In the first half of April 2015 I will be back on the road with my friends Petra and Achim. We are an experienced travel team. Among other trips, we were traveling two years ago in Galicia and Northern Bukovina in Ukraine. This time Southern Bukovina, by now the Romanian part of the former Austro-Hungarian crown land, is waiting for us. I compiled a list of places to go, but I’m sure there are knowledgeable readers who have good suggestions for more destinations!
At the turn of the year I traveled in Ukraine again. This time I was in Volhynia (Volhyn), a historical region between Galicia and Belarus. My trip took me to Trochenbrod, Lutsk, Rivne, Dubno and Ostroh. Back in Lviv, I made an excursion to Olesko and Busk in Galicia. Now I have completed a selection of black and white photos of the trip.
Again, I was travelling with Vasyl and Renata. I highly appreciate both of them – because of their kindness and because of their excellent knowledge of local history. My journey is slowly coming to an end and it was a final opportunity to explore Galicia during this trip. Olesko and Busk were the places we went to.
What can I say about Rivne, the city where I stayed for my trips to Ostroh and Dubno? Very little is left from old Rivne. The city was rebuilt after the war in Stalin style. The suburbs consist mainly of Soviet apartment blocks from the Brezhnev era. In the center is a huge theater – sculptures dance on its roof into a bright future that never took place.
In Dubno probably more historical substance is preserved then in much larger Rivne, where I stay in a hotel. At the market square a number of typical Jewish functional houses are still standing, with a shop in the ground floor and an apartment with balcony on the first floor. One of Dubno’s most important monuments is the former synagogue. It is easy to find and is located in close vicinity to the central market square.
The synagogue of Ostroh is in a sad state. However, the Jewish cemetery was found in surprisingly good condition during my today’s visit. I have rarely seen such a well-kept Jewish cemetery in Ukraine.Continue reading
Volhynia was ruled from Lutsk for centuries. The impressive fortress that was never conquered throughout its history, still bears witness of this periode. The massive towers of the fortress are without doubt the landmark of the city, but there is more to discover. Join me on a walk through Lutsk with its multiethnic past and present!
Trochenbrod (Trachimbrod, Sofiyovka) was an all-Jewish town that was completely wiped out. Not a single stone has been preserved from a place with formerly 6,000 residents. Nevertheless Trochenbrod has a unique afterlife – the place became famous through Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel “Everything Is Illuminated” and the film adaptation by the same title. Like many others, I thought Trochenbrod was fiction. But Trochenbrod existed.
After so many years of returning, it is a kind of homecoming when I go back to Lviv (Lwow, Lemberg). This time, Lviv welcomed me with snow. Upon my arrival at the airport heavy white snowflakes were falling and now it looks like it will not stop. A nice start for a new journey.
Many of you followed my wanderings through Galicia and Bukovina and I’m grateful to you and your comments. With me was my old camera; I took photos whenever I was travelling in the last two years. Classic black and white photography. Thanks to the Rhineland Regional Association I’m now able to publish some of my photos as a book.