The famous Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz once imagined Ukraine as a “steppe ocean”, in which ancient burial mounds are sometimes found. However, now Ukraine is not only endless steppes with Scythian burial mounds. Ukraine now has many very interesting historical and architectural sights, ski and spa resorts in the Carpathians, as well as beach resorts on the shores of the Azov and Black Seas, including, of course, the Crimea.
Geography of Ukraine
Ukraine is located in Eastern Europe. In the west, Ukraine borders with Poland, Slovakia and Hungary, in the southwest – with Romania and Moldova, in the northwest – with Belarus, and in the east and northeast – with Russia. In the southeast, Ukraine is washed by the waters of the Sea of Azov, and in the south – by the Black Sea. The total area of this country is 603,628 sq. km., and the total length of the border is 16,500 km.
On the territory of Ukraine, a flat landscape (steppes) prevails, but there are also many forests. In the west of the country are the Carpathian Mountains, and in the south – the Crimean Mountains. The highest peak in Ukraine is Mount Hoverla in the Carpathians, whose height reaches 2,061 meters.
The largest Ukrainian rivers are the Seversky Donets, the Southern Bug. Dniester, and, of course, the Dnieper.
There are several large natural lakes in Ukraine – Yalpug, Cahul, Kugurluy, Katlabukh and China. All these lakes are located in the south of Ukraine in the Odessa region.
Capital of Ukraine
According to itypejob.com, the capital of Ukraine is Kyiv, which is now home to almost 3 million people. Archaeologists believe that an urban settlement on the territory of modern Kyiv already existed in the 6th-7th centuries AD.
The official language in Ukraine is Ukrainian, which belongs to the East Slavic languages of the Indo-European language family.
Almost 90% of Ukrainians are Christians. The vast majority of them are Orthodox Christians belonging to the Greek Catholic Church. Mostly Catholics live in western Ukraine, while there are many Muslims in Crimea.
State structure of Ukraine
According to computerminus.com, Ukraine is a parliamentary republic, in which the President is the head, elected by direct popular vote for 5 years.
Legislative power belongs to the unicameral parliament – the Verkhovna Rada. It consists of 450 deputies elected for a 5-year term.
Administratively, Ukraine is divided into 24 regions, 2 cities with regional status (Kyiv and Sevastopol), and one autonomous republic (Crimea).
Climate and weather
The climate in Ukraine is mostly temperate continental, but on the southern coast of Crimea the climate is humid subtropical. The average annual temperature ranges from +5.5C to +7C in the north, and from +11C to +13C in the south.
In Western Ukraine, the amount of precipitation is 1,200 mm per year, and in the Crimea – 400 mm per year.
Average air temperature in Kyiv:
- January – -6C
- February – -5С
- March – 0C
- April – +8С
- May – +15C
- June – +19С
- July – +20.5C
- August – +19C
- september – +13С
- october – +8C
- November – +2С
- December – -2.5С
Sea in Ukraine
In the southeast, Ukraine is washed by the waters of the Sea of Azov, and in the south – by the Black Sea. The total length of the coastline is 2,782 kilometers. The average temperature of the Black Sea on the southern coast of Crimea in July is +24C.
Rivers and lakes of Ukraine
On the territory of Ukraine flows one of the largest rivers in Europe – the Dnieper, which flows into the Black Sea. Other large Ukrainian rivers are the Seversky Donets, the Southern Bug and the Dniester.
In the south of Ukraine in the Odessa region there are several large natural lakes – Yalpug, Cahul, Kugurluy, Katlabukh and China.
In the VI-III millennium BC. e. (i.e. in the Eneolithic era) on the Ukrainian lands there was an archaeological Trypillia culture. During the Iron Age, Cimmerians, Scythians and Sarmatians lived in Ukraine.
In 700-200 BC in the Ukrainian steppes there was a Scythian kingdom (Scythia). From the VI century BC. on the Ukrainian coast of the Black Sea, the ancient Greeks found their colonies – Olbia, Tyra, Borisfen, Kerkinitida, Tauric Chersonese, Theodosia, Panticapaeum, Nymphaeum, etc.
In the 9th century, on the territory of modern Ukraine, the state of the Slavs, Kievan Rus, was formed. The political capital of Kievan Rus was the city of Kyiv. It is believed that the first rulers of Kievan Rus were the Varangians – Rurik, Askold, Dir and Oleg. Kievan Rus consisted of several principalities – Kiev, Chernigov, Smolensk, Vladimir-Suzdal, Polotsk, Galicia-Volyn principality, etc.
