Considered as the second largest country in Europe, Ukraine shows a promising future in terms of tourism, agricultural development and industrial growth. Aside from the country’s rich history and culture, the country is widely known because of it beautiful castle, old and historical churches, fascinating landscape, impressive architecture and breathtaking natural views. There are many things that you can do in Ukraine. Even if the country is still emerging from the Soviet era, Ukraine is a rewarding place to go. The capital city, Kiev, can also offer a lot of surprises and adventurous opportunities. Generally, Ukraine is an affordable country to visit.
Important and Interesting Facts about Ukraine
- Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe.It has an area of 603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi), making it the largest country entirely within Europe.
- Ukraine borders Russia to the east and northeast, Belarus to the northwest, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the west, Romania and Moldova to the southwest, and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to the south and southeast, respectively.
- Ukraine has long been a global breadbasket because of its extensive, fertile farmlands. In 2011, it was the world’s third-largest grain exporter with that year’s harvest being much larger than average.
- Significant natural resources in Ukraine include iron ore, coal, manganese, natural gas, oil, salt, sulphur, graphite, titanium, magnesium, kaolin, nickel, mercury, timber and an abundance of arable land. Despite this, the country faces a number of major environmental issues such as inadequate supplies of potable water; air and water pollution and deforestation, as well as radiation contamination in the north-east from the 1986 accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Recycling toxic household waste is still in its infancy in Ukraine.
- More than 6,600 species of fungi (including lichen-forming species) have been recorded from Ukraine,but this number is far from complete. The true total number of fungal species occurring in Ukraine, including species not yet recorded, is likely to be far higher, given the generally accepted estimate that only about 7% of all fungi worldwide have so far been discovered.
- Kamyanets-Podilskyy and Hotyn fortresses-These fortresses are no doubt on the first place of 7 wonders of Ukraine. Kamyanets-Podilskyy town has the frotification system that is unique all over the Europe and Hotyn fortrees was the center of numerous wars and fights.
- Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra is a unique monastic complex, included by the UNESCO into the list of the monuments of the world-wide significance. The complex consists of two parts: the above-ground (religious constructions complex) and underground (caves).
- The famous St. Sophia Cathedral is the principal temple of Kyiv Rus, founded by Yaroslav Mudry (Yaroslav The Wise), which survived the centuries and extant to our days. Presently this complex is included into the world heritage protected by the UNESCO.
- Adventurous trip to Hoverla mountain will not live leave any touris indifferent as this is the highest mountain in Ukraine. An additional excursion can be made to the Prut River waterfall, one of the Danube tributaries, situated to the south of the main trail.
- Olesko castle is the most popular and famous castle in Lviv region is Olesko. From a distance we can see the powerful defensive building on the picturesque hill in Olesko, which walls are formed of the cutted stone blocks, they “remember” a lot of invasions of polyglot invaders.
- Palanok castle in Mukachevo is the most precious historical finding of Transcarpathians dated back to XV – XVI centuries. It has not been conquered through its all history because of its location on 68 meter high volcanic hill. The founding cornerstone for the castle was laid sometime in the 14th century.
- Pochaiv Lavra is the most sacred eastern orthodox holy place in Volyn and the second-important one after Kiev-Pechersk Lavra in Ukraine. The most precious acquisition of this holly complex is a wonder-working icon of the Blessed Virgin that has a gift of miraculous healing.
Cool and Funny Facts about Ukraine
- Most words in the Ukrainian language starts with the letter “п”. The most frequently used letter of the Ukrainian alphabet – “о”. The letters “ф” and “г” are used least often.
- George Gershwin wrote one of the world’s most famous songs, “Summertime”, after being inspired by an old Ukrainian lullaby called “Sleep Is Tiptoeing About” performed by the Ukrainian National Chorus.
- The third most visited McDonald’s in the world is located in Kiev, near the train station. This restaurant has always been in the top five most crowded McDonald’s in the world. Last year, it served 2.283.399 visitors.
- Arsenalnaya Metro Station located in Kiev is the deepest in the world (105 meters). The station was built in 1960, very close to the House of Parliament. According to some reports, the tunnels near Arsenalnaya house secret shelters built specially for the political elite.
- Ukrainians are the fifth most-drinking nation in the world. Only Moldavians, Russians, Hungarians and Czechs are ahead of them. An average Ukrainian older than 15 drinks 15.6 liters of alcohol a year (it’s a liter more than an Irishman and almost two liters more than a Norwegian).
