Despite the torpor the marshrutka had drowned me in, I did not miss the rock sign with the carved Cyrillic letters of Busha (БУША) a few kilometres before the village’s entry. My eyes were wide open when I discovered a village overflowed with trees in bud – spring highlights Busha and its monuments.

I first looked for the remaining tower of the defensive fortress from the XVI-XVIIth centuries. Located on a small hill in the very centre of the village, it is today in the shadow of a blue Russian orthodox church. Below, sculptures left by artists stand disseminated within the historical reservation area. This combination of relics and contemporary traces confers a vivid atmosphere to the place, surrounded by vernacular houses – white, blue, green, recent or older. Some are falling apart but most of them have rows of blazing red tulips, accentuating the bucolic image Busha offered me for my first visit. Everything is intended for stroll in a peaceful and green environment.

Some tourists follow a guide along the sculptures park, in the tower and the museum. Listening to the historical information provided, it may be hard to imagine how extended was the town in the previous centuries – with thousands of inhabitants at its height, Busha counts today less than 1,000 villagers. At sunset, fantastic stories take easily place in your imagination in front of the odd graves’ shapes in the cemetery, facing the village and the hills. Later, in the forest, walking among the strange geological rocks of Haidamatskyi Yar, you remember the carving of the pre-Christian temple, with its mysterious pagan scenery. A fascinating place conducting to unexpected meetings, like a Cleopatra-theme photo shoot and Siamese cat.

Pagan patterns are everywhere in the village, from the pottery to the recent sculptures and the new café, from where you can enjoy a chill view on the historical reservation while resting on benches. It is exactly what composes Busha’s charm: the union between a rich historical heritage and the activism of local or foreign characters to keep Busha attractive.