We have had a bright and adventure-filled 2017 here at Ukraїner and before welcoming 2018, it’s time to take a look back at our year in photos. Over the last twelve months, our team has embarked on six expeditions within Ukraine and traveled over 40,000 kilometers with more than ten photographers taking photos along the way. In this selection of snapshots, you will get a glimpse of the world through their lens – the moments that they captured while traveling around several historic regions in Ukraine. Polissia, Bessarabia, Sivershchyna, Podillia, Bukovyna, and the Carpathian mountains are all diverse ethnohistoric regions of Ukraine that today bear a semi-official status and span over several oblasts (provinces) each.
How do you know Ukraine, and how do you see it every day? Through these photos, we hope to help you discover new and different aspects of this country, its regions, and its people.
We accumulate many such photographs throughout the year and regularly publish them on our Instagram i Telegram-accounts.
The Malanka celebration in the village of Krasnoilsk, a few kilometers from the Romanian border. The festivities here incorporate traditions characteristic to central Europe, including a lively carnival of costumes. January 14th 2017. Photo: Serhiy Korovayny.
Men dressed up as bandits shout and celebrate at the Malanka festivities in Krasnoilsk, a village in the Bukovyna region of Ukraine. The Malanka celebration here has preserved many central-European traditions with its bright carnival of costumes and characters. January 14th, 2017. Photo: Serhiy Korovayny.
In April the Ukraїner team embarked on our fourth expedition. This time we decided to travel to northwestern Ukraine and explore Polissia, a historically rich region with very diverse landscapes. You can watch our panoramic video of Polissia from our expedition there.
Oleksandr Kozak, a schoolteacher who created “Suzirya” (“Constellation”), the much loved chess club and intellectual growth centre for youth in Kostopil village. April 9th 2017. Photo: Serhiy Korovayny. We have released a short 360 video of the chess club Suzirya.
A honey harvester in Kniazivka climbs up onto a tree. He uses a special ancient method of honey farming, or bortnytstvo, that was revived in some parts of the Polissia region in the 90s and has been kept up there since. April 9th, 2017. Photo: Serhiy Korovayny. We have released a story about bortnytstvo.
This unique narrow-gauge railway (nicknamed the Amber Way) in Ukraine’s Polissia region crosses the longest wooden railway bridge in Europe, over the river Styr. Its TY-2 engine and several coaches travel regularly between Antonivka and Zarichchia. April 10th 2017. Photo: Serhiy Korovayny. We have released a story about this railway.
A child holds onto a kitten while travelling on the Polissia Narrow-Gauge Railway. April 10th 2017. Photo: Serhiy Korovayny.
A soldier gazes out the window on the Polissia Narrow-Gauge train. April 10th 2017. Photo: Serhiy Korovayny.
A stork returns to his nest in the village of Zarichchia. April 11th 2017. Photo: Serhiy Korovayny.
Dolls and toys on display at a small grocery shop in Sernyky. April 12th 2017. Photo: Serhiy Korovayny.
A man walks down the street in Luibeshiv, a town in western Polissia. April 13th 2017. Photo: Serhiy Korovayny.
85-year old Kateryna Trush is one of the last people residing in Svalovychi, a village in Polissia. April 14th 2017. Photo: Serhiy Korovayny. We have released an incredible 360 video of Svalovychi.
A girl looks out the window of a soviet-era sedan in the village of Cherche, Kamin-Kashyrskyi district. Polissia region. April 15th 2017. Photo: Mateusz Baj.
Hanna Zelena, 90 years old, used to be a commander in the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. Skulyn village, Polissia region. April 15th 2017. Photo: Mateusz Baj.
Wooden boats left on the banks of the Shatsk Lakes. April 16th 2017. Photo: Mateusz Baj.
A carter with his horse near a railway bridge. This bridge leads across the River Styr to the Rivnе Nuclear Power Plant. April 18th 2017. Photo: Pavlo Pashko.
An old basalt quarry near the village of Bazaltove. April 19th 2017. Photo: Taras Kovalchuk.
