January 6th, 2009 â€“ Day 9
What an incredible day of sightseeing. At about 9am, Jess, Inna, and I left for Kiev. I wasn’t sure what we were going to see first, but I was pleasantly surprised when we showed up at a totally intense monument.
During WWII Ukraine was a common location for intense battles because Poland borders Ukraine to the west. At this point, Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union. After the war a huge monument was erected in honor of the soldiers.
We approached the monument via a long path. Snow bordered the wide stairs. It was extremely cold outside and the wind was relentless. On one side of the path were speakers that played patriot Ukrainian hymns. It was awesome. To get to Rodina Mat (“Mother Motherland” or… “Mother Russia”) we traveled through an open concrete structure. On either side of the path were huge statues depicting strong stoic men and women preparing for and engaging in acts of war. Snow had nestled in between the folds of their clothes. Tragically, my camera broke just as we reached the monument. Thankfully Jess agreed to let me use her photos. All the following photos were taken by Jess on a previous trip (hence the lack of snow).
Once through the hall of statues, we reached the main event. There stood the 200ft tall Rodina Mat in all her glory. In her left hand she held a shield and in her right hand she held a sword. She’s made out of metal and was total righteous.
After seeing some tanks and helicopters we continued onward. Next up was a memorial for the Holodomor (the starvation plague, more about this later). This particular monument was very beautifully symbolic. A tall white rectangular pillar reached upwards. Around it were four large crosses made from hundred of vertical and horizontal stakes. The stakes pierced through birds that were at different stages of flight.
The next monument in the row was an obelisk in honor of the Unknown Soldier. At the bottom was a metal wreath with a flame burning in its center. After the monuments we went to the historic street in Kiev. The street was a steep cobble stone street that wound up to a church. Along each side of the road were small vendors selling their goods. I bought a few gifts and we worked our way onward.
The final stop on our day tour were two epic churches. St. Sophia and St…. Peters I think?.
Overall, an amazing day in Ukraine.