Maydan Nezalezhnosti

sights / Squares & plazas

Maydan Nezalezhnosti information

Kyiv , Ukraine
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Metro: Maydan Nezalezhnosti
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Independent Ukraine has a short history and pretty much all of it was written here. Popularly known as Maydan (pronounced 'my -dun'), the square was the site of pro-independence protests in the 1990s, when nationalist students pitched tents here for the first time, copying China's Tiananmen protesters. During the Orange Revolution of 2004, this vast fountain-filled space flanked by Stalin-era buildings was transformed into a huge tent camp and the scene of a never-ending rally.

But all of that was eclipsed by the Euromaidan protests in the winter of 2013–14, when the square turned into the camp of an urban guerrilla army with massive camouflage tents, soup kitchens, stacks of firewood and tires to burn if the police goes on the offensive.

The protest started under the Independence Column topped with a kitschy winged female statue. This is also the site of the first brutal dispersal of protesters. The Euromaidan headquarters was located in the House of Trade Unions , which burned down at the height of the clashes in February 2014. Artists have sprinkled its charred shell with pink dots to make it look less depressing.

The camp was still very much there at the time of writing. Some of the inhabitants are wary of visitors and especially of photographers. They are rough people who have been through hell, so if they are still around when you visit, don't act silly.