Memorial crosses in the exclusion zone. Residents in the zone commemorate the deceased at a cemetary. April 20th 2017. Photo: Mateusz Baj.
Oleksandr Kononov, a farmer who fled the zone of conflict, takes care of the goats on his farm in Desiatyny, a village in Zhytomyr region. April 25th 2017. Photo: Taras Kovalchuk.
At a quarry in Korostyshiv, swimmers relaxing on a floating platform wave at the Ukraїner team. April 28th 2017. Photo: Oleksandr Ratushnyak.
The Ukraїner team spent May and June travelling on an expedition through the picturesque Bessarabia region that lies between two rivers – Dnistro (Dniester) and Prut. You can watch a panoramic video as well as a series of vlogs from this expedition.
Sunset over the sea. A lovely view from the lighthouse on the Shahan lagoons. May 22nd 2017. Photo: Polina Zabizhko. You can read the story behind this lighthouse and its keeper, Viktoria Sakaru, here.
Ancient crosses from the era of the Ukrainian Kozaks rest in a field on the shores of Sasyk lake. May 23rd 2017. Photo: Polina Zabizhko.
A flock of pelicans resting on the grounds of “Tuzlivski Lymany” National Park and Nature Reserve. May 23rd 2017. Photo: Pavlo Pashko.
Communist statues on display at a museum in Frumushyka-Nova. May 24th 2017. Photo: Serhiy Korovayny. . You can read more about the village of Frumushyka and how it was restored, here.
A herd of sheep grazes near a small plane. Captured from a helicopter near the village of Frumushyka-Nova. Photo: Pavlo Pashko. You can read more about the story of Frumushyka-Nova and its restoration in our article.
Captured from a helicopter, a view over this unique Memorial to a Shepherd, or Chaban, the only one of its kind in the world, in the village of Frumushyka-Nova. Photo: Pavlo Pashko. An article about Frumushyka-Nova is now available on our website.
A horse grazes on Oleksandr Palariyev’s farm in Frumushyka-Nova. May 24th 2017. Photo: Serhiy Korovayny. You can read more about Frumushyka-Nova in our article.
Our drone captures the Ukraїner expedition car travelling through a solar farm in the village of Starokozache. May 25th 2017. Photo: Pavlo Pashko. More about this in our vlog.
А view the Akkerman Fortress, in the town of Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi. Image captured by our drone. May 25th 2017. Photo: Pavlo Pashko..
Farmer and winemaker Christophe Lacarin pours a vintage at his winery in Shabo, a village in the Odesa countryside. May 30th 2017. Photo: Serhiy Korovayny.You can read more about Christophe in our article.
A shepherd with his flock in a field near Orikhivka village. May 31st 2017. Photo: Serhiy Korovayny.
Kayaks float along the Danube river. June 4th 2017. Photo: Pavlo Pashko.
An aerial drone image of Utkonosivka, a village known for cultivating a special variety of tomatoes. Most homes in the village have several greenhouses where the residents grow these tomatoes to sell. June 5th 2017. Photo: Pavlo Pashko. You can read more about Utkonosivka and its tomatoes on our website.
Water buffalo, brought here from their native Zakarpattia region, trot along a pasture near Orlivka. These buffalo were brought to areas of the Bessarabia region in order to restore local ecosystems – they function as ameliorators, eating excess bulrushes and breaking up the earth with their hooves. June 6th 2017. Photo: Oleksandr Ratushniak. You can read more about these buffalo in this article from our 2016 trip to their native Zakarpattia region.
The picturesque town of Vylkove, with numerous canals running through it. Captured from our drone. June 7th 2017. Photo: Pavlo Pashko.
Students at the sailing school in Serhiyivka carry a mast with a sail tied to it as they prepare boats for their next sailing lesson. June 10th 2017. Photo: Oleksandr Ratushnyak. You can read more about the sailing in Serhiyivka on our website.
Pelicans lift off over the waters of the Danube river, not far from “Kilometer Zero” – the place where the river meets the sea. June 9th 2017. Photo: Oleksandr Ratushnyak.
