Ukraine is one of those countries that may exceed your expectations.

April 24, 2020 | Reading time: 8 minutes
Ukraine is one of those countries that may exceed your expectations.

At the dawn of its existence, Ukraine used to be called Kyivan Rus. Kyiv – the Old Slavic capital of the powerful feudal state – Kyivan Rus, by the 11th century was one of the largest and prosperous centers in Eastern Europe. Our city was the cradle of the East Slavic civilization.

Throughout history, Western parts of Ukraine were occupied by Poland, Lithuania, Sweden. Such events had a great impact on the Ukrainian language. Western parts of Ukraine always gravitated towards the west. Central and Eastern parts, for hundreds of years, were influenced by Russia but always wanted to remain independent.

Facts you probably did not know about Ukraine.

1. It is large Russia excluded, it is the largest country in Europe with an area of 603 000 square kilometers, which is a little larger than the territory of mainland France.

Within Ukraine is the geographical center of Europe the small town of Rakhiv in western Ukraine marks the spot with an obelisk.

2. Within its large borders, Ukraine has seven World Heritage Sites, including the 11th century Saint-Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv, and the primeval beech forests of the Carpathians.

Ukraine is big enough to have forests and Carpathian mountains in the West, plain land on the East, and Asov and the Black Sea on the south. you can choose anything you want without moving out of the country.

3. You can ski there

It’s no French Alps, but Ukraine has ski resorts to brag, including Bukovel in the Carpathian mountains, with 55km of slopes and 15 lifts.

4. Ukraine possesses the world's largest reserves of Manganese ore which constitutes 11% of the world's deposits

5. Ukraine has 33% of the world's rich, black-earth soil. 

With its vast and soil-rich farmlands, Ukraine has been a global breadbasket. It is a No.1 exporter of sunflower oil and a leading exporter of grains globally. Often viewed as a major international grain producer, Ukraine’s fertile black soil helps agrarians produce colossal volumes of sunflower oil, grain, fruits, poultry, and honey.

When French novelist Honore de Balzac came to the Ukrainian in the nineteenth century he wrote: Ukrainian land is so fertile that the peasants need only throw seeds to get a large harvest. Any crop grows naturally!’

6 The largest cargo airplane in the world the Antonov An-225 Mriya in English Dream was invented and built here It has the largest wingspan of any aircraft, at 88.4 meters. And armed with six engines and massive cargo hold. It can take 255 tons of cargo on board.

The Soviet Union first commissioned the aircraft's production in the 1980s with the purpose of carrying its version of the space shuttle but the plane now flies cargo around the world. 

After a two-year stay in maintenance, the Ukrainian-built aircraft is now sky-bound once again and its first flight was a COVID-19 mission between China and Europe. 

7 The Tunnel of Love, an excellent Instagram shooting place, is found in the forests near the town of Kleven. It is a stretch of railroad track winding through a green forest. During the Cold War, it was used to secretly move supplies and now it provides wood for a local factory.

8 Ukrainian music has a soul and it is inspiring

Old Ukrainian lullaby induced George Gershwin’s to write his Summertime.

The Christmas song "Schedryk" is of Ukrainian folk song origin. It is known to the rest of the world as Carol of the Bells. Based on an old Ukrainian folk song, the original lyrics describe a swallow flying into a household to proclaim the plentiful year that the family will have. The song has been used many times in the soundtracks in films “O Sole Mio” the world-famous song was composed in Odesa Ukraine.

9 Public transport and the train system is very cheap and highly reliable, although not new.

10 The deepest station in the world is the Arsenalnaya Metro Station in Kyiv. It is 105 meters deep and was built in 1960

11 In April 1986, the worst nuclear accident in history unfolded in Chernobyl as a reactor at a nuclear power plant exploded and burned. Shrouded in secrecy, the incident was a watershed moment in both the Cold War and the history of nuclear power. More than 30 years on, scientists estimate the zone around the former plant will not be habitable for up to 20000 years. Chernobyl has become a spooky tourist attraction.

12 Churches are everywhere.

Kyiv is widely regarded as the country’s spiritual capital. Pilgrims regularly travel long distances to visit St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery, St. Sophia Cathedral and Kyiv Pechersk Lavra cave monastery which is included in UNESCO World Heritage sites.

13 On the 7th of June Ukrainians celebrate Ivana Kupala Night. 

It is a summer fest where love, magic, pagan and Christian traditions come together in a most mystical, vibrant way. The old pagan tradition of the summer solstice celebration and god Kupalo,the god of the solstice, love, and harvest, On this day, fire and water have sacral and purifying qualities.

Boys and girls join hands in pairs and jump over a fire in a purification ritual. Locals believe that when a couple skips the fire without losing grip of each other, their love will last forever. The symbol of the holiday is the fern. Since ancient times, there has been a legend about the fern flower that blooms only once a year, on the eve of Ivan Kupala.

It was believed that the flower would grant the person who found it the ability to understand the language of birds and animals, foresee the future, become invisible and easily find the hidden treasure.

14 Lviv also claims to be the home of the first gas lamp which was invented by a local pharmacist.

Today the achievement is remembered by a café called Gasova L’ampa found in the same building.

15 According to Ukrainian folk tales, Kyiv boasts up to three official witch gathering places.

They share the name Lysa Hora (Bold Mountain).

16 Unlike many cultures around the world, Ukrainians wear wedding rings on the right hand, not the left.

17 Vyshyvanka is the Ukrainian national costume. It is decorated with ornamental embroidery featuring floral details

18 The tradition of painting eggs in celebration of Easter originated in Ukraine.

Originally, the eggs were patterned using wax and dye. These eggs with intricate designs and ornaments are known as pysankas. Different regions of the country have different styles and methods of decoration.

19 Ukraine has built the largest musical instrument in the world.

It produces the sound that can be heard up to a distance of 10 km. The pipe piece is named Trembita.

20 In a beauty contest of languages in Paris in 1934, the Ukrainian language took second place after the Italian language in terms of melodiousness.

You are welcome to come and explore Ukraine with me.

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