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Ukraine, June 2014

Chernivtsi (Czernowitz)

A city located in western Ukraine, situated on the upper course of the River Trut in the northern part of the historical Moldavian region of Bukovina. First mentioned in 1408, the city was once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and this is reflected in its architecture. Nicknamed “Little Vienna”.

Sunday, 1st June 2014 (afternoon)

The Taras Shevchenko monument in Central Square (Main Square).The Taras Shevchenko monument in Central Square (Main Square). Taras Hryhorovich Shevchenko (1814-1861) was a poet, writer and artist. He is regarded as Ukraine’s cultural godfather with his work forming the foundation of modern Ukrainian literature and, to a large extent, the modern Ukrainian language. This monument was unveiled in May 1999. The large poster in the background – displaying the dates 1408-2013 – commemorates the 605th anniversary of the first written mention of the city as Chernivtsi.

Looking across Theatre Square (Teatralna Square). Flower beds planted with roses in the centre. The Olga Kobylianska Theatre of Music and Drama stands grandly at the far end. The theatre was built in 1904-5 by the famous Vienna architectural workshop of Fellner and Helmer. It was officially opened on 3rd October 1905 replacing a earlier wooden structure.Looking across Theatre Square (Teatralna Square). Flower beds planted with roses in the centre. The Olga Kobylianska Theatre of Music and Drama stands grandly at the far end. The theatre was built in 1904-5 by the famous Vienna architectural workshop of Fellner and Helmer. It was officially opened on 3rd October 1905 replacing a earlier wooden structure.

Tony in Theatre Square. On the right side - and almost entirely obscured by trees - stands the magnificent four-storey building of the former Trade and Crafts Chamber. Constructed in 1912 and now used by the Medical University.Tony in Theatre Square. On the right side – and almost entirely obscured by trees – stands the magnificent four-storey building of the former Trade and Crafts Chamber. Constructed in 1912 and now used by the Medical University.

Tony in front of a bronze statue of Olha Kobylianska in Theatre Square with the theatre immediately behind. Olha Kobylianska (1863-1942) was a modernist writer and feminist. The theatre was named after her in 1954, while the statue was placed in front in 1980.Tony in front of a bronze statue of Olha Kobylianska in Theatre Square with the theatre immediately behind. Olha Kobylianska (1863-1942) was a modernist writer and feminist. The theatre was named after her in 1954, while the statue was placed in front in 1980.

Tony next to an historic carriage on Olha Kobylianska Street. The horse-drawn carriage is made mostly of iron. Olha Kobylianska Street is a wide pedestrian street paved with cobblestones, which runs south from Central Square. It contains many historic buildings.Tony next to an historic carriage on Olha Kobylianska Street. The horse-drawn carriage is made mostly of iron. Olha Kobylianska Street is a wide pedestrian street paved with cobblestones, which runs south from Central Square. It contains many historic buildings.

The side of the Holy Spirit Orthodox Cathedral. This is the main orthodox church of Bukovina region. Construction began in 1844 and it was consecrated in 1864. There are three domes on the roof, plus two smaller cupolas on towers at the front. The walls are painted bright pink.The side of the Holy Spirit Orthodox Cathedral. This is the main orthodox church of Bukovina region. Construction began in 1844 and it was consecrated in 1864. There are three domes on the roof, plus two smaller cupolas on towers at the front. The walls are painted bright pink.

Inside the Holy Spirit Orthodox Cathedral looking towards the golden main altar. Candles on a stand immediately in front.Inside the Holy Spirit Orthodox Cathedral looking towards the golden main altar. Candles on a stand immediately in front.

Tony outside the main doorway into the Holy Spirit Orthodox Cathedral.Tony outside the main doorway into the Holy Spirit Orthodox Cathedral.

Tony in front of a World War II memorial. It includes a stone column at the base of which is a sculpture of a soldier next to a flag.Tony in front of a World War II memorial. It includes a stone column at the base of which is a sculpture of a soldier next to a flag.

