Interesting Facts about Ukraine
Interesting Facts about Ukraine

What and Where is Ukraine

Ukraine is a beautiful country in Europe. It was a part of Soviet Union until Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. After that Ukraine has been independent country.

Ukraine officially declared itself an independent country on August 24, 1991, when the communist Supreme Soviet (parliament) of Ukraine proclaimed that Ukraine would no longer follow the laws of the USSR and only the laws of the Ukrainian SSR, de facto declaring Ukraine's independence from the Soviet Union.

In 1993 the Ukrainian government requested that the country be called just Ukraine. US ambassador William Taylor, who knew that the addition of the “the” was considered insulting by some Ukrainians, said it implied a disregard for the country’s sovereignty.

Its seven land bordering countries are Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Russia, and Belarus. However, it is not completely landlocked with coastlines along the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov to the south. The religion plays a strong influential role in shaping Ukrainian music, literature, and architecture. With these interesting facts about Ukraine, let’s learn more about its history, culture, people, food, and more.

1.World's Largest Aircraft Has Been Destroyed in Ukraine

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Heartbreaking images of damaged world's biggest plane Antonov An-225 emerge from Ukraine

The Antonov AN-225, a massive plane with more than 30 years of service, was reportedly destroyed last week during the fourth day of Russia's attack of Ukraine.

The An-225 is the heaviest aircraft ever built, with a maximum takeoff weight of 710 tons. It holds the record for total airlifted payload at 559,580 pounds, as well as airlifted single-item payload at 418,830 pounds. The Antonov An-225 Mriya was built in Kiev, Ukraine while it was still a part of the Soviet Union. It also has the largest wingspan of any functional aircraft.

The images confirm that the destroyed aircraft is Antonov An-225. As per the images, the aircraft has been completely destroyed, and now only parts of it remain. The images of the remains of the aircraft confirm that it was last seen at the Hostomel Airport in Ukraine. As per the flight data, it landed there on 5 February 2022.

2.Ukraine is the biggest country in Europe

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Ukraine is the largest country in Europe

If you leave Russia which lies both in Asia and Europe, Ukraine is the biggest country in terms of area in Europe. The total area of Ukraine is 603.55 square km. While Ukraine is biggest country in terms of area in Europe, it is not big in terms of population. With population of about 46 million people it is smaller than the population of Germany and France.

With such a large area, Ukraine has a lot to offer. From the beautiful Carpathian mountains that offer picturesque landscapes of forests, rivers, and valleys, to beaches found near the city of Odesa and vibrant cultural cities like Kyiv and Lviv. Not only is it an extremely large country, but also a very unique and exciting one.

3. Ukraine has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites

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Ukraine has seven World Heritage Sites

Ukraine is home to seven sites protected by the UNESCO World Heritage List. These include Kyiv’s Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Lviv’s historic center, Chernivtsi University, as well as unique wooden churches in the Carpathians and the beech forests that surround them. More information about these sites can be found in our other article.

Ukraine is home to seven sites protected by the UNESCO World Heritage List, they are also among the best places in Ukraine to visit. These include Kyiv’s Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Lviv’s historic centre, unique wooden churches in the Carpathians and the beech forests that surround them. Here’s a rundown of the amazing protected places you need to visit during your holidays in Ukraine.

4. Russian or Ukrainian both language works here

The Ukrainian language is the only official language in Ukraine. Interestingly, the Ukrainian language was rated the 3rd most beautiful language, in 1934, behind French and Persian; it was also rated the 2nd most melodious, behind Italian. In addition, many Ukrainians are bilingual: in many areas, you will find people who speak Russian or those who understand it.

It is quite evident in Ukraine that throughout the country people know both Russian and Ukrainian language. However if you really want to be local, Ukrainian, which is the official language as well, would still work better. And to your disappointment English is not a widely spoken language here.

