hidden europe 28

Ukraine: Askania-Nova

by hidden europe

Picture above: Wild horses at Askania-Nova nature reserve in Ukraine (photo © Ivan Tykhyi / dreamstime.com).


A nineteenth-century nature reserve on the dry steppes of southern Ukraine was a pioneering example of early nature conservation in Europe. The feathery grasses still dance to the local winds at Askania-Nova.

It will be another few weeks before the steppes change to silvery grey. Late summer slipping into autumn shapes the rainbow shades of the dry grasslands of southern Ukraine. Featherlike, the grasses wave in the September sunshine, the flatlands drifting into infinity. Horizons without end. From Chaplynka to Chkalove, from Sofiivka to Serhiivka, there is poetry in the wind as it sweeps over the steppes.

Dry country, parched and thirsty in the summer heat. The roads that lead to Askania-Nova are breathless and dusty. A region that is not quite Black Sea, not quite Crimea, not quite anywhere.

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