Soborna Square opposite the World War II memorial. A large flower bed in the centre.Soborna Square opposite the World War II memorial. A large flower bed in the centre.

Inside a restaurant. Tony eating local soup from a bowl made of bread!Inside a restaurant. Tony eating local soup from a bowl made of bread!

The front façade of the Roman Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Completed in 1894. Neo-gothic in style with a single central spire.The front façade of the Roman Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Completed in 1894. Neo-gothic in style with a single central spire.

Tony outside the entrance to the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Rusted iron gates with the main doorway beyond.Tony outside the entrance to the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Rusted iron gates with the main doorway beyond.

Looking from cobbled Ivan Franko Street into Tsentralna Square. The building in front is Chernivtsi Art Museum, which was established in 1988. The building dates from 1901 and was designed by Hubert Gessner as the head office of Bukowiner Sparkasse bank. It is regarded as an outstanding example of Vienna Secession architecture. The front façade features a large mosaic depicting twelve ancient gods symbolising the twelve crowned provinces of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A pair of stone statues stand on the roof.Looking from cobbled Ivan Franko Street into Tsentralna Square. The building in front is Chernivtsi Art Museum, which was established in 1988. The building dates from 1901 and was designed by Hubert Gessner as the head office of Bukowiner Sparkasse bank. It is regarded as an outstanding example of Vienna Secession architecture. The front façade features a large mosaic depicting twelve ancient gods symbolising the twelve crowned provinces of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A pair of stone statues stand on the roof.

A closer view of the statues on the roof of the Chernivtsi Art Museum building.A closer view of the statues on the roof of the Chernivtsi Art Museum building.

Tony standing on the front of the Monument of the Red Army in World War II. A Red Army tank raised on a stone base.Tony standing on the front of the Monument of the Red Army in World War II. A Red Army tank raised on a stone base.

Side view of the Red Army tank monument.Side view of the Red Army tank monument.

Khotyn

A historical city in Chernivtsi Oblast, western Ukraine. It is located south-west of Kamianets-Podilsky on the west bank of the Dniester River. First chronicled on 22nd September 1002 and gained city rights in the 14th century.

Monday, 2nd June 2014

Tony on a stone paved road leading to Khotyn fortress.Tony on a stone paved road leading to Khotyn fortress.

Khotyn Fortress is located on the west bank of the Dniester River on the north-east side of Khotyn city. Its history goes back to the 10th century. A stone fortress was constructed in 1325 and reinforced during the 1380s and 1460s. Two further structures were built in the 15th century by Moldova’s ruler, Stephen the Great. The inner courtyard seen today with its three defensive towers is from Stephen’s design. The fortress has changed hands many times throughout the centuries, including Poles, Ottoman Turks and Romanians before finally falling into the hands of the Russian empire in the 19th century. In 1856 the government ended the use of Khotyn fortress as a military installation. Today it is a tourist attraction.

Tony standing in a field with the towers and walls of Khotyn Fortress rising up behind. The Dniester River can be seen below.Tony standing in a field with the towers and walls of Khotyn Fortress rising up behind. The Dniester River can be seen below.

View across and along the wide Dniester River. Countryside on the far side.View across and along the wide Dniester River. Countryside on the far side.

Tony on a wooden bridge crossing over a moat to the fort's stone entrance tower and gate.Tony on a wooden bridge crossing over a moat to the fort’s stone entrance tower and gate.

Inside the fortress in a room displaying torture equipment. In front a large wooden chair covered with vicious metal spikes.Inside the fortress in a room displaying torture equipment. In front a large wooden chair covered with vicious metal spikes.

Tony holding an executioner's axe. This one was apparently actually used to behead prisoners!Tony holding an executioner’s axe. This one was apparently actually used to behead prisoners!

In the fortress's inner courtyard. Tony in front of a hole in the ground, probably a well.In the fortress’s inner courtyard. Tony in front of a hole in the ground, probably a well.

Tony touching a large wooden battering ram.Tony touching a large wooden battering ram.