5.Ukraine has the deepest metro station in the world - Arsenalna

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World’s deepest metro station in Ukraine

Arsenalna on Kiev city metro line (Sviatoshynsko - Brovarska Line) is the deepest metro station in the world right now.

Arsenalna, along Kyiv’s Sviatoshynsko-Brovarska train line, is the world’s deepest metro station at 105.5 meters below the ground. The reason why Arsenalna had to be 105.5 m deep is because it had to bypass Dnieper river which rises above Kiev city and surrounds it. You will go for five long minutes on escalator to reach 105.5 m deep down station.

Staring down from the top of the steep escalator to the darkness of the metro below can be quite scary. However, their construction took place during the cold war era; the threat of nuclear bombs meant such deep-lying stations could protect the citizens of Kyiv from such disaster. Thus, the influence of conflict in the 20th century can be seen, even in such mundane activities as the morning commute to work.

6.Chornobyl Nuclear Powerplant in Ukraine exploded in 1986

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Chornobyl Nuclear Powerplant in Ukraine

Ukraine was at the heart of one of the biggest catastrophes of the 20th century. Chornobyl Nuclear Powerplant exploded in 1986, leaving a once-thriving community of Ukrainians completely destroyed. The effects of the explosion were felt far and wide, and have recently been dramatized, albeit brutally honestly, in HBO’s recent series of the same name.

The exclusion zone for Chernobyl is a two-hour drive from the capital of Ukraine. There is not open access for tourists due to the accident at the nuclear power station in 1986; however, organized tours are still carried out. They provide guidance for the observance of safety techniques in contaminated areas.

7.Ukraine is among most educated nation in the world

Ukraine stands 4th in the world in terms of most educated population. 99.4% of Ukrainians aged 15 and over can read and write. 70% of adult Ukrainians have a secondary or higher education. Even the current heavyweight champions from Ukraine Vitali and Wladimir have doctorate degrees.

Everywhere is yellow and blue

The Ukrainian flag has yellow and blue colors. Blue refers to the sky, while Yellow comes from the wheat field. The combination of these two colors creates the flag.

Even if you don’t know the flag colors, you will learn easily when you see lots of yellow and blue colors around you. School walls, stair railings, garden fences, buses, and subways, you will see yellow and blue almost everywhere.

8.Ukraine is least expensive travel city in Europe

In the entire Europe Ukraine stands cheapest where one can find things at rock bottom prices. All the transport modes which includes bus and trains are quite cheap. Even the food here is cheap when compared to other places in the Europe.

Facts about Ukrainian food and cuisines

The traditional Ukrainian diet includes chicken, pork, beef, eggs, fish, and mushrooms. Ukrainians also tend to eat a lot of potatoes, grains, and fresh and pickled vegetables. The Ukrainian cuisine is extremely varied and exciting, with different ethnic minorities and a rich multicultural history bringing a range of different foods to the table. Nonetheless, popular traditional dishes include varenyky (boiled dumplings with mushrooms, potatoes, sauerkraut, cottage cheese, or cherries) and holubtsi (stuffed cabbage rolls filled with rice, carrots, and meat).

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Ukrainian Cuisine

The most famous Ukrainian dish is borscht. Whilst many Russians claimed it derived from the motherland, many Ukrainians passionately believe they are the founders of this dish. It consists of soup made from beetroot, cabbage, and potato; true borscht also contains meat, most commonly, pork. Famous Ukrainian drinks are Lviv beer, horilka (vodka) with pepper, medovukha – horilka with honey, Zakarpattya wine, and Lviv coffee. Ukrainians prepare very tasty desserts: cheesecake (syrnyk), poppycake (makivnyk), honeycake (medivnyk), and many many others.

*One of Ukraine’s most popular traditional dishes is varenyky which are boiled dumplings with potatoes, sauerkraut, mushrooms, cottage cheese, or berries. Another is borscht which is a soup with meat, mushrooms, cabbage, and beets.

*Lviv is home to the highest number of cafes per capita in the world. It boasts up to 1,500 establishments.

