How did the watermelon become a symbol of Kherson’s liberation from Russian occupation?
Watermelon is recognized as a symbol of the Kherson region. During peacetime, the sweet berry played an important role in promoting tourism in the region. During the war, the watermelon became a symbol of the region’s liberation from Russian occupation.
The Kherson region is responsible for almost 50% of all watermelons farmed in Ukraine. Ukrainian watermelons are unique due to the temperature and soil in Kherson – their quality is so renowned that watermelons cultivated in other regions of Ukraine were frequently referred to as “Khersonian” by sellers since they had become a sign of taste and quality. Watermelons from the Kherson region were shipped to practically every city in Ukraine for sale.
Because of the war, most Ukrainians were unable to taste Kherson watermelons this summer. Kherson watermelons were only marketed in the occupied territory in Ukraine. Watermelons taken from the Kherson region were also exported to Russia.
The “Gifts of the Kherson Region” sign, shaped like a four-meter watermelon, is located in Visokopyla near the settlement of Osokorivka. According to one story, the watermelon monument first emerged here in the late 1980s. At the time, the “Ukraina” collective farm was in operation here, and approximately 100 hectares out of 7.5 thousand were set aside for the cultivation of watermelons. When the Ukrainian Armed Forces liberated this area, our defenders did not skip the traditional photo with a watermelon. As result, even before the official declaration of the liberation of these regions, the residents of Kherson identified the location from which our forces were able to remove the enemy.
Head of European Commission Ursula von der Leyen’s delegation, who arrived in Kyiv on September 15, was treated with watermelons and melons from the liberated villages of the Kherson region.