It is believed that there are only three things that make people happy – interesting work, love and travel. Therefore, it is not surprising that millions of people, attracted by the most beautiful feeling, travel around the world with the aim to see the places where, it seems, even the air is permeated with the aura of love. There are plenty of such well-known and immensely popular places, like the majestic Taj Mahal, lovely Verona with Juliet’s house or the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris. However, if you have already travelled through the city of Shakespearean characters and admired the views of Paris, but still long for romance and a lot of positive emotions, you should stray a bit away from the path of typically advertised tourist sites and you will surely find something special.
For example, there is a beautiful picture frequently encountered on the Internet and familiar to many people – a little green tunnel of entwined tree branches, leading off into the distance, where a dim light of a coming locomotive begins to shine. Sometimes, green shades in the picture are replaced by autumn leaves or snow-covered motives. Nevertheless, every time, regardless of the time of year, the image of this place is like a magnet that attracts and fascinates with its special aura. As a result, you immediately want to be there and walk on the rails laid through this natural labyrinth. This amazing place is called the Tunnel of Love and it is located in the north-west part of Ukraine.
The small Ukrainian village of Klevan had never dreamed of world fame. A relatively small local population had always led a normal life and was only proud of the fact that the village is located in close proximity to the famous city of Rivne. However, it happened that for decades a little freight train shuttled through Klevan daily carrying material to the wood processing plant and back. It went along the narrow-gauge railway, laid through the woods. Over time, vegetation has become closer and closer to the rail tracks, even to such an extent that sometimes the train on its way touched the nearby trees and pruned their branches. The trees reached for the sun and grew higher and higher, and one fine day their long branches from opposite sides of the railway became entangled with each other at the top just where the train did not reach. So at the end of the 20th century a green corridor of entwined trees and shrubs has appeared, which later at the beginning of the 21st century became known as the Tunnel of Love.
It is quite difficult to explain why the tunnel is associated with love. Locals tell different kind of stories and legends, so it is almost impossible to understand where the line between truth and fiction is – you should just choose the version you like most. Someone tells the tale of a girl and a young man living in different parts of the village, who ran away to meet to each other in this way every day against the will of their parents. Then the forces of nature, inspired by their true feelings, paved the way for them in the form of an arched tunnel towards each other.
Another legend says that there once lived a modest young man, who fell in love with a girl from the other side of the forest. In order to see his beloved every day, the young man got a job in the rail car to transport people from one part of the Klevan village to another. Then, after the launch of the train, he worked as a coal heaver. Every day taking a trip by this train back and forth through the woods, all the way he was telling everyone about his love. Only many years later, he had the courage to declare his feelings to his beloved. Locals were so happy that the couple finally was together that they began composing legends about love in the tunnel.
Of course, this is just a legend. However, until now, local inhabitants believe that if a couple passes through the tunnel, their love will be blessed. Thus, it is no coincidence that a lot of newlyweds flock here to cement their bonds of love and to get nature’s blessing. It is also believed that if a single woman passes through the tunnel during the full moon, she will surely meet the love of her life in the nearest future. Most likely, it will be a single young man walking with the same purpose from the other side of the tunnel.
Today the tunnel of love is a real phenomenon of nature, created by thickets of trees and shrubs. It is about 4 km long and actually still operates today — a train chugs through it three-four times a day. To the question «what does it carry» a saleswoman from the nearest souvenir shop selling magnets and all kinds of trinkets with hearts jokingly said: «No one knows, maybe rubble to Estonia». It is strange but true — the train itself, performing daily work, involuntarily became a compulsory actor of this place. It is not scheduled and at any unexpected moment it can emerge from the fairy-tale forests and very quickly, illuminating the green tunnel, disappear into the fog. Locals believe that if you are sincere in your love, you will see it one day. Because every time when the approaching train makes a whistle, the whole tunnel is filled with some special, incomparable feeling that penetrates into your soul, resounding with echoes of love magic.
For centuries, people have lived and worked for the sake of love. Nature itself inspired them to praise the beauty of love: whether it is a river, flowers, the image of a loved one or a simple arch of entwined tree branches and bushes. In the Tunnel of Love, this astounding natural masterpiece, you can feel a special philosophy that gives a person faith and hope in the great power of love. And as we all know, our world is ruled by love.