The “golden age” of Kievan Rus fell on the reign of princes Vladimir the Great and Yaroslav the Wise. It was under Vladimir the Great that Kievan Rus was baptized according to the Byzantine rite.
The Tatar-Mongol invasions of the 13th century ravaged Kievan Rus. Over most of the principalities, the power of the Tatar-Mongol was established.
Since the XIV century, most of Ukraine was under the control of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Since 1569 (after the Union of Lublin) Ukraine came under the rule of Poland. During this period, the Cossacks were formed in Ukraine. Zaporizhzhya Sich was formed on the Dnieper (it later changed its location several times). In fact, the Zaporozhian Sich was a kind of Ukrainian knightly order. Zaporizhzhya Sich played a very important role in the history of Ukraine.
The Cossacks sought to have their own representation in the Polish Sejm, advocated the preservation of their Orthodox traditions, and also tried to expand their registry. However, the Polish nobility rejected these demands, and the Ukrainian Cossacks were forced to turn to Russia.
In 1648, an anti-Polish uprising of Cossacks and peasants began in Ukraine, led by Bogdan Khmelnitsky. In 1654, at the Pereyaslav Rada, Ukrainians spoke in favor of a military-political alliance with Russia.
In the Middle Ages, the troops of the Crimean khans made numerous raids on the territory of modern Ukraine. For several centuries, the Crimean Khanate was a real problem for Ukraine. However, the Zaporizhzhya Cossacks successfully resisted the Crimean Tatars, and even made trips to the Crimea and the Ottoman Empire themselves.
In 1764, the Russian Empire abolished the Hetmanate (as the Ukrainian state was then called), and in 1775 the Zaporozhian Sich was liquidated. In 1783, the Crimean Khanate (Crimea) became part of Russia.
The independence of Ukraine was proclaimed only in January 1918. However, after the First World War, several forces fought for political power on the territory of Ukraine at once, and as a result, the Bolshevik Communist Party won – the Ukrainian Soviet Republic was formed.
In 1922, the Ukrainian SSR became part of the USSR. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, a violent city erupted in Ukraine, killing millions of people. In 1934 Kyiv (instead of Kharkov) became the capital of the Ukrainian SSR.
During World War II, Ukraine was occupied by German troops. Only by the end of 1944 did the Red Army succeed in liberating Ukraine from German troops.
In 1954 Crimea was included in the Ukrainian SSR.
On April 26, 1986, a reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded in the Ukrainian SSR, and this became the largest man-made disaster in the world.
In August 1991, the independent Republic of Ukraine was proclaimed.
Culture of Ukraine
Modern Ukrainians are proud of their traditions and customs. As in other countries, in Ukraine, folk customs and traditions are preserved in the villages. However, residents of Ukrainian cities still adhere to the main folk traditions.
Most holidays in Ukraine are related to religion (Easter, Christmas, Epiphany, Maslenitsa), but, of course, there are many public holidays as well. On the eve of the Old New Year (this is January 13), Ukrainian children and teenagers “carol” (“generously”) – i.e. go from house to house, sing old folk “carols” and receive sweets, cookies, sweets, apples, tangerines, etc. for this.
The most famous Ukrainian poets and writers are Taras Shevchenko, Hryhoriy Skovoroda, Ivan Franko, Ostap Vyshnia, Panteleymon Kulish, Ivan Franko, Lesya Ukrainka, Mykola Gogol.
Ukrainians are hospitable people, and they are always happy to treat guests to something delicious. The main food products of Ukrainians are meat (pork), lard, vegetables, potatoes, fish, and dairy products.
We definitely advise tourists in Ukraine to try dumplings with cherries, borscht with sour cream and garlic, cabbage, syrniki, pancakes, jelly, Kiev meatballs, cabbage rolls with meat, soup with dumplings, buckwheat and “garbuzov” porridge, pies with different stuffing, pancakes and much more.
The traditional Ukrainian alcoholic drink is “gorilka” (vodka), the production of which in Ukraine began in the Middle Ages.
Sights of Ukraine
Despite the fact that Ukraine has experienced a large number of wars, a lot of historical and architectural sights have been preserved in this country.
In our opinion, the top ten most interesting Ukrainian sights include:
- Podgoretsky castle. Pidhirtsi Castle was built in the first half of the 17th century by architects Guillaume Beauplan and Andrea del Aqua. The castle was built with the money of Stanislav Konetspolsky, who was the crown hetman. Now the Podgoretsky castle houses a museum.
