Located in the Ukrainian resort city of Yalta, the Glade of Fairy Tales is an open air museum full of hand-carved totems inspired by traditional folktales and stories, well living up to its whimsical name.
Founded in 1960 by woodcarver and artist Pavel Bezrukov, the Glade of Fairy Tales has grown in popularity to become one of Yalta’s premier attractions. After having been kicked off by Bezrukov, the project continued to grow and now contains works by dozens of different artists. The styles range widely from the brutally totemic depiction of knights to 3D renderings of Disney’s Seven Dwarves. The only connecting element is that they all represent fairy tales or folk tales, most of which are uniquely culturally specific.
Other figures in the park include Baba Yaga and her chicken-legged house, the mythical Russian folk hero Svyatogor, Teremok the magical house-in-the-woods, and dozens of other pagan gods and legendary creatures. Throughout the popular park there are over 300 different carvings. Some are brightly painted, while others have been left unvarnished, but all of them seem pretty magical.
To Western eyes, many Russian folk tales are seem a bit dark or strange, and even in the Glade, they can still seem a bit foreboding. But placing them in an actual enchanted garden helps to bring out some of the magic.