Maidan Square in the heart of Kiev has been home to four major political movements/protests in less than 25 years. Maidan Square (formally known as Maidan Nezalezhnosti translates to Independence Square) dates back to the 1830s when some simple wooden structures appeared. Development accelerated in the mid-19th century when it became the commercial center of Kiev with local markets.
Upon Ukraine’s independence in 1991 from the Soviet Union, it gained its current name of Independence Square. The square entered the world’s collective consciousness during the massive and inspirational protests of 2004-5, which were known as the Orange Revolution. Estimates as high as one million protestors gathered in the square. The results of the protest ushered in pro-Western President, Viktor Yushchenko.
Another series of protests lasted from 2013-2014, known as EuroMaidan. The result was the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych, who was previously ousted in the Orange Revolution of 2005. Over 100 protestors were killed during these protests with estimates of up to 800,000 people protesting. You can witness the destruction and bedlam of these protests with this video drone footage.
Today, Maidan Square has been cleaned and repaired. And in many ways it has returned to its formal role as a meeting place for many Ukrainians. Hotel Ukraine lords over the square as well as many office buildings, the central post office, and several restaurants.
A 150 foot monument anchors the Square. The monument replaced a Lenin statue in 2001 and now sports the Slavic goddess named Berehynia holding a snowball tree branch. Many fountains dot the Square, unfortunately none of them are functioning. The metro runs below he square with a collection of kiosks serving as a subterranean mall. Maidan Square is an excellent place to grab an ice cream cone or stop for coffee at one of the mobile coffee vans. Friends mill about and lovers surreptitiously cuddle and kiss.
While in many ways the Square has reverted to its formal role, in many was it hasn’t. Today, it serves as a living shrine to the victims of the protest.
On the side of this building, the patriotic saying is emblazoned on its walls. “Glory To Ukraine! Glory To The Heroes!” is broadcasted across the side of this large building in Maidan Square. This became a popular refrain during the protests of EuroMaidan. And even today, some are using it as a greeting.
Many make shift shrines populate the Square including pictures, flowers, and candles.
The world’s largest flower clock was installed in 2009 and is adjacent to additional shrines.
President Vladimir Putin is not admired in these parts of the world.
The poster states below: “The (Ukrainian) army rescues, defends, assists”.