I had the pleasure to find out Ukraine has a rich history influenced by a multitude of cultures and every photograph I’ve seen shows a timeless beauty that just takes my breath away. And besides that, there are also a couple of special attractions that you won’t be able to find anywhere else! So, here are a few of the more unusual Ukraine destinations that have made it on to my virtual vacation itinerary. The last time I went shopping I found myself a beautiful embroidered blouse inspired by the traditional Ukrainian Vyshyvanka which I first heard about in an article on Vogue. I was so intrigued by the article that I set out to find out what (besides beautiful clothing and sleepwear) the country has to offer.
Lucky for you there are cool discount sites like Discountrue.com, where you can find a wide choice of stores including Amazon, where you could find such Ukrainian traditional clothing as mentioned above. But let us return to the unusual attractions in Ukraine:
Giant Crossword Puzzle
I love crossword puzzles and have lost many an afternoon to one of those bumper crossword puzzle books as well as the MANY crossword puzzle apps available today. So the idea of spending the day completing a 100 foot tall crossword puzzle is something that I can easily see myself enjoying! Finding the clues involves a scavenger hunt of monuments, theaters, parks and fountains so you get to exercise your brain and your legs, while discovering the best this beautiful city has to offer. Once the sun sets, you can return to the apartment building you started at to check your answers. The ONLY problem with the massive crossword puzzle is that it is all in Cyrillic so you’ll need a translator to help you!
Everybody loves Easter eggs, but what you might not have known is that the delicious chocolate variety only arrived in 1873 (thank you J.S. Fry & Sons!)! However patterned or dyed eggs have been a part of Easter traditions for centuries. In fact, there are a number of cultures that decorate eggs for a variety of reasons. Ukrainian Easter eggs are known as ‘pysanka’ and are always intricately decorated using a combination of wax and colored dyes. Some of the pysanka in this museum are over a hundred years old and you could almost think of them as the working man’s Faberge egg!
Pripyat Amusement Park
Some people might be under the impression that Chernobyl is in Russia, but it is actually located only 130km from Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, and you can actually visit it if you like. Now I am not usually attracted to the dark or gory kind of thing, but when I discovered that Chernobyl housed an amusement park whose grand opening was scheduled for 5 days AFTER the nuclear disaster I had to add it to the list. Although it never OFFICIALLY opened, it was open for one day in order to entertain people waiting to be evacuated from the city. Although I don’t think anyone could have been happy on that day, I like to believe there were a few smiles at least.
Death Mask Collection
Like I said, I’m not attracted to the dark and morbid so having a death mask collection on my list seems to counteract that. But Ukraine has seen and been the site of some of the most terrible parts of history (plus they’re next door to Russia which is pretty difficult sometimes) so it makes sense that they have quite a few slightly darker tourist attractions. Call it ironic, but the most famous death mask of all time has probably saved millions of lives. Why? Because the death mask of ‘The Unknown Woman of the Seine’ was used as the model for the first CPR dummies! And it is because of that death mask that the One Street Museum collection made it onto my list – that and the fact that one of the death masks in this collection is that of Evita Peron (if you don’t know who that is think Madonna singing ‘Don’t cry for me Argentina’)!
The Tunnel of Love
Located near the city of Klevan, there is a good chance that you’ve seen a photo of the Tunnel of Love somewhere on the internet, although you might not have realized that it is in Ukraine. This natural tunnel is three kilometers of private railway, and according to local legend couples who visit the tunnel will be granted one wish as long as their intentions are sincere. Whether or not the wish granting is true, this tree covered tunnel is most beautiful in spring and summer, although I’d imagined that fall foliage and winter snow must be quite stunning as well! Either way, it is a perfect destination for a sappy romantic like me and definitely on my list!
Yet another slightly morbid attraction but because I believe that the best way to experience a country and its culture is through its food I figured this one had to make it onto the list! Introducing the Eternity Restaurant, housed in the largest, according to Guinness World Records, coffin in the world. Yes – I said COFFIN! It is made of pine of course, and apparently furnished with the finest in funeral décor – whatever THAT means! The menu has a variety of extremely vague death and dying themed selections and the even more creepy part? The restaurant is run by the local undertakers – now that’s what I call being passionate about what you do! In any case, I have no idea if the food is any good but I think I’ll check it out if I’m ever in Truskavets!
So there you have it – a list of Ukrainian attractions and destinations that I think are definitely worth a visit. Just one tip from someone in the know – do not call it THE Ukraine, no matter how much you want to or how much more correct it sounds to you. Ukraine was called THE Ukraine when it was part of the USSR, now that they have finally achieved a somewhat shaky independence they are insistent on the fact that they are just plain old Ukraine! Every blog and site I visited mentioned this so I would suggest you DON’T forget!!