Hearts melt on St. Valentine's Day when diplomats confess their love.
A middle-aged man in a black jacket is sitting on a chair near the wall with a book in his hands on the first floor of the Ukrainian House, the exhibition hall in central Kyiv that was recently taken over by EuroMaidan activists. Andriy Shpak, a protester from Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine, is a regular visitor of the recently formed Maidan library.
A big three-story office building adorned with Christmas decorations at the edge of Kyiv’s Podil district is the birth place for the follow-up to “World of Tanks,” the video game called “World of Warplanes.” Even the meeting room of Persha Studia, the Kyiv Wargaming developing studio, features impressive, new computers with giant screens.
Each year on Jan. 19, when Orthodox Christians celebrate the Epiphany, thousands gather on both banks of the Dnipro River in Kyiv. On this holy day, believers say the river spiritually turns into Palestinian Jordan on the day when God appeared in three persons. That’s why Ukrainians bravely dive into cold Dnipro waters, seeking health and happiness.
On Dec.18, Mystetskiy Arsenal shined with hundreds of Christmas lights marking the opening of a great Christmas fair. Dozens of vendors and craftsmen offered Christmas decorations, toys, accessories and even clothes in the large pavilions.
This year’s main square Christmas tree will be historic for many reasons, ever since its construction became the pretext for police to beat protesters on Nov. 30. And then the main tree at the heart of Independence Square got hijacked by the protesters, while the official tree was moved to the Arch of Friendship, the huge rainbow memorial off European Square.
Many foreigners have been drawn to Kyiv’s pro-European rallies in admiration for the spirited people power that has been on display and capturing world headlines. Most who came to witness what many are calling EuroMaidan – in reference to the first demonstration on Nov. 21, when the government rejected an association agreement with the European Union – hail from former Eastern bloc countries like Belarus, Poland and Georgia. But others have come from other European countries and from as far as North America.
While protesters in Kyiv hunker down on central Maidan Nezalezhnosti and inside a few administrative buildings nearby, local businesses and the community are stepping up to help them. Various venues, companies and common Kyivans have expressed their solidarity with EuroMaidan participants, by offering them places to stay, free food and even legal assistance.
Serhiy Fomenko, better known as Foma, the lead singer of the popular Ukrainian band Mandry, jumps off the stage after performing, too excited to even speak. The noise of thousands of protesters on the crowded square almost drowns out his voice.
Ukrainians prove they are a folk-singing nation when they come out to protest, party or simply to gather. The EuroMaidan demonstration, in support of closer ties to the European Union that political leaders scuttled on Nov. 21, is no exception.
I can barely feel my toes and my head cracks from the cold even though I’m wearing the warmest clothes I have. I’ve been standing in a huge queue to the heating tent at Maidan Nezalezhnosti Square for just 20 minutes, but it seems that I’ve been here forever, jumping and dancing to get warm. It is past midnight and I’ve stopped counting the cups of tea I had after the fifth one.
An intellectual-looking old man tells me to stand closer to him, because as other nights spent in Maidan taught him, this way it’s warmer.
Forget sweaty, smelly changing rooms and long lines to use a treadmill. The Kyiv Post has found premium class Kyiv gyms, with higher prices for better service. These sport clubs offer the best equipment, fancy cafes, spacious pools and high-quality spa services.
The stunning red and yellow building being converted into the Marriott Renaissance Hotel on the corner of Prorizna and Volodymyrska streets was once Kyiv’s tallest residential building when its façade was completed in 1900.