On a wooden balcony looking into the inner courtyard. Behind Tony is the rectangular entrance tower with the tall crenellated outer wall running on either side. A large round tower stands in one corner.On a wooden balcony looking into the inner courtyard. Behind Tony is the rectangular entrance tower with the tall crenellated outer wall running on either side. A large round tower stands in one corner.

A painting of an elephant in armour with two soldiers also in armour on top. Elephants were used by the Ottoman army to attack the fortress in the Middle Ages.A painting of an elephant in armour with two soldiers also in armour on top. Elephants were used by the Ottoman army to attack the fortress in the Middle Ages.

An old Soviet-era bus shelter decorated with a mosaic pattern depicting plants and flowers.An old Soviet-era bus shelter decorated with a mosaic pattern depicting plants and flowers.

Back in Chernivtsi

Outside Saint Nikolay Orthodox Church, sometimes known as the 'Drunken Church' due to its four unusual twisted turrets. The front two twisted turrets and the larger central dome can be seen in the photo. Constructed between 1927 and 1939, based on a medieval church in the Romanian city of Curtea de Arges.Outside Saint Nikolay Orthodox Church, sometimes known as the “Drunken Church” due to its four unusual twisted turrets. The front two twisted turrets and the larger central dome can be seen in the photo. Constructed between 1927 and 1939, based on a medieval church in the Romanian city of Curtea de Arges.

Looking towards the Turkish Well in Turkish Well Square. The recently renovated well is housed in a small circular structure with a domed roof.Looking towards the Turkish Well in Turkish Well Square. The recently renovated well is housed in a small circular structure with a domed roof.

Large circular fountain in Turkish Well Square.Large circular fountain in Turkish Well Square.

Tony sitting on a wall in Turkish Well Square. The wall is part of a sunken room with a glass roof, which contains Ottoman-era water tanks.Tony sitting on a wall in Turkish Well Square. The wall is part of a sunken room with a glass roof, which contains Ottoman-era water tanks.

Tony in front of a memorial stone on the site of the World War Two ghetto where about 50,000 Jews were assembled before being deported to concentration camps.Tony in front of a memorial stone on the site of the World War Two ghetto where about 50,000 Jews were assembled before being deported to concentration camps.

Closer view of the memorial inscribed with 'In memory of Jews, prisoners of Chernivtsi Ghetto of 1941'.Closer view of the memorial inscribed with “In memory of Jews, prisoners of Chernivtsi Ghetto of 1941”.

Wall and railings outside Chernivtsi National University (Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University). The dome of the Church of Three Saints, part of the Seminary Building, can be seen behind.Wall and railings outside Chernivtsi National University (Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University). The dome of the Church of Three Saints, part of the Seminary Building, can be seen behind. Established on 4th October 1875, the university is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its outstanding architecture. Many of the buildings were designed by the Czech architect Josef Hlávka. Guided tours of the university are available in the afternoon.

Tony walking outside the university's perimeter wall. The prominent red-brick clock tower of the former Monastery building can be seen opposite.Tony walking outside the university’s perimeter wall. The prominent red-brick clock tower of the former Monastery building can be seen opposite.

Tony outside the university's main gates.Tony outside the university’s main gates.

Tuesday, 3rd June 2014

Inside the Chernivtsi National University grounds. An impressive red-brick building in front.Inside the Chernivtsi National University grounds. An impressive red-brick building in front.

The same building showing the attractive mosaic tiled roof.The same building showing the attractive mosaic tiled roof.

Another view of the former Monastery building and clock tower with pleasant gardens in front.Another view of the former Monastery building and clock tower with pleasant gardens in front.

The Church of Three Saints with a tall central dome surrounded by four smaller turrets.The Church of Three Saints with a tall central dome surrounded by four smaller turrets.

Tony sitting on a bench in Theatre Square. A flower bed full of roses behind.Tony sitting on a bench in Theatre Square. A flower bed full of roses behind.

Shevchenko Central Park of Culture and Leisure. In front a heart-shaped sculpture with a seat suspended in the middle.Shevchenko Central Park of Culture and Leisure. In front a heart-shaped sculpture with a seat suspended in the middle.

