1. A Country of Diversity
Ukraine is a country located in south-eastern Europe, bordered by Russia to the east, Belarus to the north, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the west, Romania and Moldova to the southwest, and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to the south. With a population of over 44 million people, Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe after Russia. It is a unitary state composed of 24 oblasts (provinces), one autonomous republic (Crimea), and two cities with special status: Kiev, its capital and largest city, and Sevastopol, which is home to the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Ukraine is a diverse country with a rich cultural heritage, and is known for its beautiful landscapes, including the Carpathian Mountains, the Crimean Peninsula, and the steppes of the south.
2. Ukraine's Christian Heritage
Ukraine is a predominantly Christian country, with the majority of its population belonging to the Eastern Orthodox Church. Other Christian denominations, such as Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, and Greek Catholicism, are also present in the country. According to the 2001 census, approximately 83% of the population of Ukraine identified as Christian, with 77.8% belonging to the Eastern Orthodox Church, 2.2% belonging to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, 1.2% belonging to the Roman Catholic Church, and 1.8% belonging to other Christian denominations.
3. Kiev: The History, Culture, and Art of a Major European City
Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, is home to around 3 million citizens, making it one of the largest cities in Europe. The city was founded by three brothers, Kyi, Shchek, and Khoryv, and is named after the eldest brother, Kyi. This makes Kiev one of the oldest cities in Europe, with a history that dates back to the 5th century. The city is a major cultural and economic hub in Eastern Europe, and is home to a number of iconic landmarks, such as the Golden Gate and St. Sophia's Cathedral.
4. Hearty Borsch from Ukraine
Ukraine's national dish, Borsch, is a hearty soup that is popular throughout Central and Eastern Europe. It is typically made with beetroot as the main ingredient, but there are variations of the dish that don't use beetroot, such as green or white borsch. Borsch is a comforting and flavorful dish that is enjoyed by many Ukrainians and is a staple of the country's cuisine.
5. Ukraine's Low-lying Landscape Makes It an Ideal Place for Agriculture
Ukraine is a country of vast, flat plains, with no significant mountain ranges or hills. The average elevation of the country is only 577 feet above sea level, making it one of the lowest-lying countries in Europe. The flat terrain of Ukraine makes it an ideal place for agriculture, and the country is known for its rich, fertile soil. The flat landscape also makes it easy to traverse, and the country is well-connected by a network of roads and railways.
6. A Country With an Abundance of Natural Resources
Ukraine is a country with an abundance of natural resources, boasting the largest reserves of sulfur in the world and the second largest reserve of mercury. It also has an impressive 5% of the world's iron ore, making it a major player in the global mining industry. With such a wealth of resources, Ukraine is well-positioned to become a major exporter of minerals and metals.
7. Rakhiv, the Center of Europe
The small Ukrainian city of Rakhiv is the geographical center of Europe, a fact that was determined by Austro-Hungarian geographers in 1887. Not only is Rakhiv the center of Europe, but it is also the highest located city in Ukraine, standing at an impressive 430 meters above sea level. This makes Rakhiv a unique and important city in the country, and a must-see destination for anyone visiting Ukraine.
8. Celebrating Independence Day
August 24th is a special day in Ukraine, as it marks the country's national holiday. Celebrations are held throughout the country, with parades, fireworks, and other festivities taking place in cities and towns. The holiday commemorates the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine, which was signed on August 24th, 1991. It is a day of national pride, and a reminder of the country's hard-fought struggle for freedom and independence.
9. Leonid Kuchma: A Leader in Ukraine's Transition to Democracy
Leonid Kuchma is the current head of state in Ukraine, having been elected in 1994 and re-elected in 1999. He is a former Soviet military officer and engineer, and has been credited with helping to bring stability to the country during his tenure. He has also been praised for his efforts to improve Ukraine's economy and to strengthen its ties with the European Union. Kuchma has been a vocal advocate for Ukraine's integration into the European Union, and has been a key figure in the country's negotiations with the EU.
10. Ukraine's Ag Success: Black Earth Soils
Ukraine is renowned for its incredibly fertile black earth soils, which are some of the most productive in the world. This soil type is found in the country's central and northern regions, and is made up of a mix of clay, sand, and silt. It is incredibly rich in nutrients, making it ideal for growing a variety of crops, including wheat, barley, corn, and sunflowers. The soil is also known for its ability to retain moisture, which helps to ensure that crops are well-nourished and healthy. Ukraine's black earth soils are a major contributor to the country's agricultural success, and are a key factor in its status as one of the world's leading grain exporters.