Category: Attractions

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!

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.

10 Interesting Facts About Ukraine

10 Interesting Facts About Ukraine

1. It is the largest country in Europe

Ukraine is the continent’s largest county at 603,628 square kilometers. France is next at 551,695 square kilometers.

2. It lies at the heart of Europe

Within Ukraine there is the geographical center of Europe. Ok, a number of locations claim to the title and it depends on how you measure Europe, but the small town of Rakhiv in western Ukraine is one such place. The country has a second claimant in Transcarpathia, where an obelisk marks the spot.

3. It is not The Ukraine

The English-speaking world commonly referred to the country as The Ukraine. That is, until independence in 1991 when the West gradually dropped the definite article. In 1993 the Ukrainian government requested that the country be called just Ukraine. US ambassador William Taylor, who knew that addition of the “the” was considered insulting by some Ukrainians, said it implied a disregard for the country’s sovereignty.

4. It boasts seven wonders

Within its large borders, Ukraine has 7 World Heritage Sites, including but not limited by 11th century Saint-Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv, the ancient city of Khersoneses in Crimea, and many others.

5. It hosted plenty of history

Ukraine has played the stage for much destruction during its history. But it was also the host of the Yalta Conference in 1945, where Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt met to discuss the organization of post-war Europe. Livadia Palace, which hosted the meeting, is open today as a museum. Today, Yalta is part of history once again as it lies on the disputed Crimean peninsula, annexed by Russia in 2014. The Crimea is one of 3 regions advised against travel to (Donetsk and Lugansk are the others). The rest of the country is safe and highly recommended to visit!

6. It is tasteful

Ukrainian cuisine is extremely yummy, and many of its regions compete to be its kitchen capitals. The city of Lviv is surely Ukraine’s cafe capital – it claims to have the most cafes in the world per capita. The other must visit places for those who are especially interested in tasty food and drinks are surely Kyiv and Odessa.

7. It is very romantic

Recognize this? This is just one of the many examples of romantic places to be found in Ukraine. The Tunnel of Love is located in the forests near the town of Klevan. The rail road is for a private train that provides wood for a local factory. Do you want to find more places like this? Welcome to Ukraine!

8. The world’s biggest plane is built here

Kyiv was the birthplace of the world’s largest plane, the Antonov An-225 Mriya. It has the longest wingspan of any aircraft, at 88.4 meters and weighs 640,000 kg. A brainwave of the Soviet Union, only one was ever made.

9. It is home to ghost towns and a mighty Soviet relic

Chernobyl, the site of the world’s worst nuclear power plant disaster, is situated in northern Ukraine. Within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, established by the USSR soon after the accident in 1986, there is a number of abandoned towns, most notably Pripyat, that draw interest from all over the world. Tours of the area, including the power plant, are available, at the risk of the traveler. The safer option is to explore Soviet relics still found in many towns of the country. The biggest one is very prominent in Kyiv: 62 meters tall Mother Motherland monuments standing high on the right coast of Dnipro river. While Communist symbols and street names were outlawed from Ukraine in 2015, Second World War monuments – like this titanium statue – were allowed to remain.

10. You can ski there

It’s no French Alps, but Ukraine has about ten ski resorts to shout about, including Bukovel in the Carpathian mountains, with 55 km of slopes and 15 lifts.



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