When you think about Ukraine nowadays, you’re probably thinking about popular demonstrations and Russian military intervention. But lost in the turmoil of headlines are the many corners of Ukraine whose quiet, peaceful beauty make it a truly powerful place to explore. One place in particular should be a destination in everyone’s Top Ten. The small settlement of Klevan was founded on the Stubla River in western Ukraine. With a rich history dating back to the 12th century, this quaint and charming place has a population of less than 10,000. Klevan and the surrounding areas are picturesque from every angle. Castle ruins, dense forests, and of course, the gentle Stubla, which meanders through the countryside. But perhaps unexpectedly, the real draw here is a short railway less than two miles long, which connects Klevan to the nearby Orzhevsk Woodworking Plant. A train cuts through the dense forest carrying supplies to and from the plant, but not very often. As a result, a miraculous phenomenon has developed. The branches of the surrounding trees have grown around the path of the track and have connected overhead to create an arched canopy. These interwoven branches and vegetation have become the walls and ceiling of what has transformed into a naturally formed train tunnel. The effect is stunningly beautiful, like something out of a fairy tale. The effect is even more stunning when the seasonal leaves change color, from bright, vibrant greens during springtime to autumnal oranges and browns. And in the winter, heavy snowfall transforms the tunnel into a white wonderland. This work of nature is also a magical place for couples, apparently. Local legend has it that couples who walk through this tunnel are to receive great blessings, or possibly even have their wishes come true. The verdict is still out on the tunnel’s magical and romantic powers, but it’s certainly a place worth visiting for its simple, natural beauty. (Image credit: "Тунель кохання, вхід" by serhei / CC BY 3.0)
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