Lonely Planet Writer

Photographer shares origins of Ukraine's mysterious and beautiful Tunnel of Love

A photographer has shared stunning images featuring the lush green arches of the famous Tunnel of Love railway track in Klevan, Ukraine.

The unique Tunnel of Love in Ukraine has become a popular destination for tourists in recent years due to its natural beauty
The unique Tunnel of Love in Ukraine has become a popular destination for tourists in recent years due to its natural beauty Image by Amos Chapple/Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Local couple Anton Kozachuk and Nastya Guz walk through the Tunnel of Love near the town of Klevan, east Ukraine.
Local couple Anton Kozachuk and Nastya Guz walk through the Tunnel of Love near the town of Klevan, east Ukraine. Image by Amos Chapple/Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Taken by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty photographer Amos Chapple, the images showcase the beauty of the increasingly popular tourist site, that features a natural tunnel of trees arching over the trains that pass through. Stretching for approximately four kilometres, the tree lined section of the track is part of a route that is still used today, with trains transporting plywood panels from a factory nearby passing through three times a day.

Mykola Havrylevych, one of the train drivers on the route transporting plywood from the factory nearby.
Mykola Havrylevych, one of the train drivers on the route transporting plywood from the factory nearby. Image by Amos Chapple/Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Tourists takes photos of the picturesque track and trees.
Tourists takes photos of the picturesque track and trees. Image by Amos Chapple/Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

The stretch of track has become extremely popular with tourists, especially couples that come from all over the world to take photographs and walk the route. Legend has it the track even grants wishes to love-struck visitors. As an active train track, visiting the Tunnel of Love requires travellers to be smart and safe, but so far no authorities have issued rules against it. “It’s one of those places where you see the pictures and don’t quite believe what you’re seeing. No one has come along with red tape and determined it’s against some kind of regulation. People love it and it’s so beautiful that it’s allowed to stay the way it is,” Amos told Lonely Planet News.

The railway line looks like others for the first few hundred metres, before a natural arch of trees can be seen overhead.
The railway line looks like others for the first few hundred metres, before a natural arch of trees can be seen overhead. Image by Amos Chapple/Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Halyna Savchyn enjoys a photoshoot in the unique surroundings of the Tunnel of Love.
Halyna Savchyn enjoys a photoshoot in the unique surroundings of the Tunnel of Love, Ukraine. Image by Amos Chapple/Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

According to Amos, local sources say the reason for the distinct look of the section of railway is actually founded in history. Near the factory, the line splits into two sections, with the left side running to a military base hidden in the forest. It has been suggested that trees were purposefully planted during the Cold War era to add an extra layer of privacy to transportation in the area.

A train coming down the Tunnel of Love Ukraine.
A train coming down the Tunnel of Love. Image by Amos Chapple/Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
The track splits at one point, with one section leading to a military base.
The track splits at one point, with one section leading to a military base. Image by Amos Chapple/Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

The site has seen a rise in interest from tourists, which Amos says is a recently new development. “The first time I went, I remember waiting several hours until a couple walked through the tunnel. Today though, the tunnel is very popular. Locals have put up little handmade signs directing people to the tunnel and an old woman sells fridge magnets and postcards next to the entry. A word of advice though – there is a swamp near the tunnel and in the middle of summer the tunnel is full of mosquitos, so go prepared!” Amos said.

An intersection of the track used by the factory.
An intersection of the track used by the factory. Image by Amos Chapple/Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
A train used for transporting plywood from the factory nearby.
A train used for transporting plywood from the factory nearby. Image by Amos Chapple/Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

As an experienced travel photographer, so far Amos has passed through over 70 countries documenting a range of different destinations, landscapes and ways of life. “I’m off to a monastery on an isolated mountain top in Russia soon. I’m looking forward to seeing the first snows on Russia’s most beautiful Buddhist temple,” Amos said.

More of Amos’ work is available on his website.