Game of Drones! Polish-Ukrainian project presents stunning aerial images of the former Commonwealth
Sweeping landscapes, fairy tale castles and awe-inspiring monasteries that bring to mind Henryk Sienkiewicz’s Trilogy are the topic of a video project documenting centuries of shared Polish-Ukrainian history.
Collaborating with Polish and Ukrainian photographers, the Association Integration Europe-East have captured over a hundred historical sights using drone technology, and have complimented these bird’s-eye images with an exhaustive collection of more traditional photographs.
Among the copious highlights is stunning footage of castles in Kamianets-Podilskyi and Khotyn, the churches and magical architecture of Lviv, as well as the grand 17th century fortress in Zbarazh. The clips also include town hall in Buchaz, the monastery in Sokal and the striking cathedral in Pochayiv Lavraand.
“Contemporary Ukraine is today a strategic neighbour of Poland,” says Krzysztof Kalita, chairman of the association. “However, in the past this relationship was closer and was built on the history of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.”
“It was a unique alliance in which various nations headed by Poles, Lithuanians and Ruthenians coexisted and formed. In the areas of modern Ukraine and Poland, it is worth noting the significant common historical heritage remaining after the time of the Commonwealth.”
For several months in 2018, the association’s members travelled around Ukraine in search of the remnants of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Having recorded these objects from the sky, the fruits of their labour are now available online at www.pluazdrona.eu.
The project was sponsored by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and organized in partnership with several Polish and Ukrainian organizations, among them the Polish Institute in Kiev, the Ukrainian Communication Group and the Historical Association of Vinnytsia. The Polish-Ukrainian team that shot and produced the films was comprised of historians, journalists and NGO representatives.
Launched in Khotyn, the site of two major 17th century triumphs over the Ottoman empire, the project was conceived as a way to encourage historical dialogue between the two neighbouring nations, as well as to counter negative stereotypes of Polish-Ukrainian relations.
“In the recent history of the 20th century, historical events and political and economic turbulence has adversely affected the mutual relations of Poles and Ukrainians,” states Kalita. “This directly translated into the emergence of xenophobia and alienation further compounded by functioning stereotypes.”
“For this reason,” he continues, “we have entered the process of shaping a new beginning of international relations between Poland and Ukraine. This time, however, these new relationships haven’t just been shaped by politicians and governments, but ordinary people.”