In the Tunnel of Love
When speaking of Ukraine most people immediately think of war, poverty and social problems. – The more I was intrigued when I looked up lists on the internet of the most romantic destinations in the world and always found a place in Ukraine on top: the Tunnel of Love. With the intent of investigating this internet hype I went there for a month in June 2017 together with my partner and journalist Christine.
The idyllic Tunnel of Love, a 4 km long arched canopy in northwestern Ukraine between the villages of Klevan and Orzhiv, was created in a joint collaboration with nature and man. After a wood factory was founded in Orzhiv in 1870, a single-track railway connection was built through the dense forest to Klevan’s main railway station, where timber continues to be reloaded and transported away to different countries. Depending on the schedule, a loaded train puffs through the forest at a leisurely pace several times daily, from the wood factory to the railway station and back again when empty. Often enough to gently force the branches of the trees along the track into an arch shape, rare enough to allow romantic couples and curious strollers to take long walks on the tracks and enjoy nature in an otherwise untouched state, a sort of fairytale world.
But even such a peaceful place cannot keep reality out: a Ukrainian military base, where defective tanks and weapons are repaired and made ready for use again, is hidden deep in the forest. The station has also been using the Tunnel of Love for a long time to protect her freightage from prying eyes. Some locals even claim that the tunnel has been well preserved only because of military interests.
A book about the Tunnel and its contradictory history, its people and the sometimes funny side of romance will be published soon.
Link to the first chapter of our book (a reportage):
Reportage photos: © Marco Ristuccia
Reportage text: © Christine Roth