Been a long time, guys. And I am back today to start a small series about my mini doll Sonja and mini sculptures of Kyiv.
When I first heard about these mini sculptures about a year or two ago, I loved it at once. And only today, Nick and I get out for the search. By the way, when we're ready to start, Nick came up with a brilliant idea - to take Sonja and make her the character of my photo walks. The size of the sculptures is just perfect for her. Let's see how it turned out.
Today, we have had a splendid day, perfect for a walk, sunny and pretty warm, compared to the recent -19 C. Although we walked back then too, lol. But without a camera.
Before we start, a word about the project. Its author is Yulia Bevzenko, a manager and a guide, a person with a great passion for the city. Shukai means Search in Ukrainian. The idea of "Shukai!" project is to learn the history of the city without a guide. People walk, found sculptures and open to the site with information about them by QR-code. It was started 3 years ago, in January 2018.
Today I'll show you the first stop of Sonja. They are not in chronological order. Although not all of the mini sculptures are on the map, I mean in one place, so on the way to the first selection we miss one as well...
Rub me and you will gain speed.
The history of the site is best described on its web page:
"Afanasiievskyi Yar (ravine) – an area quite odd and a bit frightening used to stretch under Velyka Pidvalna Street (nowadays Yaroslaviv Val Street). Kostiantyn Paustovskyi, the writer who spent his childhood near this place, once wrote: "We were strictly forbidden to go to the ravine. It was a dreadful place, an asylum for criminals and beggars. Yet, we, boys, would band together into squads and head to the ravine… At first, we would cast a wary eye at it from the top and observe shining broken glass, rusty footbath and scavenging dogs".
The blind wall in the background is decorated by the mural depicting its author riding a bike. Great and funny idea. The author, by the way, is Canadian artist Emanuel Jarus.
Over time the ravine was backfilled and built up with "tenement houses" - the name used back then to describe the houses with rental apartments. But even at that time, at the beginning of XXth century, there were people in this city who cared not only about their wallets but also about the quality of life of the city dwellers. Thus at Sviatoslavska Street (nowadays Lypynskoho Street) the Cycle Race Track was built. It was the time when Kyivans just started taking interest in different sports: numerous yacht-clubs, auto-clubs, and association of aviators appeared in the city. Therefore, the Cycle Race Track was not an exception but rather a part of the general rule.
The Cycle Race Track was built by the Kyivan Ivan Bilenko. The place boasted not only a cycling track but an open-air cinema. The whole complex was opened in 1913 on the occasion of 300th anniversary of the Romanov's Dynasty, the event which was widely celebrated around the whole Empire and in Kyiv as well. The same year the First all-Russian Olympic Games were held and Kyiv was chosen as the venue. Part of the competition took place on the cycle race track. By the way, our city was chosen as the venue for a good reason. By that time it had accounted for 196 various sport noncommercial associations with about 8000 people working within them - more than in any other city of the Empire.
The Cycle Race Track was reconstructed several times – in 1939 and 1949. In 1978-80 it went through the major renovation in the lead-up to the next Olympic Games that Kyiv hosted – this time International ones.
The asphalt coating of the Cycle Race Track was replaced with the wooden one made of Siberian larch which lasted up to 1991. Subsequently, wood was replaced with special concrete with polymer additives.
In the noughties of XXIst century the oldest city Cycle Race Track became at risk of demolition. In 2014 after several years of the fight for the unique sports facility it was decided to restore it. Nowadays this unique sports facility which is more than 100 years old welcomes sportsmen on its tracks.
According to the Ukrainian Cycling Federation, Kyiv Cycle Race Track is considered to be one of the best in Europe. Wow!
Stay warm, but don't forget to get out sometimes. If you have an idea, do it! And stay tuned to follow Sonja's adventures!
See you soon,