While many parks around Ukraine have been around for centuries, Forged Figures Park in the city of Donetsk came into existence much more recently in 2001.
Viktor Burduk, director of the Ukrainian Handcrafted Wrought Iron and Forge Company Hefest, envisioned a beautiful park where artists and blacksmiths could get together, display their works, and participate in festivals.
The very first installment was a wrought iron bouquet of roses, the symbol of the city. Each year, more and more sculptures crafted by local Ukrainian blacksmiths were added. Festivals, such as Roses of Donetsk, started up with blacksmiths participating in master classes and shows, much to the delight of local visitors and tourists.
In 2004, the wrought iron festivals became more popular and craftsmen from all over the world wanted to contribute. The number of sculptures steadily increased and themed displays were created, such as The Signs of the Zodiac, The Alley of Fairy Tales, and The Alley of Arks.
A large festival was held in 2008 to construct The Rings Alley, which consists of several wrought iron rings and benches surrounding one giant ring which reads “The Ring of European Cities with Iron Works.” A bridge allows visitors to walk through the ring, which is a common practice by newlyweds to ensure a long and happy marriage, thus giving this location the nickname “Park of Brides”. Thousands of couples choose to hold wedding ceremonies here each year, especially in the Sweethearts Pavilion.
Photos: Wikimedia Commons, Donetsk City Guide