- The Ukrainian national anthem consists of only six lines (four in a verse and two in a chorus). The remaining verses of the anthem are considered politically incorrect. (“We’ll stand, brothers, in bloody battle, from the Syan to the Don” implies a claim to the territories of Russia and Poland).
- In Europe, the police solve 30-40% of crimes, in Ukraine – 90%. This unnaturally good statistics is the result of the reluctance of the Ukrainian policemen to record “hopeless” cases (like thefts of mobile phones) and knock confessions out of suspects.
- In 1710, Ukrainian Hetman Pylyp Orlyk introduced “Pacts and Constitutions of Rights and Freedoms of the Zaporizhian Host”, at that time a super-progressive document which meant to separate powers into three branches and regulate the rights and responsibilities of the government and citizens. Some researchers believe that this document is one of the world’s first constitutions.
- One of the most famous Christmas songs “Schedrik” (a folk song written by a Ukrainian composer, Mykola Leontovich) is known to the rest of the world as “Carol of the Bells” or “Ring Christmas Bells”.
- Ukraine, on its own initiative, refused the third largest arsenal of nuclear weapons in the world. At the moment of the declaration of independence, Ukraine had over a thousand nuclear warheads and the third largest nuclear potential after Russia and America. The warheads and missiles were given to Russia, silos were destroyed. In response, Ukraine received the money for disarmament, plus security guarantees from the nuclear powers.
- The monuments to a famous Ukrainian poet, Taras Shevchenko, are set in 1200 places around the world. However, most of them are located in western Ukraine.
- Following the example of the main hero of a famous folk tale “Levsha” (The Lefthander) by N. Leskov, Ukrainian Nikolai Syadristy decided to shoe a flea. The flea can be seen in the Kiev Museum of Miniatures.
Historical and Cultural Facts about Ukraine
- Ukraine was known as “Kievan Rus” (from which Russia is a derivative) up until the 16th century. In the 9th century, Kiev was the major political and cultural center in eastern Europe. Kievan Rus reached the height of its power in the 10th century and adopted Byzantine Christianity. The Mongol conquest in 1240 ended Kievan power.
- From the 13th to the 16th century, Kiev was under the influence of Poland and western Europe. The negotiation of the Union of Brest-Litovsk in 1596 divided the Ukrainians into Orthodox and Ukrainian Catholic faithful. In 1654, Ukraine asked the czar of Moscovy for protection against Poland, and the Treaty of Pereyasav signed that year recognized the suzerainty of Moscow. The agreement was interpreted by Moscow as an invitation to take over Kiev, and the Ukrainian state was eventually absorbed into the Russian Empire.
- After the Russian Revolution, Ukraine declared its independence from Russia on Jan. 28, 1918, and several years of warfare ensued with several groups. The Red Army finally was victorious over Kiev, and in 1920 Ukraine became a Soviet republic. In 1922, Ukraine became one of the founders of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
- In the 1930s, the Soviet government’s enforcement of collectivization met with peasant resistance, which in turn prompted the confiscation of grain from Ukrainian farmers by Soviet authorities; the resulting famine took an estimated 5 million lives. Ukraine was one of the most devastated Soviet republics after World War II.
- On April 26, 1986, the nation’s nuclear power plant at Chernobyl was the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident. On Oct. 29, 1991, the Ukrainian parliament voted to shut down the reactor within two years’ time and asked for international assistance in dismantling it.
- Approximately 40% of the population in the Ukraine describe themselves as atheist. Of those that do adhere to some form of religion, 37% belong to one of the three major orthodox denominations present in the country. There are also a significant and growing number of Jews, Protestants and Muslims.
- Ukrainians are extremely generous and hospitable. All social occasions include food. Visitors are always offered something to eat as well as a beverage. It is considered the height of rudeness to eat in front of another person and not offer them something.
- The typical greeting is a warm, firm handshake, maintaining direct eye contact, and repeating your name.
- When female friends meet, they kiss on the cheek three times, starting with the left and then alternating, while close male friends may pat each other on the back and hug.
- Borshch is a vegetable soup made out of beets, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, dill.There are about 30 varieties of Ukrainian borscht.It may include meat or fish.Kapusniak in the other hand is a soup made with pork, salo (pork fat), sauerkraut, and served with smetana (sour cream)
- Vyshyvanka is the Ukrainian traditional clothing which contains elements of Ukrainian ethnic embroidery. Many variations of its design were created. Usually, it was made of homemade linen which was produced by loom. Local features are usually represented in the shirt’s ornamental pattern.