Friday, July 2, 2010

View from Rodina Mat.

Up until a few weeks ago, the picture would not have been possible, short of renting a small plane or helicopter. And even then, you'd likely not have gotten permission to fly in this area.

I knew from some of my earliest days in Kiev, that Rodina Mat, the "Motherland Statue" had at one time allowed visitors to go up into the statue. (My wife, a lifelong Kiev resident, in contrast, was not aware that the statue was ever open to the public).

Link to Rodina Mat picture at Flickr. The observation area is where the base and the statue come together.

A few weeks ago, an observation area opened for the first time in many years. Yet, you're not likely to see a big rush to visit, since few people even know about it, and because the admission fee, per person, is 50 hriven, about $6.25. Which is a bit of an expense in a country where the average salary is about $8,000 USD a year.

You must be escorted by a staff member. First, you walk up to the third floor of the museum complex. At this time, you are matched up with a staff member. They even assigned my wife and I a bilingual guide, seeing that I am not too fluent in the local languages.

You are escorted to the elevator, a typical Soviet era one similar to what you would find in most Soviet era residential buildings. Maximum number of passengers is four, or maybe five. (No children under 14 allowed). It's certainly not a heavy duty commercial strength elevator by any means. Although there are six stops listed on the control panel, your guide takes you to the third level. From here you climb up a series of steps, some fairly steep, to get to the first observation area 36m (120 ft or so) up. Your money gets you 15 minutes to view, take pictures, and ask questions of your guide. I'll have more pictures from up here in the upcoming days.

In the left foreground, you'll see some Soviet era military hardware. The large tower is the Great Lavra Belltower, and the other gold domed buildings are all part of the Kiev Perchersk Lavra complex.

In the future, there are plans to allow visitors to go all the way up to level six, which will allow visitors to view from the shield. No mention of when that might be...

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