In Ternopil

From Lviv (Lemberg, Lwow) I continue to Ternopil, have a look at the town and buy me a ticket to go to Sataniv tomorrow. After I returne from the Jewish cemetery, I learn what happened in Kyiv today. Again, people have been shot to death.

Early in the morning I leave my beloved George Hotel and drive to the station. Two hours I rock by train through Galicia and finaly reach Ternopil. It is easy to find a hotel. It looks a bit post-Soviet, but offers a beautiful view over a frozen lake. At ice holes people are sitting and fishing.

The hotel staff is touchingly concerned about me when I ask for directions to the bus station to get me a ticket for tomorrow. They offer to accompany me to show me the way. Finally, we agree on a compromise: I get a piece of paper with all the important information about the ticket purchase in Ukrainian. The concern of the friendly staff turns out to be unfounded – the way to the bus station is easy to find and the young woman at the desk speaks perfect English.

Ternopil is about the size of Chernivtsi (Czernowitz), but looks much more Soviet-like. Representative buildings from the Stalin era dominate the city. Comparatively rare are buildings from the days of the Habsburg Monarchy, as they are characteristic for Lviv and Chernivtsi.

I’m on my way to the Jewish cemetery and pass the site of the former Great Synagogue. The building no longer exists, instead there is a factory. The Jewish cemetery is located far outside the city center on a major arterial road on the crest of a hill. Only a small part of the site still has grave stones – very homogeneous in style and all of them from the beginning of the 20th Century.

When I come back to the hotel, a group of hotel guests has gathered around the television set in the lobby. The mood is serious, all gaze at the TV, where a life report from the Maidan in Kyiv is broadcasted. Several people have been killed in clashes between police and demonstrators. No one says a word.

I go out to the local Maidan, which is located very close to the hotel. Here a larger crowd has already gathered. Speeches of a woman and a man alternate – the woman speaks very determined, the man sounds concerned and chipped. “Slava Ukrainy”, the battle cry of the last few weeks comes out depressed and almost like a whisper from the crowd. As I go, I hear people begin to pray.

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