I have already mentioned in my stories many romantic places in Ukraine. I wrote about ancient castles, majestic canyons, and wide rivers, islands and old towns. Today, I want to share with you one beautiful place that is a true symbol of love and romance in Ukraine. What do you imagine when you hear - a romantic place? Is it a deserted beach or a beautiful park? Maybe it is a table in some calm restaurant or viewing deck overlooking the city, isn’t it? What if I tell you that an old tunnel can also be the most romantic place on Earth? In Western Ukraine, you have the opportunity to see a true treasure for lovers. This place was created in harmonious cooperation by men and nature - it's called the Tunnel of Love. It's hidden in the woods of the village of Klevan, Rivne Region. Today, I will tell you about a love legend and a Japanese movie that intertwine in this amazing place.
The romantic place means nothing without a good background story. The Tunnel of Love has its own legend about forbidden love. This story takes us back to the early 20th century. Our hero is a young Polish engineer. He came to Orzhel city for construction works of the new railway. There, at the railway station, he met her, a beautiful Ukrainian girl. And so, it began. Sleepless nights, search for an opportunity to meet, dating, secret correspondence. In short - the perks of love! Like every other romantic story, this one too has its dramatic part. The girl's parents were against the relationship, as she was an Orthodox Ukrainian, while he was a Catholic. There were difficult times. To see her occasionally, he rode his bicycle in the evenings to Klevan. The road was inconvenient and lengthy, either on a field circuit road through the forest or along a railway track. But the man managed to find a brilliant solution!
At that time, the construction of the railway that was supposed to connect the village of Klevan with the neighboring village of Orzhev was only planned. Building a railway in this area was not an easy task, as it required the demolition of many houses and the widening of the road. But the brilliant idea came to the mind of a young Polish engineer who proposed to lay the railway directly through the forest. The owners of the project at the time did not realize that for the engineer, it was simply the shortest route to a beloved girl who lived in Klevan. Their love story is a real Shakespearean drama where young people could not be together because of different religions. The new road was straight “like an arrow’’ and lovers were able to send each other signals with the help of flashlights and see each other more often. But, later life separated them again, paving man's way back to Poland, and woman's to the heart of another person. Everyone is said to have lived a happy life, remembering the emotional story of their youth.
In fact, the engineers hid the railway from prying eyes intentionally. There were military bases in the nearby villages, which is why they resorted to getting a camouflage, building the railway through the forest. As time went on, the military bases faded to the background. People stopped pruning trees around the track, allowing nature to manage the forest itself. Year after year, it paved the way for the branches until a real living cave of incredible beauty was formed. This marvel of nature extends to the section of railway that leads from the village of Klevan to the village of Orzhiv for about 4 kilometers. The trees would continue to grow, weaving together the branches even closer together, if they were not interrupted by an occasional train that runs to a local factory. These trips are not regular and, as the locals tell, the train travels as needed. Sometimes this is once every few days, and sometimes it goes up to 5 times a day. Therefore, every visitor of the tunnel may be lucky to see an old train moving through this fabulous green tunnel.
The frequent visitors of the Tunnel of Love are tourists from Japan. It is not a joke. The reason for this international popularity of the tunnel is that it was featured in a movie by Japanese filmmaker Akiyoshi Imazeki at the Hanoi International Film Festival in 2014. Today, the Tunnel of Love in Klevan is one of the most popular places that lovers visit. Here, they make romantic photoshoots at any time of the year, shoot ads, and even music videos. Locals also say that the place has incredible energy. Everyone who does not have a partner should make a wish to find true love while standing in the tunnel. And all who have already found their other half - should make a wish to live in love all their lives. This is the story of a place famous for a peculiar love legend, filled with the spirit of romance and described in a Japanese movie. After all, maybe you will find your love here as well... Who knows?
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