Not long after our expedition to Bessarabia, the Ukraїner team embarked on our next expedition – to Sivershchyna, a region in the northern part of Ukraine.
The old sugar plant in Parafiyivka, once built by the sugar magnate Harytonenko. June 21st 2017. Photo: Maria Petrenko.
Film producer and traveller Leonid Kanter relaxes with his son at their farm Obyrok in the Chernihiv countryside. June 23rd 2017. Photo: Maria Petrenko.
A painted Lenin bust sits in a field of daisies on Leonid Kanter’s farm Obyrok. June 23rd 2017. Photo: Maria Petrenko.
Entrepreneur and mayor Michel Tereshchenko with his wife, activist Olena Yeskina, walk among the flaxen fields near the town of Hlukhiv. He comes from a long and well-known line of Ukrainian entrepreneurs and is currently trying to revive the practice of making cloth out of flax in Ukraine. June 25th 2017. Photo: Maria Petrenko.
The Ukraïner car crosses the river on a ferry near the Mezyn National Park and Nature Reserve. Birdseye-view photo from our drone. June 26th 2017. Photo: Pavlo Pashko.
The ferryman steers the ferry across the river Desna, nearby the Mezyn National Park and Nature Reserve. June 26th 2017. Photo: Nick Zavilinskyi.
Men load a brand new wooden boat onto a trailer in Spaske, a village in the Krolevets district in Sumy. June 27th 2017. Photo: Nick Zavilinskyi.
Organist Yulia Landau rehearses a recital at one of the two organs in Slavutych, near Kyiv. June 28th 2017. Photo: Nick Zavilinskyi.
Andriy Sahaidak is the director of the Mizhrichynskyi Park. Mizhrichynskyi is the biggest regional landscape park in Ukraine. June 30th 2017. Photo: Nick Zavilinskyi.
Throughout July and August our team travelled around Podillia, a historic region in the southwestern part of Ukraine beside the Moldovan border. We also returned several months later, in October, to film the balloon festival in Kamyanets-Podilskyi , and in November we visited the village of Illintsi to do some research on the story of two communities there that joined forces and united the territories of their villages. You can watch our panoramic video of Podillia here.
Metal craftsman Valeriy Trunov with his masterpiece – a sculpture inspired by the film “Aliens”. July 20th 2017. Photo: Polina Zabizhko.
A field of sunshine near Haiove village. July 21st 2017. Photo: Polina Zabizhko.
Historian and craftsman Seraphim Lesko runs a very unique history museum in Velyka Yaromyrka. The walls and roof of his museum are panelled with recycled plastic bottles, and when you step inside there’s a glass bottle floor which he crafted himself. The museum hosts a collection of interesting and unique historic artefacts from many different eras of Ukrainian history and world history, including a collection of 2,042 newspapers from all around the world. Seraphim Lesko gives tours of his museum, telling interesting stories of Ukrainian history as well as the local history of his village, Velyka Yaromyrka. July 22nd 2017. Photo: Polina Zabizhko.
A Lenin bust on display at Serphim Lesko’s museum in Velyka Yaromyrka. July 22nd 2017. Photo: Polina Zabizhko.
A farmer retrieves piglets from his car, to sell at a market in Sataniv. July 23rd 2017. Photo: Polina Zabizhko.
Agricultural fields in the countryside, Ternopil oblast. Photo: Pavlo Pashko.
A ferry crosses the Dnister river near Ustia. July 25th 2017. Photo: Polina Zabizhko.
A view over the Dnister river as it meanders around the town of Zalishchyky, Ternopil oblast. May 26th 2017. Photo: Polina Zabizhko.
A game of “motoball” (football on motorcycles) takes place in Kamyanets-Podilskyi . July 29th 2017. Photo: Polina Zabizhko.
A motoball player during the match in Kamyanets-Podilskyi. July 29th 2017. Photo: Polina Zabizhko.
A view of the Dnister Reservoir over the flooded town of Bakota. Meteorologists claim that this location has its own unique microclimate. July 31st 2017. Photo: Oleksiy Karpovych.
