Author: W2U

Kyiv Is Among the Greenest European Cities

Kyiv Is Among the Greenest European Cities

Living in a capital or a big city is cool in many aspects: you get access to employment, better schooling, healthcare and cultural events. But there are many disadvantages, too — such as increased stress and noise, and lesser access to fresh air and nature. That is why urban centers with enough green spaces are so appreciated. And that is why it’s so good to know that the capital of Ukraine is among the greenest cities of Europe.

This was identified by Phillipp Gärtner, the urban and forestry researcher who used a method of processing satellite images and measuring their pixels to detect which cities are better for living from the ecological point of view. Gärtner has generated the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for 43 of Europe’s capitals. The NDVI analyses remote sensing measurements to determine whether a target area contains live vegetation or not. For consistency, the area analyzed is a 5-mile radius circle around each city’s official city center.

The results tend to be weighted towards the smaller capitals as they generally have less metropolitan area. Coastal cities feature on the low end of the scale due to the non-plantable area so Gärtner has compiled a list of both cities with a population of above two million and the greenest seaside capital.

Here are the rankings from most green to least green:

Sarajevo – 0.6778
Vaduz – 0.6738
Ljubljana – 0.6114
Andorra La Vella – 0.6074
Bern – 0.5996
Luxembourg – 0.5801
Vilnius – 0.5137
Tallin – 0.459
Monaco – 0.4395
Oslo – 0.4356
Riga – 0.4238
Zagreb – 0.4121
Bratislava – 0.4043
Chisinau – 0.3926
Kyiv – 0.3887
Stockholm – 0.3777
Helsinki – 0.3769
Prague – 0.3692
Warsaw – 0.3653
Pristina – 0.3535
Sofia – 0.3379
Skopje – 0.3105
Belgrade – 0.295
Dublin – 0.291
Tirana – 0.2793
Minsk – 0.2718
Copenhagen – 0.2637
Reykjavik – 0.2637
Berlin – 0.2519
Bucharest – 0.2519
Podgorica – 0.2363
Amsterdam – 0.2285
Brussels – 0.1973
Vienna – 0.1738
Rome – 0.1699
Madrid – 0.1543
Moscow – 0.1426
London – 0.1348
Lisbon – 0.127
Paris – 0.1191
Valetta – 0.0957
Athens – 0.0879

The full analysis can be found here.

Kyiv boasts a number of parks and gardens that are perfect for rest with friends, family, or just alone. Those who like exotic plants are welcome to visit the Central Botanical Garden. Children as well as adults get positive emotions visiting Kyiv Zoo and getting acquainted with funny and cute animals. And if one wants just to have fun, he will, probably, never find a better place than the Hydropark.

How Ukrainian Flag Got into Space

How Ukrainian Flag Got into Space

The pictures of the Ukrainian flag on the Space Station recently circled the media, while the flag itself circled the Earth literally. Why the US astronaut Randolph Bresnik cared to take the blue-and-yellow canvas to the orbit? The story is quite interesting…

Mr. Bresnik told it during a teleconference with Kyiv, which took place last month. It turns out that he got the flag last year in the city of Dnipro (former Dnipropetrovsk) where he was spending leisure time with his family. The point is that it is the home city of Mr. Bresnik’s adopted son. “And that’s why we went back there with the whole family, spent several days in Novomoskovsk, and then a few days in Kyiv. That’s where I got the flag. And that is why I took it with me,” said the astronaut. He also added that planned to bring the flag of Ukraine back from space to earth.

What is intriguing, this is not the first appearance of Ukrainian flag in the orbit. It’s already been there exactly 20 years ago — brought there by Leonid Kadenyuk. He went through the Soviet program of training cosmonauts, but flew into space as a representative of independent Ukraine, and on the American Shuttle. Back then, in 1997, the appearance of its own astronaut was another confirmation of the high international status of the country.