- Khan’s Palace in Bakhchisarai. This palace in Bakhchisaray was built in the 16th century by order of the Crimean Khan Sahib I Giray. For a long time this door was the residence of the Crimean khans. Now the Khan’s Palace houses a museum.
- Genoese fortress in Sudak. The construction of the Genoese fortress near modern Sudak, immigrants from the Italian Genoa began in 1371. Only in 1469 this fortress was completely built, but the Genoese practically did not need it, i.e. Crimean Tatars and Turks began to dominate in Crimea.
- Kamenetz-Podolsk fortress. The Lithuanian princes were engaged in the construction of the Kamyanets-Podilsky fortress in the 14th century. However, the Kamyanets-Podilsky fortress acquired its modern look in the 16th century after the Poles became its owners (they removed all the wooden parts of the fortress).
- Chersonese Tauride in the Crimea. Khersones on the southwestern coast of Crimea (the territory of modern Sevastopol) was founded by the ancient Greeks. Now Chersonese is an archaeological monument (it even has an ancient Greek theater), showing how the ancient Greeks lived.
- Razumovsky Palace in Baturin. The palace in Baturyn was built in the middle of the 18th century by order of Hetman Kirill Razumovsky. The palace was restored at the beginning of the 21st century.
- Kiev-Pechersk Lavra in Kyiv. The Caves Monastery in Kyiv was founded in 1051 during the reign of Prince Yaroslav the Wise. Over the past centuries, numerous churches and caves of monks have been built around this monastery.
- Khotyn fortress in Khotyn. A stone fortress in Khotyn already existed in the 13th century. After some time, by order of the Moldavian ruler, this castle was rebuilt by order of the Moldavian ruler. In the 18th century, the Turks were already engaged in the reconstruction of the castle.
- Vorontsov Palace in Alupka. The Vorontsov Palace was built from 1828 to 1848 according to the project of the Englishman Edward Blore. The palace was the summer residence of Count Mikhail Vorontsov. Now this palace houses a museum.
- Olesko castle in the Lviv region. Historians believe that Olesko Castle was built in the XIII-XIV centuries. Counts. that it was in the Olesko Castle that Jan II Sobieski, the king of the Commonwealth, was born.
Cities and resorts
The largest Ukrainian cities are Kharkiv, Donetsk, Zaporozhye, Odessa, Lvov, Dnepropetrovsk, and, of course, Kyiv.
Almost the entire coast of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov turns into a large resort in summer. The most popular beach resorts on the Black Sea coast are located in Crimea – Yalta, Alushta, Alupka, Gaspra, Gurzuf, Foros, Partenit, Kerch, Simeiz, Koktebel, Feodosia, Sudak, Saki, Evpatoria.
On the Ukrainian coast of the Sea of Azov, tourists prefer to rest in Berdyansk, Kirillovka, Genichesk, Primorsk, on the Arabat Spit and in New Yalta.
In winter, Ukrainians and foreign tourists go on vacation to ski resorts in Western Ukraine. The most popular of them are Bukovel, Dragobrat, Izky, Pylypets, Sinyak, Slavske, Dynamo-Trostyan and Plai.
There are many mineral springs in Ukraine, so excellent balneological resorts operate in this country – Truskavets, Morshyn, Solotvyno, Shayan, Khmilnyk and Mirgorod. Most of the Ukrainian balneological resorts are located in Western Ukraine, but there are also quite a lot of them in other parts of this country (for example, in the Crimea – Saki, Sudak, Evpatoria).
Supermarkets are open from 8 am to 11 pm. Some supermarkets are open 24/7.
Currency of Ukraine
The monetary unit in Ukraine is the Ukrainian hryvnia (its international designation is UAH). 1 hryvnia = 100 kopecks. All major cards are widely used in Ukraine, including MasterCard and Visa.
In Ukraine, there are no restrictions on the import and export of local and foreign currency, but the amount of 10 thousand euros or more must be declared.
It is forbidden to export objects of history and art from Ukraine without special permission. Otherwise, the violator faces criminal prosecution.
101 – Fire Department
102 – Police
103 – Ambulance
104 – Ministry of Emergency Situations
Tipping in Ukraine is 5-10% of the bill. Sometimes tips are already included in the bill. Taxi drivers will also be grateful for your tip.