Art / Travel / Ukraine

Kyiv: Where the Wild Things Are

image

“And the wild things roared their terrible roars
and gnashed their terrible teeth
and rolled their terrible eyes.”

― Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are

High above Kyiv, on land that once defended the ancient city, the wild things roam. They cling to walls, perch on pillows, and pose as fountains. They exist for one reason alone … to delight! image image With stunning views over the Dnipro River Valley, Landscape Alley (Peysazhna Alley) is home to whimsical creatures that enthrall locals and visitors, young and old alike.

imageimageimage

The smile-inducing sculptures, benches, and walls are mosaic tile masterpieces created by Ukrainian artists and fashion designers. The mere existence of the park represents a victory of citizens and art lovers over developers and big government.

As we walked along the winding paths, children cavorted in the Alice and Wonderland playground, lovers snuggled in Bunny Benches, and grandparents strolled hand-in-hand on the way home from the market.

image

Kyiv’s charming Landscape Alley can be a bit tricky to find the first time. Here’s the easiest way to get there.

Directions: With your back to St. Andrew’s Church, look directly ahead at the fork in the road. Take the right fork, walk past the craft shops. Immediately AFTER the large blue/green building on your right take the street to the right. Walk straight ahead approximately 100 yards, and Landscape Alley is on your left. Woohoo!

“Let the wild rumpus start!”
― Maurice Sendak

Whimsical Trails,
Terri & James
image

44 thoughts on “Kyiv: Where the Wild Things Are

    • Darlene, this whimsical park is a wonderful splash of fun in an unlikely place. In addition to being colorful and creative, it has great views over the valley below, and is a wondeful public space where there might have been just another row of drab buildings. ~James

    • Gilda, it’s a wonderful park, and strangely, it isn’t very well publicized in tourist info – maybe because it’s so tricky to find. But it’s definitely worth searching for. ~James

  1. These are wonderful! I’m not sure which I like better – the sculpture of the stacked pillows or the rabbit bench. I can see myself spending a lot of time there trying to get ‘just one more photo’ 🙂

    • Joanne, given the creativity of it all, it’s hard to pick a favorite. But I must admit, that the two blue cats stretched along the wall are probably my faves; especially the cat’s head on the corner with the one-person seat. Very cool and about as whimsical as it gets. It brings out the kid in all of us. ~James

    • Isn’t he a little sweetheart, Joyce? When I saw that stack of pillows just going up, up, up – I wanted to climb up there with him. 🙂 Hope that you and Dascal are doing great! Love, T & J

  2. I love the colors and the fact that these are mosaics (which I always admire), but I have to be an outlier and say they seem a bit cartoonish to me! I guess that’s the point; they were going for whimsy, but …

    I do like the cats on the wall (they were a great intro; I thought we were going to see Parc Güell-like surrealism at first) and a few others, but yikes, that jumble of cat, bunny, ladder, and teacup (?) – wow.

    • And Lexie, imagine how much work went into these intricate mosaics. The number of individual tiles is incredible, and each tile really is quite small. I don’t know much of the background, but I can imagine it was a colossal undertaking. Kyiv has had its share of problems, but public parks and art like this are proof that, luckily, life goes on. ~James

    • Thanks for dropping by Lynn. Isn’t this pillow-pile delightful. I appreciate the artistic qualities, but the practical side of me wonders how they managed to get this whole stack balanced and standing upright. Either way, it’s way cool and the details are wonderful. ~James

    • Alison, if you’ve traveled much in Eastern Europe, you know that this type of thing isn’t common. So it was heartening to see such a pleasant and happy place being used and appreciated by the neighborhood folks. ~James

    • Being a kid again Terry, that’s perfect. Did you see the photo of the teenage lovers sitting on the bench inside an toy’s open mouth. I know these teens wouldn’t normally be caught dead near kids’ stuff. ~James

    • Laura, I’m partial to the corner cat as well. I don’t know the backstory on the playground and park, but you’re right, it had to be a labor of love. It has the look of a community project, because there was definitely a lot of work and materials involved. Whatever the story, we loved it and it was great to see that the locals did as well. ~James

    • Thanks Curt. This park had it all that’s for sure. I’ve never really seen anything quite like it, and particularly on this scale. It had a great view overlooking the valley below, and I’m a bit surprised that the land wasn’t sold to some developer. Luckily, it wasn’t and everyone benefits. ~James

  3. These are true fairytale sculptures. They got more colorful since the last time I saw them! And since I happen to advise you on some “Ukrainian-related” grammar, I couldn’t resist from mentioning that our biggest river is called Dnipro not Dnieper. Dnieper is an old transliteration from Russian. The same happened with Kiev vs Kyiv: first name was a traditional transliteration from Russian back when Ukraine was the part of the USSR and Russian was a dominant language largely imposed all over Ukraine. Nowadays, Ukrainian philologists and diplomas try to illuminate Kiev in the international usage, replacing it with Kyiv. For us, Ukrainians, it’s extremely important to keep our language thriving as well as our territorial independence.
    Best regards,
    Olena Hart

    • Olena, thanks for all this additional information and the corrections. FYI, I’ve made the river name change in the post. We realize that to outsiders and foreigners getting exactly the right name might be trivial, but we can relate to, and always try to be sensitive to getting things right. We’ve traveled in much of post-communist Eastern Europe and know that the legacy of Russia is complex, and people have mixed opinions. So, as bloggers just passing through, we do our best to get it right. Thanks again for your help. ~ James

What do you think? We'd love to know!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s