Hear and see more from the Commander Randy Bresnik of NASA telling about his work aboard of the International Space Station, Expedition 53 as told to Ukrainian students gathered at the America House in Kyiv, Ukraine on October, 25, 2017. The moderator of the meeting was Ambassador of the United States of America to Ukraine Mila Jovanovic.

Read about 15 Ukrainian inventions that changed the world.

Ukrainian Beauties: Dasha Khlystun

Ukrainian Beauties: Dasha Khlystun

Ukraine is famous as a land of the most beautiful women. You can see them everywhere here. But some of them got from the streets right to the highest world fashion podiums. Meet Dasha Khlystun, the new addition to the clock of famous Victoria’s Secret Angels!

This year the 22-year-old will join the 19 permanent ‘angelical’ models invited from around the world. She won’t appear in the nearest tour of the annual grand show in China — because she failed to get the Chinese visa along with a few Russian colleagues. But we’ll hope to see her on stage in other countries.

Dasha comes from a small town in the Dnipro (Dnipropetrovsk) region. She is one of the supermodels who never dreamed about the podium but was accidentally noticed by an agent — this time not on a street but in the social media.

She started relatively late — after school, while most of the models begin much earlier today. For the sake of walking on the catwalk, Dasha dropped out at the Customs Academy. And she’s never regretted the choice. She says that she is in love with modeling, and does not see herself in another role. According to the beauty, if a guy forced her to choose between relationships and work, then her choice would not be in his favor.

Dasha confesses that she is unspeakably happy about her present career. She got her first foreign modeling experience in Japan. At the time she did not even speak English. But thanks to her dedication and hard work, Dasha managed to become one of the most promising Ukrainian models in just two years.

She walked on podiums for such big names as Kenzo, Valentino, Givenchy, Christian Dior, Lanvin, Sonia Rykiel, Giambattista Valli, Nina Ricci, Chloe and others. In an ad campaign for La Perla she posed together with such supermodels as Sasha Pivovarova, Valeriya Kaufman and Naomi Campbell.

According to Dasha, in real life she would never wear clothes that she demonstrates on the podium. She likes more simple and convenient things. And we like her like this, too. But we can’t wait to see the Ukrainian beauty in all the shine of the Victoria’s Secret show!

Ukrainian Records: Trembita

Ukrainian Records: Trembita

Ukraine is a land of many record breaking phenomena. And one of them is trembita – a unique Carpathian wind instrument that is officially the longest in the world.

Don’t be confused when you come to the Carpathians – the name may belong to numerous things and institutions. Like Lviv-based guitar making factory ‘Trembita’. Or a few mountain hotels with the same name. The image of this instrument also decorates posters and logos of Hutsulshchyna, a picturesque region in the west of Ukraine. So, trembita may be everywhere here. But the real one is not that easy to find…

Where To Find It

The only sure chance is visiting a Hutsul or Boyko folk festival where guests are usually welcomed with trembita sounds. But it’s not the kind of a device you can find in more common place. Surely not on restaurant or other premises. Because trembitas are huge. And loud, too. So they are usually played outsides.

What is interesting, in the past this tube made of larch or spruce played a role of today’s telephone. When there was an important and urgent message to spread, trembita players climbed to the top of the nearest mountain, and performed special tunes. It sounds amazing, but trembita sound can reach as far as 10 kilometers. And that’s how messages were conveyed from mountain to mountain across all the region informing the locals about good and bad news, dangers and other events…

Trembita is also used by shepherds to gather sheep and dogs, and it is traditionally played at Christmas time. Another common use of the instrument is at funerals. But it’s never played on occasion of someone’s birth or wedding.

How To Make It

Today there are just a few masters making trembitas left in the Carpathians. And they usually do this not for the local shippers or amateurs, but mostly for professional musicians and concert bands. Creating a trembita is not that easy. It starts with choosing an appropriate wood, usually a tree that was struck by lightning. They say that the more it is damaged, the louder the trembita will be.