*McDonald’s in Kiev is reportedly one of the busiest in the world.

*Ukrainians love drinking horilka, which is a local variant of the famed vodka. Locals often flavor this national drink with chilli pepper to give it a bit more punch.

*Locals also enjoy drinking stewed fruit (Kompot), which is a non-alcoholic sweet beverage. It is prepared by cooking different types of fruits, such as gooseberries, rhubarb, strawberries, apples and sour berries among others. The drink is often flavored using spices, particularly in winter months when it is served hot.

9.Home of Ghost Towns

The deadliest nuclear disaster of all time, the Chernobyl Disaster, happened in Ukraine. The site where this disaster happened and its surroundings are located in northern Ukraine and are part of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, established by the USSR soon after the accident in 1986. Within the zones are a number of abandoned towns, most notably Pripyat, that draw interest from all over the world. Tours of the area, including the power plant, are available, at the risk of the traveller.

Fact-Check: Nostradamus Prediction for the Russia - Ukraine War?

10.Famous 'Tunnel Of Love' in Ukraine

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Tunnel Of Love in Ukraine

The Tunnel of Love is a semi-abandoned railway line in Klaven, North-Western Ukraine noted as being the most romantic place on earth. This enchanting natural train tunnel is surrounded by green arches formed by trees on both sides of the single-track railway line. Its romantic setting attracts many couples to the place. According to local legends, couples who visit the place will have their wishes granted.

11.Ukraine invented the gas lamp

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Ukraine Invented the gas lamp

The gas lamp invented by two Lviv-based pharmacists - Jan Zeh and Ignacy Łukasiewicz in 1853 is one of these groundbreaking inventions. Invented by a local pharmacist in a store called At the Golden Star, today the achievement is remembered by a cafe called Gasova L’ampa found in the same building.

12.World’s largest Sunflower seed producer in Ukraine

Ukraine is the world's largest producer of sunflower seeds, followed closely by Russia. The US is the world's 10th largest producer of sunflower seeds, with most being grown in South Dakota and North Dakota. It is estimated that the total size of Ukraine’s sunflower farmlands could cover the entire territory of Slovenia.

13.The 'Breadbasket Of Europe'

The vast tracts of arable land in Ukraine with fertile black soil made it an ideal place for growing wheat and other food crops. As such, it was nicknamed the "Breadbasket of Europe”. Today, Ukraine continues to be one of the largest producers of wheat in the world.

14.National costume of Ukraine: Vyshyvanka

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National Costume of Ukraine is Vyshyvanka

Vishyvanka is the name of National Costume of Ukraine. This is differentiated from others because of its embroidery work which features Ukrainian embroidery. Vishyvanka is a plain white shirt made of linen and decorated with floral or ornamental hand-sewn embroidery. And the speciality of the costume is that it is worn by both men and women.

15.The highest mountain in Ukraine: Mount Hoverla

With the height of 2061 m, Mount Hoverla is the highest mountain in Ukraine. Mount Hoverla is a part of the Carpathian mountains. Since the late 19th century Mount Hoverla has been a notable tourist attraction. Over the years mountain got popularity as an extreme sports site also.

Transport in Ukraine

Ukraine has a well-developed system of public transportation. Every large city and regional center is connected to the railway network and receives passenger trains daily from other major cities. Many cities also contain cheap and efficient bus and tram services, costing as little as 8UAH (0.3$). Airports in Ukraine are easily accessible by public transport and service buses, or taxis which would cost about 7UAH per km. To reach Kyiv Boryspil Airport you can also take an express train from the railway station.

Interesting Facts About Ukraine's Geography

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Ukrainian city of Dnieper

1.It has one of the lowest population densities with only 73 individuals per square kilometer.

2.The capital, Kyiv, is also the largest city in the nation with almost 3 million people. It can be found in the North Central Ukraine on both sides of the Dnipro River. Other major cities include Kharkiv, Odessa, Dnipro, and Donetsk.

