We live in Kiev, only 300 kilometres from Uman and can easily get to Sofievka park by car, bus or train… As we heard a lot of exalted stories about Uman park, we decided to go there by car early in the morning and see the park ourselves. Uman is located on Kiev-Odessa road, which is a good quality for Ukraine. The way to Uman took us about 3,5 hours and then we parked near Sofievka park, bought tickets and passed the entrance which led to the rose-garden. I was astonished by beautiful blossoming roses of many kinds and their bright colors. It was still morning, there were not many people in the park and we could walk among the roses almost alone, smell them and enjoy their beauty. The photographer would spend there much time taking pictures!
I knew only that Uman park was built by Count Stanislav Pototskiy as a romantic gift for his wife Sofia and bears her name. Then I also learned that Sofia told her future husband about some beautiful park she saw and thus inspired him to make a miracle for her. She was Greek by origin and an outstanding beauty, when she went to the Emperor’s court, people climbed on chairs just to see her. Sofia somehow managed to have friendly relations with kings, earls and emperors of powerful states. After marriage with Stanislav Pototskiy they lived in Uman since 1798.
Soon Stanislav decided to make a fairy tale Sofievka park in Uman to please his young wife. The parks trees, large stones, fantastic grottoes, waterfalls, lakes, antique statues and picturesque cliffs were designed as a romantic gift of love. A lot of trees were brought from exotic countries, the park was decorated by amazing statues, vases, obelisks. A real miraculous park appeared only in a few years. When Sofia’s birthday came, her husband made enchanting celebrations with fireworks and presented her the park. Sofia was greatly delighted with the gift.
As we walked the parks roads, we came to a beautiful lake where there were many hungry grey and reddish fish. When you throw a small piece of bread into the lake, suddenly a large mouth appears from underwater and grasps it silently :). Then we saw the main entrance to the park which was decorated by two stone guard towers with a crown symbolizing ancient Roman goddess of household and fire called Vesta. There is a legend that if newly weds pass under the Vesta crown in Uman Park, they will live a happy life together, that’s why a lot of couples come to this park :). We met several newly-wed couples who took pictures with their friends and relatives.
The we passed a few wonderful waterfalls, Thunder grotto and Venus grotto and went to the Upper lake with boats and artificial Island of Love with Rose pavilion. Here you can make a trip on a large boat in total silence and see underwater river, leading to the Dead Sea. There was a large queue to the boat, so we just bought the apricots ice-cream and walked along the lake shore enjoying singing of birds and views. We also saw the map of Uman Park and were curious to see Chinese pavilion.
On the way to pavilion we stopped to have some rest at a beautiful lane under large trees. We had fun there climbing up the trees and lying on green grass. Then suddenly it began raining and we run to small picturesque summerhouse, which turned out to be the Chinese pavilion. After the rain we continued our walk and got into a “garden of dwarf plants” where I saw decorative wild strawberries, small yellow flowers, small plants with beautiful leaves… I had the impression that I had seen that place before in my dreams
It was time to go back and we went to our car… When we drove out of Uman, thunderstorm began and on the road back to Kiev we saw an amazing rainbow over the field.