Lala Tarapakina – the founder of "Znaydeno v Ukrayini” (Found in Ukraine) project - aims to show the hidden beautiful spots of Ukraine, to get to know the authentic history, culture and traditions of different regions. We’ve met with Lala to talk about her travels and discoveries, dedicated to some unknown castles and the monasteries of Ukraine.
Expeditions. Lala Tarapakina: We are constantly changing the lineup of our team. The permanent members are: our photographer Oleg Kirienko, some travel experts and me. Sasha Kotenko, landscape photographer, also joins us from time to time. He said the unique phrase: "In Ukraine there are so many amazing people that it's like in a perfume boutique, you need to smell the coffee to neutralize the “flavor” of every interesting person you meet.
Photo: Znaydeno v Ukrayini
There are so many impressions, emotions and vivid encounters that I want to stay for a while and breathe deeply. After two amazing people you want to talk to an ordinary one, but there are none. All of them are unique”. These expeditions are like drugs you can’t resist. You're going to see a lot of new things every time and get really rich with impressions.
Read: Castles of the Western Ukraine
Lala Tarapakina: In addition to well-known castles of Lviv region there are so many beautiful architectural buildings in Ukraine few people know about. I go different routes and not all of them are impassable. Lately I began to explore the castles. I want to draw attention to them. Most of them are in a very poor condition, and often in order to get there, you have to climb over the fence. 70% of them are broken, 30% - have a geographically very favorable position. It helped them to find philanthropists, who agreed to take them on lease for 49 years to renovate. For example, it happened to Kuris’s Manor-Castle located near Odesa in Liman district.
Read: Gastro-tourism in Ukraine: going to a farm with Lala Tarapakina
It was built in the Moorish style and was obviously inspired by the Vorontsov Palace in Alupka (Crimea). Limestone palace in Arab-Gothic architectural style came down to us, as well as some elements of English park, the economic entity and domed Pokrovska Church. The oldest part of the palace (Eastern one) was built in the 1820s. It was almost completely destroyed; and now it is surrounded by two-meter fence and there are restoration works. The castle is restored brick by brick. Of course, we climbed over the fence, made a deal with the guard, so we could take a look at the inside part of the building. A lot of work is ahead. It will be opened no earlier than in 5 years and anyone will have to take a look at this amazing building.
Lala Tarapakina: There are "fair" monasteries and they are our target. You're going through the dense forest for three days, then you walk through knee-deep in nettles, move out the branches of trees and see the arch of entrance to the monastery. You hear the bells ringing, and you meet the nun, who says: "Hello darling, bless you." And this monastery (I'm talking about Lebedinsky monastery in the Cherkassy region), is located actually on the edge of the world. Almost no one can find it. But there is a good road, by the way. And there you can get the impressions you can’t get anywhere else. This is the place of special energy and power. The nuns will give you food and water, you bathe in the baptismal font then smear the aromatic oils, take some goat cheese with you to your next trip and leave this place with blessings. This opens up your soul.
Read: Kitaevo Historical Park in Kyiv
Photo: Znaydeno v Ukrayini
Convent of the Athos Icon of the Our Lady in Kypiache natural boundary is another special place to visit. There are two monasteries - male and female – over there. They are very ancient. There you realize that it is absolutely divine place. Kypiache is located on the right bank of the Irsha River in four kilometers from Chopovychi village, Malinsky district of Zhytomyrky region. It is a very picturesque area with beautiful green forests. In 1911 here, according to the legend, the icon of the Blessed Virgin appeared in the fiery glow to two women. Women tried to take it, but the icon scorched them.
Burns were left on their hands. Women came here later again with a priest, who held a prayer service and took the icon in his hands. The legend says that this was the image of Our Lady of Kazan. Here the spring of hot water appeared. The water has healing properties.
There is a huge number of amazing, and sacred places in Ukraine. The experienced staff of “Found in Ukraine" project can help with many travel-related logistical issues.