The tube that can reach 4 meters is made from a long straight piece of wood which is split in two in order to carve out the core. Trembita sounds louder when its walls are thin. Then the halves are once again joined together and wrapped in birch bark or osier rings. Before playing trembita’s hole must be filled with vodka or hot milk.

The trembita has no lateral openings and therefore gives the pure natural harmonic series of the open pipe. Its sound is unmistakable and unforgettable.

Trembita Today

Trembita is officially enlisted in The Guinness Book of Records as the longest instrument in the world. What is interesting the actual longest trembita (8,35 meters!) was made by a Polish folk musician Józef Chmiel located in Czech Republic.

Today trembita may be considered a symbol of not just the Carpathians but the whole Ukraine. In 200th it was shown on Eurovision Song Contest by the Ukrainian winner Ruslana during her performance of the song “Wild Dances”.

It is also used by recent popular Ukrainian band ONUKA.

Come to Ukraine and enjoy its uniqueness!

Have you ever heard of Petrykivka?

Have you ever heard of Petrykivka?

Petrykivka is a town in the east of Ukraine, and decorative painting art included into the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage. Take a look at it, and you’ll understand why.

The urban-type settlement Petrykivka is situated in Dnipro (Dnipropetrovsk) province in east-central Ukraine. According to a legend, it was founded by the Cossack Petryk, who gathered the serfs from the local villages under his protection. Petrykivka was first mentioned in historical documents in 1772. Today it has about five thousand inhabitants, and is famous as a folk art center and for its unique style of decorative painting.

The people of Petrykivka decorate their living quarters, household belongings and musical instruments with a richly symbolic style of ornamental painting, characterized by fantastic flowers and other natural elements. In folk belief, the paintings protect people from sorrow and evil. Every family has at least one practitioner and the tradition is taught at all levels in the local schools, making Petrykivka painting an integral part of daily existence in the community.

Early decorative paintings in Petrykivka were mostly murals on the walls of the peasants’ houses rather than easel paintings. The folk poetic interpretation of the surrounding world was and is at the basis of the Petrykivka paintings. Stylized flowers and guilder-rose are among the most popular motifs of the murals with even regular thistles and other weeds featuring rather prominently in the paintings. Murals decorated not only the walls of the houses, both inside and outside, but also the walls of barns and sheds, thus creating a decorative ensemble within individual households.

Later on the paintings started to appear on other materials — paper, wood panels or canvas. Mineral pigments were used for making paints, and instead of brushes short lengths of reed stocks, twigs or even fingers were used to apply the paint onto the primed walls, the primer mostly being a thin layer of clay. Egg-based paints were used in later times to do paintings on paper. Three colors were predominant — red, yellow (or yellow-green), and dark blue.

Today’s Petrykivka painting is also a modern art that is in process of developing and reforming. While traditionally it was done on white background, contemporary painters often work on black, green, red or blue ones. Petrykivka has often been a family craft, and many well-known artists (both historical and contemporary) often have well-known artists in their immediate family.

Do you like the vivacious art?

Sea & the City: Kyiv’s Mural of the Season

Sea & the City: Kyiv’s Mural of the Season

Kyiv has already become the capital of murals, at least in this part of the world. Artists from around the world are welcomed here to paint the city’s old walls. Some of their works are real pieces of arts. But one of the latest local murals created by Jake Aikman of Cape Town, South Africa stands out among the others.

It took the artist a few weeks to complete the 9-meters high and 13-meters wide painting depicting deep blue sea or ocean in details.

For Jake Aikman it was his first experience in creating something outside of his usual studio. ‘It was very strange working outside, says the artist. I work very privately, I don’t share my studio with anyone, so no one gets to see my developmental stages. Being watched was very peculiar, but I really just put my head down because I had a lot to do.’

They say that first the residents of the building hosting the artwork weren’t very happy with the work. ‘People initially started shouting at me when they saw the first high-contrast sketch I did on the wall, remembers Aikman. Someone translated for me and I found out that they were saying it was too dark, one woman even brought me a rose because she wanted something more pretty.’