A fountain with a sculpture in the middle. The sculpture includes a human figure surrounded by frogs with water spraying from their mouths.A fountain with a sculpture in the middle. The sculpture includes a human figure surrounded by frogs with water spraying from their mouths.

A memorial monument in Shevchenko Central Park. Wreaths placed at the base.A memorial monument in Shevchenko Central Park. Wreaths placed at the base.

Tony in a wooded area of Shevchenko Central Park.Tony in a wooded area of Shevchenko Central Park.

Tony in front of ornamental concrete pillars in Shevchenko Central Park.Tony in front of ornamental concrete pillars in Shevchenko Central Park.

Kamianets-Podilskyi

Overnight trip to Kamianets-Podilskyi (Kamyanets-Podilsky) located in Khmelnytskyi Oblast (Khmelnytski Province). Founded circa 1062 and gained city rights in 1795. Located on the Smotrich River in western Ukraine to the north-east of Chernivtsi. The winding Smotrich River sits in a canyon that almost surrounds the old town providing a natural defence that is almost impregnable to attack.

Tony by another Soviet-era bus shelter. It's decorated with a mosaic depicting a historic scene featuring a line of soldiers.Tony by another Soviet-era bus shelter. It’s decorated with a mosaic depicting a historic scene featuring a line of soldiers.

In a cobbled street outside the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. Unusually there is a minaret attached to the front. This dates from the 17th century when the Ottomans controlled the city and turned the church into a mosque.In a cobbled street outside the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. Unusually there is a minaret attached to the front. This dates from the 17th century when the Ottomans controlled the city and turned the church into a mosque.

Tony touching a statue of Pope John Paul II in the garden of the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. The statue was unveiled in June 2007.Tony touching a statue of Pope John Paul II in the garden of the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. The statue was unveiled in June 2007.

Old graves near the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. Includes two headless statues on pedestals.Old graves near the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. Includes two headless statues on pedestals.

Outside the Town Hall: a two storey building painted pink with a tall clock tower at one end.Outside the Town Hall: a two storey building painted pink with a tall clock tower at one end.

Square in front of the Town Hall. The building to the right is the Armenian Well. Also just visible is a bronze statue of a tourist carrying a large camera.Square in front of the Town Hall. The building to the right is the Armenian Well. Also just visible is a bronze statue of a tourist carrying a large camera.

Tony outside the main doorway into the Dominican Church of St Nicholas Church (also known as Monastery Church). Originally built of wood in 1381 as part of a Dominican Monastery. It burned down in 1420 and was reconstructed in stone.Tony outside the main doorway into the Dominican Church of St Nicholas Church (also known as Monastery Church). Originally built of wood in 1381 as part of a Dominican Monastery. It burned down in 1420 and was reconstructed in stone.

The bell tower of St Stefan Orthodox Church. This is the oldest Armenian Orthodox church in Ukraine. Most of the church is in ruins. Some columns and parts of the five-feet-wide outer walls survive in addition to the bell tower.The bell tower of St Stefan Orthodox Church. This is the oldest Armenian Orthodox church in Ukraine. Most of the church is in ruins. Some columns and parts of the five-feet-wide outer walls survive in addition to the bell tower.

Outside the entrance to the Ukrainian Orthodox St Nicholas church. In front a doorway leading through the base of a bell tower and into a courtyard. This church was built of wood in 1398 and reconstructed of stone in 1495. Following the 1672 Turkish invasion it was destroyed and subsequently rebuilt again around 1767.Outside the entrance to the Ukrainian Orthodox St Nicholas church. In front a doorway leading through the base of a bell tower and into a courtyard. This church was built of wood in 1398 and reconstructed of stone in 1495. Following the 1672 Turkish invasion it was destroyed and subsequently rebuilt again around 1767.

Tony in front of a Soviet mine sweeper tank raised up on a platform.Tony in front of a Soviet mine sweeper tank raised up on a platform.

