Lavra was built on a hill beside the river. We took subway and then had to walk about 2 kilometers beside the river on the hill to reach it.
By the way Kyiv has the world’s deepest subway. The undertaking of the escalators alone required cautious maneuver with kids, for if they fall it would take quite a while to reach the bottom and we didn’t see any emergency stop buttons.
Along the way, we discovered a park that honors the soldiers and a museum dedicated to Holodomor –Famine-Genocide in Ukraine carried out by the Soviet Union. About 4 to 5 million people died of starvation. Needless to say this is a country with lots of wars, division, taken-over, famine, corruption and all sorts of sad histories.
It seemed to me that any country or people with a long history deemed to have some sad history. If you are small and right beside big, powerful empires just to survive till this day with your own language, culture and possibly land is an amazing achievement. Ukraine was ruled by Mongols, Polish, Lithuanian, Russian, Habsburg Austrian empires in different times, and up till now she was still struggling. Case in point Russian had taken over Crimea two years ago and while we were in Ukraine, they were setting up more missiles in their eastern provinces.
The cave (lavra) built by the Orthodox monks for meditations and also as their after-life permanent home housed mummies going all the way back centuries. Following Ukrainians we took a candle to get a flash of light inside the dark cave and saw them kissing the coffins and the painting of Saints on the wall. This was certainly one of the most creepiest experiences Anita and Julia had. (unfortunately no photos inside the lavra)