Feb 19, 2011

Beauty in the bleak

Hi readers! I took a billion lot of pictures in Ukraine, so I've broken them up over several posts for this week. Today I want to share some pictures of the catacombs we toured.

The extent of the catacombs stretches to over 3,000 km, and they're all made out of limestone. During World War II the Soviet Partisans used them to hide and defend from the Nazis. There are three levels (all underground), and we toured the second. Our guide told us that there are still so many tunnels within the catacombs undiscovered - even in the past few years people have been lost for days at a time in there because they wandered away from their group!

Faces carved in the limestone...
An example of where they kept weapons, and some communication equipment
Where they would practice shooting (at the end of a long hallway).
The Barricade - at the end of a hallway and was guarded twenty-four hours a day. However, since the guards had to sit in pitch blackness, they switched them out every hour, otherwise the hallucinations would start.
An example of a barrel to heat water for laundry

What really hit me was thinking about how these people lived.  Some attachments were there for a year and a half, some were there for over three years! Doing day-to-day tasks like laundry or taking a shower was a huge ordeal - and that was on top of staying on guard to make sure there weren't people entering any of the different tunnels the catacombs offered.

Plus...it was so dark! There were some very basic light bulbs strung throughout the area we toured and even then it was sometimes hard to see - I can't imagine how hard it must have been with only torches or lanterns. The history of the place was pretty amazing - I'm really glad I got to experience this on the trip.
In front of a monument outside the catacombs. (It was a little windy!)

Have you ever seen a piece of another country's history and been moved by it? Do you get excited about history like I do? (I never used to when I was younger but that's definitely been something I've appreciated as I've gotten older).

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Great recap! Paris has a catacomb museum as well, but I didn't make it there on this trip - maybe on the next! What a interesting piece of history. Hard to imagine living down there for that long! I think I would go crazy...

The older I get, the more moved I am by history. I was totally moved by my trip to the beaches of Normandy. Like tearfully moved. I definitely appreciate history more and more as I get older....

Lucy The Valiant said...

That's so crazy, I can't believe people lived there for extended periods of time!! I love how you wrote about them having trouble showering, it brought home the fact that they were down there ALL the time!

Amber said...

Very cool! We went to the catacomb museum when we were in...Paris I think? There were a few in the different cities we went to. I think Amsterdam and Rome had them too. Anyways, it was NOT a pleasant experience down there, I couldn't even imagine LIVING down there for 2+ years!!!

Stevie said...

I love stuff like this! There are several old forts around here that have all kinds of winding tunnels and I used to love getting "lost" in them as a kid.

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