3.There are two different biomes in Ukraine. The northern and western regions are a mixed forest with temperate climate and broadleaf trees. Meanwhile, the southern and eastern regions are steppes with grassland plains and few trees.

4.The highest point is at the summit of Mount Hoverla. It rises to a height of 2,061 meters above sea level or 6,762 feet. This is part of the Carpathian Mountains and has been a prominent tourist destination since the late 19th century.

5.The seven major rivers in Ukraine are the Danube, Dnipro, Desna, Prypiat, Southern Buh, and Siverian Donets. Around 95% of the country’s rivers are part of the drainage basins of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

6.Rain is much more frequent in the west and the north of the country. The Carpathian Mountains receive about 1,200 mm of annual precipitation. Meanwhile, Crimea to the south only gets 400 mm every year.

7.The temperature in Kyiv ranges from 61 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit in July and falls to 21 to 30 degrees in January. It is hotter for the southeastern city of Dnipro at 65 to 83 degrees in July and 21 to 32 degrees in January.

8.Aside from Ukraine, the Black Sea is bordered by Russia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, and Romania. It drains into the Turkish Straits consisting of the Bosporus and the Dardanelles. There is a deep layer of water that doesn’t mix or drain, allowing the preservation of ancient shipwrecks.

9.The country’s name is widely thought to come from the ancient Slavic term for borderland. It was referred to as “The Ukraine” until independence was declared in 1991. The article was officially dropped in favor of the politically correct “Ukraine”.

Facts about Ukraine’s History

1.The world’s first constitution was drafted and introduced in 1710 by Ukrainian Hetman Pylyp Orlyk. The document was aimed at introducing the separation of powers. It outlined the responsibilities and rights of both citizens and government.

2.Ukrainian civilizations date back to 4800 B.C. The country is located in an area where Trypillian and Scythian civilizations thrived.

3.Thousands of Jews were offered protection by Ukrainian religious leaders during the World War II. One of the leaders, Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky was honored in 2013 by the Anti-Defamation League for his humanitarian role. The Jews found refuge in monasteries and Ukrainian homes.

4.Ukraine is home to several archaeological sites that were previously Neanderthal settlements. The settlements feature a mammoth bone dwelling and is viewed as a possible location for the domestication of horses. The Molodova sites date back to 43,000–45,000 BC.

5. Russia and Austria showed very little interest in Ukraine in the 19th century. The country was predominantly rural. The situation changed as Ukrainian modernization and urbanization expanded.

6.Catherine the Great and some of her successors advocated increasing German immigration into Ukraine following the Russo-Turkish War in the late 1700s. The primary objective was to dilute the country’s demographic, which was characterized by a dominant Turk population.

7.Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt met at the Yalta Conference in 1945, which was hosted by Ukraine. The meeting was aimed at charting the way forward in relation to the organization of post-war Europe. The venue, Livadia Palace is now a museum.

8.Kiev boasts the Hero City status, which was conferred by the Soviet Union in honor of its fierce resistance to the Nazis in 1941. The Germans surrounded the city in what became known as the Battle of Kiev.

9.The country shares ties with Western Europe that go back 1,000 years. Anna, the daughter of Grand Prince Yaroslav helped pave the way for strengthening of relationships when she became the Queen Consort of France in 1051. She played a huge role in exposing French people to Eastern culture.

10.As for modern humans, there are 32,000-year-old fossils in the Crimean Mountains discovered in 1991. Beside the bones were ivory ornaments that indicate ties to the Gravettian culture that spread across the continent of Europe.

11.Researchers from the University of Cambridge attempted to find the origin of the domestication of horses. They used different modelling techniques using a genetic database of horses and traced everything back to the western Eurasian Steppe consisting of Ukraine, West Kazakhstan, and Southwest Russia.

