Monday, April 9, 2018

1960s pocket travel guide for Kiev

Mr. Bill helps to showcase Kiev Travel Guide.

Kiev Travel Guide, which measures a pocket-sized 4¼ inches by 6½ inches, was written/edited by Leonid Daen, Pavel Poznyak and Mark Cherp. It was published by the Novosti Press Agency Publishing House. Novosti was the Soviet Union's (and then Russia's) international news agency from 1941 (when it started as Sovinformburo) until 2013, when Russian President Vladimir Putin closed the agency and merged its assets into a separate state-owned and state-operated news agency. Novosti's publishing house issued more than 200 books and booklets with a total annual circulation of 20 million copies, according to Wikipedia.

According to WorldCat Identities, there were eight editions of this guide published between 1963 and 1971. I don't know for sure which edition I have, but there is a "63" on the last page and there don't appear to be any references that are later than the early 1960s. Ukraine was, of course, a Republic of the Soviet Union from 1922 through 1991, so this guide to Kiev — which is clearly aimed at Western tourists and their wallets — must be viewed through the filters of the USSR and the Cold War.

With that context in mind, here are some page scans and nuggets of information from Kiev Travel Guide, a fascinating glimpse into another time and place...

  • The Capital of the Soviet Ukraine: "Along the beautiful banks of the Dnieper lies the ancient city of Kiev — the capital of the Soviet Ukraine, its political, administrative, cultural and scientific centre. ... The Ukraine has some of the most beautiful and diverse scenery: primeval forests and boundless steppes, lofty mountain ranges and luscious green valleys, silvery rivers and blue sea. No traveller can fail to be captivated by its charms. The Ukraine is rich in various coals, oil and natural gas, iron and manganese ores, rock-salt and potassium, titanium, nickel, granite, marble, graphite, gypsum, basalt, ozokerite, and many other valuable ores and minerals."
  • Years of Peaceful Construction and Kiev's Growing Prosperity: "Many Soviet towns helped in the post-war reconstruction of Kiev. They sent in equipment, building and raw materials, workers and engineers. Within four-five years the city had rebuilt all of its factories, scientific, educational and cultural establishments and homes. New blocks of flats went up all over the city."
  • Miscellany
    • "Non-stop flights from Kiev service 110 destinations."
    • "Trolley-buses, trams, buses, the metro, the funicular railway and taxis carry 2,300,000 passengers."
    • "Kiev has 1,330 libraries with a total of 35,000,000 books."
    • "Five hundred citizens of Kiev have reached the age of one hundred. Several inhabitants are even older."
    • "Every day 2,000 postmen deliver more than half a million newspapers and magazines to subscribers."
    • "Every two seconds a pair of shoes comes off the conveyor belt of Kiev's largest shoe factory."
  • TV Centre: "The Kiev TV Centre is one of the most powerful in the country. TV programmes are transmitted to almost all the regions of the Ukraine. Its programmes deal with nature and science, the daily lives of the Soviet people at work and play."
  • The Arcade: "On the corner of Karl Marx Street and Kreshchatik is the Arcade, built on the eve of the First World War by P. Andreyev. ... The two parallel buildings of the Arcade, that are perpendicular to the main thoroughfare, house a number of special shops for children: 'Oksana,' 'Ivasik,' 'Red Riding Hood,' 'Toys.'"
  • Askold's Grave: "High above the Dnieper, not far from Sovietsky Park, is an ancient monument to Prince Askold. According to legend, two Kiev Princes, Askold and Dir, were murdered by Prince Oleg of Novgorod during his seizure of Kiev in 882. Askold was supposed to have been buried on the Dnieper heights. A wooden church was built to mark the event. ... Further on, in the heart of Pechersk, is a monument to the defenders of the Kiev Arsenal. The bullet-ridden walls of the Arsenal remind one of the grim days of the revolution, and the fierce battle fought by the workers in defence of the Soviet power."
  • Ukrainian Dishes: "In Kiev restaurants you will have an opportunity of trying Ukrainian red borshch, a savoury soup of finely sliced beet root, cabbage and other vegetables set off with onions fried in lard. It is always served with thick sour cream. Also very tasty is chicken Kiev — chicken rissoles fried in dough rolled in bread-crumbs. Of the many hors d'oeuvres a good choice is cold pork, usually served with side dishes of vegetables. Coming to the sweets we would recommend vareniki (cherry dumplings), an old Ukrainian dish. They are delicious, especially when served with cream."
  • The Goloseyevsky Forest-Park: "The nearest forest area is the Goloseyevsky forest-park, named in honour of the well-known Ukrainian poet, Academician Maxim Rilsky. ... Hundreds of years ago this was part of a huge forest that encircled Kiev. Even today the park is full of age-old oaks, hornbeams and lindens As the town grew it gradually reached the forest area. Today the forest-park is completely surrounded by new housing estates."

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