hidden europe

Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

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Magazine article

Visa News

A chance to visit Belarus without a visa, and a tweak to the visa regulations in the Russian port of Murmansk are just two of the latest changes to visa regimes in ...
Looking west from Frankfurter Tor along Karl-Marx-Allee, Berlin. The two ceremonial towers were designed by Hermann Henselmann, who also did the initial design concept for the Alexanderplatz TV Tower in the distance (photo © Sergey Kohl /dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Understanding the socialist city
  

Progressive socialist designs for homes and cities are no longer in fashion. Yet Europe's streetscapes still attest to the grand schemes of yesteryear, when architects and planners envisaged a society that stood opposed to capitalism. We go in ...
Moscow Belorussky railway station, the starting point for the direct service from Moscow to Sofia which connects seven capital cities. The new service launches on 13 December 2015 (photo © Victoria Demidova / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

New train services for 2016

  • 3 Dec 2015
New railway timetables kick in across much of Europe on Sunday 13 December - so here's a summary of interesting changes which we've noted in the new schedules. They include a useful new direct link from Moscow to Sofia - a journey which connects ...
Letter from Europe

A grand tour of Europe

  • 11 Mar 2015
A new issue of hidden europe is published tomorrow. Not just any issue of hidden europe, but one which marks our tenth birthday. Yes, it was way back in March 2005 that we published the first-ever issue of the magazine. For ten years, we have been ...
The world clock on Berlin’s Alexanderplatz (photo © Patrick Poendl / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Timing matters
  

Russia's decision this year to abandon seasonal changes of clocks has prompted much media comment. Belarus has followed Russia's example. Ukraine, after much prevarication, has opted to stick with alternating winter and summer time. In this short ...
hidden europe note

Rail update: Russia, Ukraine and Belarus

  • 4 May 2011
New rail timetables for the former Soviet Union come into effect later this month. There remains some uncertainty about some services, but for travellers heading east, here are a few thoughts on what to expect: the return of the Berlin to ...
Magazine article

So what really needs correcting here?
  

When Nigel Roberts returned this year to Vetka, the small town in Belarus upon which he reported for hidden europe in 2009, he encountered another side of Vetka life. Nigel takes us behind the scenes at the town's 'correction centre' for ...
Letter from Europe

Border markers

  • 11 Nov 2010
We sensed we were crossing into another world as the Moscow-bound train rumbled over the long bridge that spans the River Bug. The reed beds are full of wildfowl which are not troubled by the frequent trains that rattle overhead. This is the border ...
hidden europe note

Culture capitals

  • 21 Mar 2010
We have been taking a look at which cities around Europe have enjoyed capital of culture status. Including this year's trio of cities that hold the title, there have thus far been over forty cities which have received the European ...
Letter from Europe

Day of German Unity

  • 3 Oct 2009
It is a holiday here in Berlin today - and indeed throughout Germany. It is the Day of German Unity, a public holiday on 3 October each year that recalls the unification of the two German States in October 1990. It is unsurprisingly a day that ...
Magazine article

A matter of letters: Belarusian

The complex story of the Belarusian language and its flexible deployment of three different alphabets deserves to the better known. Early Belarusian texts in the Arabic script (called kitabs) are a remarkable part of Europe's cultural ...
Magazine article

Belarus: the making of Vitebsk

Tumbling off the train and riding the trolleybus over to the other side of the river is a fine introduction to Vitebsk. The Belarusian city is precise and orderly: Swiss efficiency colliding with Soviet style. And at the annual Slavianski Bazaar, ...
Letter from Europe

Triglav (Slovenia) - the Danish Everest

  • 11 Aug 2009
It is that time of year when Slovenes take to the hills. It is perfectly possible to be Scottish and never climb Ben Nevis, just as it is easy to be German without ever having set foot on the Zugspitze - that is the mountain straddling the border ...
Letter from Europe

Vitebsk (Belarus)

  • 13 Jul 2009
Every year since 1992, the city of Vitebsk in Belarus has hosted an extravagant festival of music, art and culture known as the Slavianski Bazaar. The old centre of Vitebsk has been handsomely restored, and the city on the banks of the Western ...
Magazine article

Peace parks

International peace parks that seek to promote conservation across national boundaries while also encouraging cooperation across borders, are becoming increasingly common. Bringing projects like the current plan for a Balkans Peace Park to fruition ...
Magazine article

Belarus: a new Bradt Guide
  

Nigel Roberts' new guidebook to Belarus, just published by Bradt Travel Guides, is authoritative and insightful. We review the first ever English language guide for travellers visiting Europe's least known ...
Magazine article

Belarus: Tanya's Story
  

Vetka is a small town in the southeast corner of Belarus. This community and the surrounding landscape of lakes and forests were terribly affected by the nuclear catastrophe at Chernobyl in 1986. Nigel Roberts, a first-time contributor to hidden ...
Letter from Europe

Grodna (Belarus)

  • 19 Apr 2007
One of the places we report from in the May issue of the magazine is Grodna in Belarus - a remarkable place where a hundred years ago the streets echoed to the sounds of Yiddish voices. Today the old synagogue sits rather forlornly on a bluff ...
Letter from Europe

Lost communities: France, Russia and more

  • 27 Jul 2006
Many are the European communities that have been lost to warfare, natural disasters or other agencies. The old town of Tocco Caudio in southern Italy was abandoned after an earthquake in the 1980s, as was Poggioreale in western Sicily a few years ...
Letter from Europe

Contrasts in Belarus

  • 16 May 2006
Grodno, a historic religious and trading centre that sits comfortably on the bluffs above the Neman river. The onetime Jewish population, which one hundred years ago numbered sixty per cent of the population, was the victim of Nazi purges. An empty ...
Letter from Europe

Kosovo connections - Transdniestr

  • 20 Mar 2006
Western European observers of the east of our continent have had their eyes trained on Serbia and Belarus this past weekend. The Milosevic funeral in Pozarevac, a small city on the Danube plain seventy kilometres east of Belgrade, became a rallying ...
Letter from Europe

Ny-Ålesund (Spitsbergen) - Sealand update

  • 27 Apr 2005
Spring may have eclipsed winter here at hidden europes Berlin home, but elsewhere across our continent conditions are very different. Across a large part of inland southern Spain this afternoon, temperatures topped 30ºC, yet this morning at ...