Oleksiy Aloshkin is a sculptor and artist from the village of Bukatynka. August 1st 2017. Photo:Oleksiy Karpovych.
This ferry, coursing over the Dnister river nearby the town of Yampil, crosses regularly between the shores of Ukraine and Moldova. August 2nd 2017. Photo: Oleksiy Karpovych.
A family from Vilshanka, a village where the residents specialize in crafting handmade straw dusters. August 3rd 2017. Photo: Oleksiy Karpovych.
A man from Vilshanka brings dusters to sell at the weekly duster market in Savran. This very short event lasts for only half an hour, once a week. August 4th 2017. Photo: Oleksiy Karpovych.
One of the oldest synagogues in the Podillіa region can be found in the town of Bershad. August 5th 2017. Photo: Oleksiy Karpovych.
A conductor checks tickets on a coach travelling from Haivoron to Rudnytsia. August 4th 2017. Photo: Oleksiy Karpovych.
The depot of the Hayvoron-Rudnytsia Narrow-Gauge Railway, in Hayvoron. August 5th 2017. Photo: Oleksiy Karpovych.
Men prepare hot air balloons for the Kamyanets-Podilskyi balloon festival. October 7th 2017. Photo: Vasyl Salyha.
Hot air balloons sail over the fields near Kamyanets-Podilskyi, during the balloon festival. October 7th 2017. Photo: Vasyl Salyha.
A greenhouse where flowers are being grown as part of the green movement in the town of Illintsi. November 13th 2017. Photo: Vasyl Salyha.
Contrasts. A soviet star is decorated with a traditional embroidered cloth in the Parkhomivka village club. November 14th 2017. Photo: Vasyl Salyha.
Cattle stalls in the largest farmstead in Illintsi. Photo: Vasyl Salyha.
In September we embarked on our 8th expedition, heading this time to Ivano-Frankivsk, to the mystic and culturally rich The Carpathian mountains.
A home in Slavske, built by Lviv architect Oles Dzyndra, along with Eduard Pastukh and Olha Suhà. September 14th 2017. Photo: Dmytro Bartosh.
A tractor with a trailer travels alongside the Carpathian tram – a narrow-gauge train travelling around the town of Vyhodа. September 16th 2017. Photo: Dmytro Bartosh .
An acquaduct stretches over the river Prut near Vorokhta. It measures about 200 meters in length and was built at the end of the 19th century. September 19th 2017. Photo: Alina Kondratenko.
A cattle herd trots down the mountainside, heading back home for the winter to the village after a summer spent grazing on lush mountain pastures, or polonyny. September 20th 2017. Photo: Pavlo Pashko.
As the livestock are herded down to the valley for the winter, Vasyl Bovhar plays the trembita on the porch of his house in Krynta. The trembita is a traditional instrument of the Hutsul people, which apart from defining the musical soundscape of the Ukrainian Karpaty mountains has always served as a tool for the shepherds, or chabans, to communicate with each other from the mountain tops to the valleys. September 20th 2017. Photo: Alina Kondratenko.
Volodymyr Yakovenko from the village of Iltsi demonstrates his model “wavewing”, a curious flying apparatus that takes flight with a bit of manual help. September 21st 2017. Photo: Alina Kondratenko.
A newly built road winds its way into the town of Turka. Photo taken from a quadricopter. September 20th 2017. Photo: Pavlo Pashko.
A Bhuddist monk meditates on the peak of a mountain near the village of Kryvopillia. September 21st 2017. Photo: Alina Kondratenko.
In the village of Verkhovyna, this bride’s family helps her get ready for her wedding ceremony. September 24th 2017. Photo: Alina Kondratenko.
The bridal couple is led to their wedding ceremony in Verkhovyna. September 24th 2017. Photo: Alina Kondratenko.
Before the wedding ceremony in Verkhovyna commences, the groom is lifted along with his saddle and carried to the banquet hall. September 24th 2017. Photo: Alina Kondratenko.
Acclaimed artist Natalia Kishchuk from Yavoriv coaches her daughter in the art of spinning thread from sheep’s wool. The village of Yavoriv is known for having preserved its unique trade of weaving woolen blankets, or lizhnyky, a central element of the local heritage. The skill of weaving lizhnyky has been passed on for generations here. September 26th 2017. Photo: Nick Zavilinskyi.
