Thursday, November 13, 2008

Kiev's Statue to the Motherland

As part of my visa adventures, I'm in Kiev for a few weeks. And in-between language lessons and church responsibilities, there's time to be touristy, thanks to friend and guide, Anya.

It happened that on November 11th, Veteran's Day in the US, we visited Mat' Rodina, Kiev's statue to the Motherland. The surrounding complex and museum chronicle Ukraine's history during World War II.

Say, look carefully at the photo above - see me waving? For once I feel petite! This Motherland statue is taller than Lady Liberty by 9 meters. Details following. . .

The Motherland Statue is part of the Memorial Complex and Museum. We enter the area through this passageway. Patriotic music is playing. To hear it, turn up the volume on your computer. (Did that help? ;)  )

These bronze sculptures depict the bravery of the border guards, the courage of people in the countryside and defiance of urban dwellers.

The Nazi invasion affected every family - the old, the young, moms and dads. Museum literature says that Hitler's Operation Barbaroza was the largest military undertaking in history. Three million Axis troops attacked the Soviet Union on 22 June, 1941 - the longest day of the year.

The sculpture honors all who helped - peasants in the fields, factory workers making weapons and tanks, everyone.

Moving right along, literally in the shadow of the Motherland Statue are bronze and marble monuments, I counted 13 in all, each one honoring a Heroic City of the Soviet Union.

Praise to the Heroic Cities.

Here's a salute to VOLGOGRAD, the city where the Nazi's were stopped. Sacred soil from Volgograd is included in this monument.

Mercy me, it appears that we're being invaded! A brigade of school boys is charging down the steps toward us and to the museum, most likely. Imagine young people so interested in history. What a tribute to their heritage.

To think that they want to see first-hand what all their grandparents endured. Wait, they seem to be veering off in another direction. . .

But of course! They're heading straight toward two tanks, painted with flowers, absolute kid-magnets.

Tanks, but no tanks for me. We're focused on the statue here. Climbed up the hill and dear Anya captured me near Mat' Rodina.

Here's the view straight up. Now let's compare this Motherland statue to Lady Liberty. The young lady before us is 62 meters high and sits on a 40 foot pedestal, 102 meters total. Whereas the Statue of Liberty is 46 meters high, on a 47 foot pedestal, totalling 93 meters. So Mat' Rodina wins by 9 meters. (Not that anyone's competing, of course. Of Course. )

In a nutshell: When choosing scale, the Soviet Union went for massive: Huge buildings, mammoth memorials, gigantic Stalinesque architecture, even plus-size ladies.

From the foot of Mat' Rodina, turn around and here's the view northeast. On a clear day, past the monostery and all you can see the Dneiper River. 

Anya and I went down to the museum. This poster was at the entrance, in English, no less.

After a couple of hours inside the museum, this is the view of the area in the late afternoon sun. The complex was officially opened on Victory Day, May 9th, 1981, a day of parades and even after all these years, emotion and awe and gratitude to the veterans.

Saved the best photo for last: Mat' Rodina back-lit by the sun. Doesn't get better than that.

Say, from YouTube is this video: A fellow who visited Kiev captured Mat' Rodina, the sculptures, Dneiper River, lots more. It's not professional video by any means yet it provides a good overview of the memorial complex.


Momma B said...

It's huge! Wow!
That's not the one in the square downtown, is it? I visited the Statue of Liberty recently, but this statue looks much bigger.

Jeanette said...

Fabulous pics and descriptions. I always get chills looking at the Russian WWII memorials...and this one (yes, Ukranian) is spectacular.

Our little city of Atascadero, CA just dedicated a war memorial (the only one in the county). I felt very proud to be a part of honoring those who died for the USA and for the freedom of so many others around the world. At the same time, I felt closer to my Russian brothers and sisters, who (as you have so exquisitely showed us)never forget.

By the way, are you losing weight? Seems like a slimmer you in these pics...

Anonymous said...

Thank you from Mexico for this beatiful film about the great ukrainian people, you are a big country, made by great people this statue is really fantastic.

time4kyiv said...

Sounds like the perfect timing to visit Kiev.

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