But now his creative turned out to be one of Kyiv’s new attractions. And that’s how the creator himself sees the meaning of his work: ‘Bringing the sea to the city is the most important part of the project for me. The human vulnerability in the enormity of the ocean is important for our understanding of our own humanity.’

Aikman arrived to Ukraine by invitation of the international public art organization Art United Us aiming to ‘make 200 walls in the city of Kyiv’. Before this experience the 40 year old Jake Aikman was known in South Africa for his canvasses depicting seascapes, remote coastlines, and dense forests. His works were presented in exhibitions in his home country, as well as Italy and Great Britain.

Where to Make a Wish in Kyiv

Where to Make a Wish in Kyiv

Kyiv is a mysterious city full of magic. For example, of places where you can make a wish and hope they come true. Here are just a few of them.

1. Bridge of Lovers

Officially called a Park Bridge, it is well know among romantic couples. They believe that if you make a wish of forever love standing on it, and seal it with a kiss and with a lock (and kiss!), you’ll stay together forever and with a lot of happiness. There is no statistics as to how true it is. But the bridge is abundantly decorated with locks and ribbons symbolizing love ties.

2. Magic Scarab

The magic bug may be found on the back of the jacket of a bronze Golokhvastov statue at the famous Andriyivskyy descent. The man is a hero of a popular play ‘Running for Two Rabbits’ by Ukrainian writer Mikhailo Staritsky. The movie based on the book is a kind of cult in Ukraine and nearby countries. Highly recommended to watch! Polish the scarab carefully, and your desire should fulfill.

3. Fountain if Wishes

The fountain is situated in Mikhailovsky (St. Michael’s Golden-Domed) monastery courtyard. To make your wish come true you need to magnetize a coin to the fountain.

4. Magic Animals

There are a few of them. A magic mule stands in Ryl’sky lane close to St. Sophia cathedral. Whisper your wish to its ear – and leave a coin in its carriage.

To use the magic power of a magic hedgehog sitting on the corner of Reytars’ka and Zolotovorits’ka streets you need to touch its quills. And don’t forget to watch the cartoon ‘Hedgehog in the Fog’ it comes from – it’s something awesome!

It gets more complicated with a magic cat Pantyusha standing in Zolotovorits’ky square (near Zoloty Vorota metro station). To make it fulfill your dreams, grab both ears and tail of the creature and make a wish.

5. Mysterious Crocodile

This reptile stands out of the other animals. Try to find it on the frontal of the famous Gorodetsky house (also known as House with Chimeras) – and if you are successful you, may be sure that luck is on your side.

6. Nine Muses

Recommended for creators: tie a thread around one (or few) of the muses standing on Obolonskaya Neberizhna (embankment). This will ensure your fruitful creativity for nearest future.

7. Dnipro River

Want to come back to Kyiv? Throw a coin into the river and make the wish! There is a rumor that drinking water from Samson fountain on Kontraktova square works the same way. But, taking into account the quality of the water, we do not recommend the method.

Amazing Rakhivshina

Amazing Rakhivshina

Ukraine is stunningly beautiful. And this video from Rakhiv region situated in Carpathian mountains in Zakarpattia Oblast (province) in the west of Ukraine is another illustration of the fact.

Rakhiv, or more precisely, the village Dilove located close to it, is one of several European locations vying for the symbolic right to be Geographical center of Europe. The sign in Dilove, the point calculated in 1887 by the Austro-Hungarian geographers, carries a Latin inscription: “Locus Perennis Dilicentissime cum libella librationis quae est in Austria et Hungaria confectacum mensura gradum meridionalium et paralleloumierum Europeum. MD CCC LXXXVII.”

With an elevation of 430 meters above sea level, Rakhiv is Ukraine’s highest city. It is also the home of the the headquarters of Carpathian Biosphere Reserve.

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