20 June 2013

Kiev, the Great Choral Synagogue and Art, 20 June 2013

We continued our stay in Kiev with a visit to the monument to the Great Patriotic War (1941 - 1945), known to the USA as World War II. The memorial is located next to the Lavra complex and features a museum and several sculptures. We did not go into the museum, but did walk through the impressive concrete structure portion of the memorial.

This complex was dedicated 1981 and is essentially a tunnel of sculpted concrete slabs placed at a variety of angles. Inside are reliefs of soldiers, partisans and villagers. 

Outside on the hill above the structure is a basin that once held an eternal flame. And crowning all of this is the Motherland statue (originally Soviet, now Ukrainian). She is over 60 meters tall and is a landmark in the city.

This monument complex looks to me like so many made by committee. I found the slab and relief structure a very effective work of art evoking the struggle and deprivation during the war years. It could standby itself with no additional elements. But someone decided they needed an eternal flame on their war memorial and someone else needed a huge motherland statue. So, everyone's vision is included.

Next we visited the Great Choral Synagogue (also known as the Podil Synagogue) on Shchekavyts'ka Street. It was originally built in 1895. In 1929 it was converted to a stable and, after the war, it was used again as a synagogue.

The Pinchuk Art Center's main exhibit this summer is called China China and features artwork by several Chinese dissidents. This is the exhibit on the sidewalk outside the gallery.

After some wonderful Uzbek food ( we forgot to take photos of our food) for dinner, we ended the day with a visit to the House of Chimeras, an unusual building crawling with animals and gargoyles. It was built by architect Wladislaw Horodecki about at the beginning of the twentieth century as an apartment building (in which he also had an apartment). One could spend a great deal of time studying each creature.


  1. Thank you so much for letting me and all your other readers follow your footsteps in this journey. I've learned a lot and also enjoyed your comments and your excellent photos. My fingers are crossed that you can find even more info based on what you've learned in Ukraine!

  2. Thank you Marian. I'm busy busy sorting through and digesting what I learned on my trip. More on that soon.


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