12.The land of the present-day Ukraine was part of the Scythian Kingdom from 700 BC to 200 BC. Scythia is the name given by the Greeks but they called themselves “Scoloti”. They used to be nomadic with a culture that centered around horseback riding.

13.Kievan Rus became the most powerful European state from the 10th to 11th century, and at its center was Kyiv. The Golden Age began with Vladimir the Great who converted from paganism to Christianity. The kingdom followed his lead.

14.The Mongols invaded in the 13th century and destroyed Kyiv. They occupied much of Eastern Europe and pushed westward towards the Atlantic Ocean. When Ogedei Khan, son of Genghis Khan died, they returned to their homeland and spared the rest of the continent.

15.The Russian Empire collapsed after World War I and was replaced by the Russian Republic under the Bolsheviks. Ukraine became one of the founders of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1922.

Facts About Sports of Ukraine

1. Football is the top sport in Ukraine with the clubs Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk enjoying immense popularity. The country’s best finish in the World Cup was in 2006 when they went as far as the quarterfinals.

2. Andriy Shevchenko is one of the most recognizable names in Ukrainian football having played in clubs like Chelsea and AC Milan. A lethal striker, Shevchenko tallied 67 goals in European tournaments during his illustrious career.

3. The Klitchsko brothers, Vitali and Wladimir, dominated boxing’s heavyweight division from the late 1990s to the 2000s. They never fought each other in a pro match due to a promise they made to their mother.

4. Ukraine has enjoyed tremendous success in rhythmic and artistic gymnastics. Their athletes have won several Olympic gold medals in the 1990s including Tatyana Gutsu, Oleksandra Tymoshenko, Lilia Podkopayeva, and Ekaterina Serebrianskaya.

5. Ukraine’s best swimmer is Yana Klochkova with four Olympic gold medals to her name. Affectionately called the “Goldfish”, she won the individual medleys in the 200m and 400m events at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004. She is also a world champion in 400m freestyle.

6. In 2008, Vasiliy Lomachenko won gold for Ukraine in boxing’s featherweight division. He repeated the feat in the lightweight division four years later. Now a pro boxer, he has captured belts in three divisions thanks to exceptional footwork and speed.

7. In 1994, Oksana Baiul won Ukraine’s only skating gold medal at the Winter Olympics. She is the country’s first Olympic champion since gaining independence. At 16, she turned pro and started a US tour to maximize opportunities.

8. Vladislav Terzyul is among the world’s top high-altitude climbers. His most notable feat is climbing all the 8000-meter peaks including Everest and K2. He is the first Ukranian to do so. Terzyul died descending Makalu in 2004.

9. Chess is popular sport in Ukraine with the country having around 85 grandmasters. At 14, Ruslan Ponomariov became the youngest grandmaster in the world for men in 1998. He won the world title at the age of 18.

Ukraine Economy

1.Ukraine leads in the world in the production of sunflower oil. It is also among the largest producers of corn, wheat, potato, sugar beet, barley, tomatoes, apples, pumpkins, carrots, cucumbers, cabbage, rye, walnuts, buckwheat, dry peas, and honey.

2.Ukraine has one of the highest numbers of IT-certified professionals behind the US, India, and Russia. This makes it a top outsourcing destination for companies all over the globe. In 2019, it became the biggest IT services exporter in Europe.

3.The country has large mineral reserves and half of the known deposits are now being exploited. According to 2019 USGS statistics, Ukraine is included in the Top 10 producers for iron ore, manganese, titanium, graphite, and uranium.

4.The country has a space rocket industry under the management of the State Space Agency of Ukraine. The Yuzhnoye Design Office created the Zenit-3SL carrier rocket and the first stage core of the Antares rocket.

5.Ukraine is a popular tourist destination in Eastern Europe with over 10 million visitors each year, most coming from nearby countries. The Carpathian Mountains are suitable for adventures while the Black Sea coastline offers long sandy beaches. It also has ancient castles, vineyards, impressive churches, and other attractions.