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Tunnel of Love

One of the world's most romantic places is frequented by couples and singles who wish to find a match


Last updated: by Olha Savych
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The world-famous Tunnel of Love is a 2.5 mi (4 km) arch that runs through the forest along with a railway. That railway connects two villages—Orzhiv and Klevan, in the city of Rivne. While the railway is man-made, the lush arch formed by trees and bushes intertwining at the top is a purely botanical phenomenon. Experts assume the tunnel could be entirely overgrown if not for the train that still operates here. The site is said to have a special atmosphere and is believed to bring luck in love affairs.

So how did it happen that the railway was constructed right in the midst of a forest? According to a romantic legend, once there was a Polish architect who lived in the village of Orzhiv, and naturally, he fell in love with a Ukrainian girl from Klevan. Her parents didn't approve of the relationship on the religious grounds (he was a Catholic, and she—an Orthodox). The lad was assigned to build a railway in the area, and he didn't have to think too long. Quickly he decided to pave its way through the forest as it was the shortest way straight from his home to the beloved girl. Moreover, the accurate tunnel shape allowed lovers to communicate via their secret lantern language.

Eventually, the boy went back to Poland, and the girl gave her heart to another man, yet both cherished the memory of their love forever. Although the love story doesn't have a happy ending, the place has always had a magical power to assist lovers. A more prosaic explanation of a railway in the forest is that it was hidden on purpose because of some military bases located nearby. Well, regardless of all fairy tales and sentimentalism, the tunnel is beautiful without a doubt. An interesting fact: in 2014, the Tunnel of Love had become the setting for the same name Japanese romantic drama.

The easiest way to get to the Tunnel of Love is from the city of Rivne, in 18 mi (30 km) from Klevan. Take a bus from Rivne to Klevan or a train to Lutsk. If you go by car via Rivne-Lutsk road, you should reach crossroads at the village named Zoria and follow the signs that will direct you to the tourist attraction. The place may be visited year-round, as it has a unique appearance in every season. Still, we recommend mid-May to mid-September as the most successful time, when the tunnel is lush green. Golden autumn in late September to mid-October is beautiful as well but not as vibrant, and falling leaves may create a sad impression of the tunnel falling apart. Winter snow-arch looks charming, but the weather is rather unpredictable. In early spring, you'll find bare trees, a bit empty and quiet overall.

If you're interested to spend more time in Klevan after you've seen the Tunnel of Love, you can also explore local architecture. In particular, visit the ruins of Klevan Castle, built in 1561, along with the Baroque Church of the Annunciation with its bell tower (1630), and the Church of the Nativity (1777).

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