On the Sokil crest, Vasyl herds his sheep. September 27th 2017. Photo: Nick Zavilinskyi.
A portrait of Vasyl, the shepherd from Sokil. Throughout the year he herds a flock of fifty sheep, with another two hundred brought to his care up from the village each summer. September 27th 2017. Photo: Nick Zavilinskyi.
Ivan Dzvinchuk is a prolific maker of tsymbals, an ancient string instrument that has become of staple of traditional music in the Karpaty mountains. In this photo Ivan and his son Mykhailo play tsymbals that they crafted themselves in their garden, in the village of Kosmach. September 28th 2017. Photo: Nick Zavilinskyi.
Seasoned motorcycle technic Vasyl Kuryshchuk in the workshop at his museum in Kosiv. Vasyl is the owner of Kosiv’s motorcycle museum and motoclub. October 1st 2017. Photo: Nick Zavilinskyi.
Kosmatch resident Bohdan Petrychuk specializes in and collects antique vyshyvankas. The vyshyvanka is a fundamental element of Ukrainian folklore and the timeless centerpiece of traditional dress in every community within the country as well as the diaspora. Every region and every individual village in Ukraine has developed over centuries its own unique variations of the vyshyvanka with different meanings assigned to each pattern. The passion of specialists and collectors of vyshyvankas is to decipher the language of this embroidered cloth. October 2nd 2017. Photo: Nick Zavilinskyi.
The second half of Ukraїner’s 8th expedition saw the team travel onwards through the Carpathian mountains to the Bukovyna region in October 2017. The last photos in this series were taken in December of that year, when we returned to Bukovyna in order to film an episode about the unique connection between two communities – the villages of Mykhailivka and Chervona Dibrova.
A panorama over the Pamir Radar station in the Bukovynian Karpaty (Carpathian) mountains. October 2nd, 2017. Photo: Pavlo Pashko.
Inside one of the Pamir Radar cupolas, on mt. Tomnatyk near the Romanian border. October 2nd 2017. Photo: Vasyl Salyha.
In thіs studio in Vashkivtsi, artists create traditional masks, preparing months in advance for the old Bukovynian New Year’s celebration, or Malanka, that will take place in their village in January. October 3rd 2017. Photo: Vasyl Salyha.
In his workshop, master luthier (violin maker) Volodymyr Solodzhuk demonstrates the finesse of the process that goes into making a good instrument. Chernivtsi. October 6th 2017. Photo: Vasyl Salyha.
A man of pagan faith walks by the Uspensky cathedral in the village of Bila Krynytsia, in Bukovyna. Bila Krynytsia is considered the centre of the old testament church and the holy land of all pagans. October 8th 2017. Photo: Vasyl Salyha.
At a mask studio in Krasnoilsk. These artists make masks for the Romanian Malanka New Year’s celebration. October 9th 2017. Photo: Vasyl Salyha.
An 83-year-old Hrushivka resident and museum curator rides around his native village on a 1949 IZ-49. With him is his friend who was his classmate back in the day. October 10th 2017. Photo: Vasyl Salyha..
Beekeeper Mykhailo Balovsyak stands near the beehives in the grove behind his house. Mykhailivka, a village in the Hlybotskiy county of Chernivtsi region, Bukovyna. December 3rd 2017. Photo: Vasyl Salyha.
Oleksiy Mykytiuk, a shepherd from the village of Mykhailivka in the Bukovyna region, carries straw for his sheep. December 3rd 2017. Photo: Vasyl Salyha.
Snow-laden Chervona Dibrovska Sich – a spiritual centre and sports complex for children and youth in Chervona Dibrova, a village in the Hlyboka disrtict of Chernivtsi region. December 4th 2017. Photo: Vasyl Salyha.
A Bukovynian winter scene – sunset over Mykhailivka, a village in the Chernivtsi countryside. December 4th 2017. Photo: Vasyl Salyha.