Добрий вечір. (Good Evening)
Hello again. I am half way in to my second week back at UND for my last semester of undergrad. My classes are going fairly well so far. At the end of the last post, Marichka and I had just stopped at the University for a tour and it was about 4:30pm.
After we left the university we went over to Вул Коперника, Copernicus St. to where the Central Post Office is located. The post office is in another large stone building. Inside the building on one of the walls is a map of Ukraine, with the borders of the different Области, governmental regions kind of like the states in the US. Each of the Области, has a different stamp that is used. Each of the stamps have different and intricate designs.
We exited the post office and continued on to the Opera Passage Shopping mall. It was nice to be inside for a while to warm up a bit. We spent a short while in the mall, thankfully I was shown a grocery store that was in the basement, so I was able to stop back in there over the next few days to grab some fruit. We then stopped at two separate markets, the first market we walked by was a group of canvas tents, which was closing as we wandered through. The second market we arrived at was the main Christmas Market, which was located along Просп. Свободи, Svobody Avenue in between the Opera House and the monument to Taras Shevchenko. Shevchenko was born in 1814 and was a poet, painter, and writer whose poetry and writings influenced a Ukrainian revival, at a time when Ukraine was a part of the Russian Empire. His work was influential in a revival of Ukrainian nationalism and a hope for an independent Ukraine. For his work he was exiled and died in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1861. For anyone interested, the following website has a selection of Shevchenko’s poems translated to English: http://www.infoukes.com/shevchenkomuseum/poetry
The Christmas market, was similar to the smaller market next to City Hall, the main difference was the number of stalls. There was also a large pine tree decorated as a New Year’s tree. Because of the difference between the Gregorian calendar, the calendar we use today, and the older Julian calender, the Orthodox religions in Ukraine as well as elsewhere celebrate Christmas two weeks after it is traditionally celebrated by other Chrisitian denominations. Therefore Christmas is celebrated on January 7th. As we were browsing at the various stalls at the market, we stopped at a particular stall which was selling several different types of sweets. The name escapes me as to what it was called, but the snack I had was a, wafer covered in nougat and cranberries. It was quite tasty. We then went to another market, which reminded me of a grocery store in the United States, except for the fact that the building was filled with vendors at individual stalls selling all sorts of food, from sweets, to meat, vegetables, fruit, bread, eggs. Nearly anything you could think of.
The sights and experiences up to when we left this last market were amazing, but the places Marichka and I visited next were even more amazing. We exited the last market, and began a tour of many of the churches and cathedrals located in the city center. Unfortunately, in each of the churches and cathedrals there were signs prohibiting the taking of photographs, so I was not able to capture the insides of the churches and cathedrals myself. We stopped and entered the Armenian Cathedral, the Church of the Transfiguration, the Greek Catholic Church of the Holy Eucharist, the Dominican Church, the Jesuit Cathedral, and finally we went into the Eastern Orthodox Cathedral.
Each of these cathedrals and churches were breathtaking sights to enter and experience. The Armenian Cathedral was the first cathedral that we came to on our trek. We entered through the large wood doors at the main entrance. Passing through the foyer, we entered the chapel itself. The floor was covered in intricately embroidered rugs. But the sight was incredible when I looked ahead and up towards the altar. The walls and columns and the ceiling above the altar were covered and decorated in an amazing series of paintings and icons. The lights were dimmed and the main space around the altar was lit by candle light, there was a prayer service going on at the time when we entered, and I just felt a sense of awe and wonder as my gaze swept over the view in front of me with the priest framed by the paintings on the walls behind him. As we left the cathedral, I was still in awe of the beauty of the cathedral I had just witnessed. It was a feeling and sense that was repeated as we left every single church and cathedral we visited.
If I was amazed and awed by the Armenian Cathedral, which I was, I was just as, if not more amazed by the other churches and cathedrals we visited.
I think I will end this here, and I will continue in the next post.
Дуже дякую (Thank you)
На добраніч (Good Night)