My trip to Ukraine – visiting Zaporozhye

This will be the last post from my Ukraine series. Overall I spent in Ukraine around 5 weeks and visited 4 cities. The last place we went to was Zaparozhye, a city with population of around 1 million people stretching for several miles along Dniepr - the longest river in Ukraine. During our visit we stayed at my cousin who lives and works in the city.

Dnepro GES damZaporozhye is famous for its power plant - DneproGES. It is a huge dam connecting two parts of the city and supplying electricity to the numerous plants nesting along the river bank. It was built in 1932 and is the largest hydroelectric power plant in Ukraine.

We took a walk across it and I should say it was quite a nervous adventure. The bridge above the dam swings with each passing truck and you literally have to hold the railings to be able to stay straight.

Dnepro GES signSomewhere in the middle my cousin commented that the bridge is long overdue for repairs and then I really regretted I allowed him to get me out over there. I truly felt relieved when we were finally over on the other side. By the way, the dam was named after Lenin and still holds that title (you can read it on the sign, in Russian of course).

The entertainment industry in Zaporozhye is not nearly as developed as in Kiev. There is just one bowling club in the city. ;-) We did find what to do however.

Kozak Sitch fenceWe went to the historical museum which is located on the Khortisa island just down the river from the dam. There is a popular belief that in the XIV-XV centuries Khortitsa served as a camp for kozaks, free people who fled from landlords and made a military camp on the island. The museum guide however rebuffed the idea and claimed that archaeological surveys prove that there has never been a camp on the island itself, although there were quite a few kozak camps in other places along the river.

Kozak Sitch inside modelIn 18th century Russian queen Ekaterina II abolished kozaks military organization - the Sitch. Part of the kozaks who fled Russian troops settled on the banks of Dnepr river founding the city of Zaporozhye.

Today the city government with support from private businesses is building a reduced size model of a camp on the island which among other things will have VIP accommodations for important guests. Part of the financing comes from entertainment industry. I was told they use the camp to film some scenes from a future movie about Ukrainian kozaks.

Recycling bottles in UkraineNow this is a bonus shot from the city of Zaporozhye. I captured the scene close to my cousin’s apartment. This may mean nothing to you but the image does revive some memories from my childhood. The lady by the wall (click on the image to enlarge) collects empty bottles for recycling. My dad not once used to send me to such a place to exchange for money the empty bottles we collected over the week. I didn’t mind much since the profit was usually all mine to keep. ;-)

As I already mentioned, this will be the last post from my Ukraine series however I will be happy to answer any of your questions in the comments. Ukraine is an interesting country which offers genuine history and amazing traditions. I hope this series of posts conveys this idea despite some dark bits here and there.

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5 Responses to “My trip to Ukraine – visiting Zaporozhye”

  1. 1 Dean Aug 28th, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    Great series of posts. I’m going to do a Europe trip and hopefully will be able to make a stop there.

    Love the pictures, a photo gallery would be awesome.

  2. 2 Alex Aug 29th, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    Cossacks, I think, are overly glorified in our modern culture. They were not nice. Same goes for the cowboys too ;)

  3. 3 FreedomFirst Nov 4th, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Pity poor Alex. Probably “educated” by some government school. Cowboys, like his teachers, were every manner of human. Some good and some evil. No such thing as “our” culture. I have my culture and you have yours. My culture wants nothing to do with your culture that leaves you so uneducated. Glorify the Cossacks for their fight to be free from slavery and villify them for any theivery or murder. And try and expose your self to history from both sides before you sit in judgement.

  4. 4 Realist Jan 1st, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    The story of the bridge swaying is a little over the top as only a 1/4 of the bridge is not over the dam wall, which hardly would be swaying .People fish from that bridge that you were so scared on, as well as carrying 4 lanes of traffic. You have posted a photo of the wall and to insinuate that the wall sways is ridiculous .The blog seems to be written by someone whose eyes only see negative and is trying to sensationalize a trip.Do a search on the internet for photos of Zaporozhye and you will see a different city to the one described here .

  5. 5 Alex della Rosa Sep 3rd, 2009 at 1:00 am

    I’m glad to see the post about Zaporozhye. I was there for three monts, sept-dic ‘86, attending a training course hosted by Zaporozthal Iron Works.

    Viewing the pictures takes me to that time, when I had a good time.

    Many things have changed since then… I used to walk along the Dnieper bend, or have a cup of tea at the Intourist hotel (my home at that time), walking along Lenin Prospect with Marina, a russian girl I met… Oh! good memories…

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