Ah, Ukraine. The wonderful country that sparked off my adventures in wonderland. It’s remarkable it’s taken me this long to get to Ukraine. Although I would like to take this opportunity to correct the error in referring to Ukraine as the Ukraine. They consider it very offensive, as it was the name given to them by the Soviet Union who denigrated them. The Ukraine means ‘the borderland’, but it’s not a borderland anymore, so it’s offensive. It’s moved a long way since those days, though. A proud country. An interesting country. For example, did you know their anthem is called ‘Ukraine has not yet perished’? Which is rather ominous. Do they fear perishing? Surely, ‘We won’t perish’ is better. No? Sounds like the motto of a crazy person. I know they had a difficult birth but a long time has passed since then, surely. But there’s more to Ukraine than odd anthems. Oh yes, indeed…
The third most visited McDonalds on Earth is located in the capital, Kiev. They wear wedding rings on their right hands. Currently, it has the world’s deepest underground railway station at 155 yards deep. They consume the fifth most alcohol of any country on Earth, nearly three and a half gallons a year on average, nearly two pints more than the Irish. The oldest map known to scientists was found in the Ukrainian village of Mezhireche, at nearly 14.5 thousand years old. And they consume three times less pork than the Germans, only two stone on average per year. Which is great, because it means there’s more for me. I’m liking the sound of Ukraine. Sounds like a great country. And it’s beautiful, too. As demonstrated by these wonders.
Saint Sophia’s Cathedral is one of the most beautiful churches on Earth, but I never choose religious places, as it isn’t a fair thing to do, so I’ll rule her out, but good gravy she’s pretty. It’s also the reason I’ll rule of Kiev Pechersk Lavra, a stunningly beautiful monastery. Chersonesos is a ruined Ancient Greek city, so I’d don’t care. Ruins are ruined therefore there’s no wonder. It’s a ruin of a wonder. Well, where’s the wonder then? And then there’s Kamianets-Podilskyi. A WHOLE CITY! No, it’s ridiculous. The original rules of wonders ruled out whole places. And I’m sticking to that, goshdarnit! And I’m not particularly interested in fortresses. Even ones as staggering at Khotyn Fortress. And for me, lush green cultural reserves and parks are fairly samey, so I’ll rule out Khortytsia.
This leaves me with the catchily named Sofiyivsky Park. Despite the name being a tad of a mouthful for a Northern Englander like myself, who famously don’t pronounce many letters in our alphabet, it’s absolutely gorgeous. It is an incredibly beautiful landmark. It’s well maintained, highly interesting and an incredible adventure. The photo’s I have seen of her have just about taken my breath away. And that’s pretty special and I think it makes it a wonder. And a great wonder at that.
Sofiyivsky Park. My favourite wonder of Ukraine.
Photo: Sofiyivsky Park
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