Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A Little literary Ukraine

I'm back in Canada and finally back at a computer, so time for a quick share of some of the things I've seen lately! Can't take pictures inside churches of course, so a lot of my days were viewless. There are many, many churches to visit in Kyiv! However, I found lots of literary/educational interest. I'll share a few examples.

The Literature Museum at the Archives -- I couldn't go in, however, and as there was only a guard speaking Russian I couldn't quite catch why. I think it was because at most of the museums in Kyiv you must go only on a tour, and there were no English tours...I think. In any case I peeked down a hall and then left. :)

Kyiv is really a city of monuments and parks! There are monuments everywhere, often of political or artistic characters. I found Bulgakov's house and statue:

My visit to the Bulgakov house was fascinating. I showed up at 10:15 one morning, the guide book having said they opened at 10. I forgot about Ukrainian time. The door guard wasn't even there yet, but the door was at least unlocked. I went inside and found a lady who I then asked about English tours (which the guide book also assured me were possible). She knew what I wanted but did not speak English, and my Russian of "Please", "Thank you", and "Excuse me" did not assist. But she did call someone. After a few minutes a tall, calm woman appeared. I greeted her happily -- "Hello! You speak English?" She paused, and then said, "No. Mais je parle français." At that, I considered my French, and weighed it against my desire to see inside this museum. Remember, at most museums you can not go in without a tour guide. So, that is how I ended up having a personal tour of Bulgakov's house, in Kyiv, in French. It was great!

Those of you who've read The Master and Margarita can imagine my feelings when I stepped out of the museum and was greeted by this green-eyed black cat, who then scooted under a fence:

Here are a couple more statues I found, these ones of FICTIONAL characters whom everyone recognizes, apparently! Fun stuff.
First, on the left:

Panikovsky is a comic character created by Russian writers Ilf and Petrov and was known in the book as a blind beggar, famous before the October Revolution, who worked at just this place, asking people to take him across the street and picking their pockets in the process.
On the right:
Characters from Mykhailo Staryts'kyi's comedy Chasing Two Hares -- Golohvastov is courting two women, one of the same social standing as himself and another, richer, girl. This statue commemorates the spot in which the two women found out about one another. Both statues were commissoned privately in 1998 and 1999.
There was so much to see I found the two weeks flew by. I'll have a little more to share before I get back to my regular routine...


  1. Looks like you had fun on your trip! Those are some neat pictures. :)

    And I had to laugh at your museum/tour guide issues. Oh Eastern Europe...fortunately, most of my museum visiting in Russia was done in groups. But when I tried to visit places on my own, there was always some kind of ridiculous story to tell later!

  2. I am glad you had such a good time in Kiyv! Did you get to go out of the city as well? One of my friends visited Kyiv as well recently and she also mentioned how green the city is with all the parks.

  3. Eva - it was a fun trip, and thankfully my sister's Ukrainian friends took us around one day and we were able to go to a museum where they translated the tour guide for us. The only place I was able to wander at will was the extraordinary Museum of Ukrainian History.

    Myrthe - I didn't get out of the city, despite our intentions. Two weeks is not long enough in Kyiv! Now I really want to go back, after brushing up on a little more Russian & Ukrainian.

  4. What fun! I love that you got the personal french tour of Bulgakov's, and that cat gave me chills! That's the icing on the cake.

  5. I've been eagerly waiting for this post! Sounds like a wonderful trip, and the coincidence of the cat made me laugh. More, please, whenever you have time!

  6. Great photos! I'm glad you had a good time.


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