Evening. Tony with a Ukrainian lady who worked at the hostel in Kamianets-Podilskyi.Evening. Tony with a Ukrainian lady who worked at the hostel in Kamianets-Podilskyi.

Tony at the hostel having a drink. On the table is a 'fish bowl' with straws for drinking the vodka inside!Tony at the hostel having a drink. On the table is a ‘fish bowl’ with straws for drinking the vodka inside!

Wednesday, 4th June 2014

View along a road leading to Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle. In front are the castle's substantial stone outer walls with several round towers with pointed roofs.View along a road leading to Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle. In front are the castle’s substantial stone outer walls with several round towers with pointed roofs. Archaeological evidence suggests the castle dates back to the late 12th or 13th century. It was rebuilt and expanded by Polish kings in the 14th century to defend Poland from the south-west against Ottoman and Tatar invasions. The castle guarded the entrance to the old town, which is protected on all other sides by the winding Smotrych River. Some of the walls still have iron cannon balls embedded in them from various attacks.

Tony with Barbara who was visiting from Hong Kong. Behind a bridge over the Smotrich River gorge and the castle beyond.Tony with Barbara who was visiting from Hong Kong. Behind a bridge over the Smotrich River gorge and the castle beyond.

Same location. Tony with a lady who was visiting from Japan.Same location. Tony with a lady who was visiting from Japan.

Tony on the road near the castle with a view of the green river gorge below and the old town up above.Tony on the road near the castle with a view of the green river gorge below and the old town up above.

Another view along the Smotrich River gorge. Steep rocky cliffs in the distance. Another view along the Smotrich River gorge. Steep rocky cliffs in the distance.

Now inside the inner courtyard of Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle. Looking back towards the large wooden gate through the walls.Now inside the inner courtyard of Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle. Looking back towards the large wooden gate through the walls.

View of Pope's Tower, which was built sometime in the 15th or 16th centuries. An artillery arsenal, powder warehouse, treasury and mill were housed here. Ustym Karmeliuk, a prominent peasant rebel leader of the early 19th century, was imprisoned here. He apparently managed to escape from the tower three times!View of Pope’s Tower, which was built sometime in the 15th or 16th centuries. An artillery arsenal, powder warehouse, treasury and mill were housed here. Ustym Karmeliuk, a prominent peasant rebel leader of the early 19th century, was imprisoned here. He apparently managed to escape from the tower three times!

Looking towards a stone perimeter wall with the river gorge below just beyond. A cross standing on top of a cliff at the far side.Looking towards a stone perimeter wall with the river gorge below just beyond. A cross standing on top of a cliff at the far side.

A bird of prey sitting on a wooden block for passing tourists to photograph. Supervised by two boys.A bird of prey sitting on a wooden block for passing tourists to photograph. Supervised by two boys.

View from a rectangular opening through the castle's stone walls towards the river gorge.View from a rectangular opening through the castle’s stone walls towards the river gorge.

Tony by a window inside the castle.Tony by a window inside the castle.

The inner courtyard with another of the castle's twelve towers in view.The inner courtyard with another of the castle’s twelve towers in view.

Tony up on the walls near the same tower as in the previous photo.Tony up on the walls near the same tower as in the previous photo.

Still up on the walls with two more towers in view. The one on the left is Tenchynska Tower, which dates from the 14th to 16th centuries. Covered wooden walkways run along the walls in both directions from the tower. On the right is the White Tower (also known as Laska Tower) constructed in the 15th century. This large white-painted tower housed an artillery arsenal.Still up on the walls with two more towers in view. The one on the left is Tenchynska Tower, which dates from the 14th to 16th centuries. Covered wooden walkways run along the walls in both directions from the tower. On the right is the White Tower (also known as Laska Tower) constructed in the 15th century. This large white-painted tower housed an artillery arsenal.

Tony touching an old canon in the castle's inner courtyard.Tony touching an old canon in the castle’s inner courtyard.

Heading back along the road just outside the castle towards the old town. Stone walls at either side.Heading back along the road just outside the castle towards the old town. Stone walls at either side.