Wednesday, August 5, 2015

7 Kharkiv mysteries

Here are 7 things in Kharkiv, Ukraine that I never got the details on-
maybe you know the stories behind them??

#1. The mystery of the fiddler on the roof


Who is that guy on the rooftop corner across from Constitution Plaza?

#2. The mystery of the white stripes and green stumps


People gave very vague answers and a shrug of the shoulders when I asked about the paint. Is it to protect against insects? To illuminate the roadway?

#3. The mystery of the big yellow star

This is in a residential neighborhood along the metro's red line. I'd randomly encounter it, ooh and aah over it, then forget about it until the next encounter. Is it a WWII memorial like this one?

#4. The mystery of the sports arena

A few years ago everyone was high off the success of Euro2012. I think the government wanted a repeat- another high profile event to bring good publicity to Ukraine. Enter EuroBasket 2015. 

You can tell how old this photo is- the construction billboard reads "Under the patronage of Viktor Fedorovich Yanukovich"!

Ukraine was set to host the event next month (Sept 2015) and planning to spend about 1.5 billion to do so, but... you know what happened next. The question is- what's happened to Kharkiv's (planned) arena near кинотеатр киев? I saw it before we left and there was definitely a structure in place. Is it finished? Is it open to the public?

Local newspaper article about the future arena. "Children will be able to play handball and volleyball, as well as wrestle here."

#5. The mystery of friendship square

Another timely topic- the Ukrainian / Russian friendship square.

Who put it there? When? Has it survived?

#6. The mystery of the fixer-upper

Once upon the time we lived across the street from this building-

Teatralnyi Lane, downtown Kharkiv.
No one knew the story behind this building- not the vakhta who worked in our building nor the local cashiers, and I never worked up the courage to ask our landlady. Do you know what happened here?

#7. The mystery of the fitness sausage

That's right- fitness sausage. Or, as the ad puts it, "the tasty way to beauty".

Obviously this one is the greatest mystery of them all. What are your thoughts on the matter? ;)


  1. White striped trees here in Saigon too, no green stumps though! Still, it's a mystery.

    1. Hmmm.... so it becomes an international mystery then! ;)

  2. One of my students told me that the "fixer upper" building was an old Opera house. NO idea if that is true.

    1. I could see that- it looked like it was a grandiose place back in the day! Maxine, did your student offer to take you there for a "photo sessiya"? Every time we walked by that building, there was always a photo shoot going on.

  3. I heard the white stripes on the trees were to protect against insects.. but no idea about the green stumps. Maybe the same thing? Or to make it blend better with the grass. Haha. Who knows?!

    1. Привет Dacia and thanks for dropping by! I like the blending in idea ;)

  4. Hi Kate!
    So time not hearing from you. Hope you are doing well!
    1) White stripes are definitely against the insects. All gardeners and dachniki make the same
    2) Fitness format - they named it so, because sausages don't contain pork, only chicken

    1. Pasha, bolshoe privet!!! :) It's so nice to hear from you again! Are you still in Kharkiv these days? Thanks for helping solve some of these mysteries :)

  5. Hi, Katherine! I'm still exploring your wonderful blog :) Regarding the "mystery of the big yellow star (#3)". I think it's a memorial to Civil War 1917 - 21, which took place in the Post-Tsar Russia and which related to a lot of military conflicts on the lands of modern Ukraine. I guessed this by the hat on the man, which is typical for those years: Будёновка. Those years had a big impact on history of Ukraine, worth of a memorial.

    1. Hi Andrey! Sorry for not responding sooner. How were your New Year's celebrations in Kharkiv? Hope you and your family had a good time :)

      Thank you for the explanation of this memorial. You taught me a new word as well- Будёновка!