Kharkov has a Russian old world feeling about it, and nothing shows that better than the Blagovishensky Cathedral in the central part of the city. It’s huge – enormously huge in an imposing Soviet state sanctioned religion kinda way. I did not get a chance to go inside of it, but next trip I will.
Cinderella, Saint Andrews cathedral on a cold day, which does not differentiate this day from any other in the Kiev
Cinderella is not Russian is she? I know she really likes shoes, and so do Russian women, but she is more into glass than fur.
Speaking of which, Ukrainian women have some of the most outrageous boots you have ever seen. I really need to grab some shots of these things. They are more crazy than anything Chevy and Dan would wear in Spies Like Us, and twice as wild as anything Harry and Lloyd would wear as part of their apres-ski ensemble.
This is the Ministry of Ministries where bureaucrats formed a bureaucracy from where they could administer to other administrations on how to organize organizations, since those were the sort of things that were done in the former Soviet Union.
The Ukraine was certainly an interesting place. Here is a link another set of pictures that I have uploaded so far from there.
I walked around the city on a bitter-cold morning after a long night of deep snow and found this gold-and-green domed orthodox church sitting silent in these woods. I did not see anyone else around, so I snapped a few pictures through the woods from across the way.
This is the same church that was almost destroyed by the Germans in The Great Patriotic War, which we call sweet sweet WW2. I told my Ukrainian/Russian friends that those Germans weren’t so tough after all, and they did not find any Great Patriotic War humor funny at all.
They found it even less funny when I did my John Cleese Hitler-walk around the forest claiming the land as my own.
I cannot understate how cold it was in Kiev when I took this picture or how much it hurt to swing my icepick through my exhale to make forward progress.
Below the picture of the exterior is a picture of the inside, where I captured a ghostly heiromonk in his daily devotions.
Kiev is a cold place in the winter. I can’t for the life of me figure out why the Germans chose to invade these old Russian cities in the winter months. They say the Russians had some significant success because they initially did not depend on tanks, which are not great in the snow, but instead relied on horse-cavalry.
All of this ultimately made me think that the only thing worse than being a German soldier during a Kiev winter would be being a Russian horse.
Over on the right there, you can see the huge statue celebrating the Great Patriotic War, which we know as WWII.
This Large version looks nice.
This is the front door of the place I stayed in Kharkov. The apartment, up on the fourth floor, was quite nice, but the stairs were in *somewhat* of a state of disrepair. This was located in an older building just a few steps from the old KGB headquarters.
This is the Kievo-Pecherskaya Larva in Kiev, Ukraine. It started out as a series of caves and now has grown to a massive complex of monasteries. Unfortunately, it was so cold and windy outside, that I didn’t really have the ability to get a lot of shots all around this cave area. Actually, I did have the patience…. but Will was standing around looking quite bitter and cold, so we just moved on to the military war museum from WWII. I’ll have pictures from that in coming days/weeks.
The Ukraine has some unique architecture. Below is a section of some interesting homes that I think look like they came right out of Smurfville or Disneyworld. In other parts of Ukraine, the buildings are all concrete, blocky, and throwbacks to Soviet government-mandated design, so it is nice to see a reminiscent style of architecture that seems to blend the olde world and the modern.
I’m leaving the Ukraine today to head to Amsterdam, where we have the Casual Games convention lined up. I’ll be pretty busy there, but I’ve always got the camera in the bag if an opportunity arises.
We worked late the other night then walked home from the city square back to our apartment. Along the way, we pass through this heavily forested area that looks quite skeletal and cool in the snowy midnight light.
I still have yet to get appropriate shoes and headwear for this part of the world. It is clear to everyone around me that I am not from this land.
Back in 1051, the Venerable Anthony, with a name that is quite venerable, settled in a cave on the Dneiper River. Other followers joined and eventually they built this entire Orthodox Christianity complex. The Monastery was built over the centuries thanks to donations from Prince Izyaslev and other Kievan aristocracy.
Kharkov is on the Russian border of the Ukraine. If you take the amount of cold and snow in Kiev and multiply it by four, you get a pretty good idea of the Kharkov is like.
This is the central town square of Kharkov, which is decorated with bright blue lights on every tree up and down the street. There is an ice skating rink in the middle, complete with hulking Soviet-throwback KGBesque security guard that came up to me and asked why I had such a large camera. I told him it was because I was an American capitalist and that’s the way the cookie crumbled. He didn’t know what I meant, and he simply pointed in the direction, indicating a hasty egress was my best course of action.