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A beautiful country in South-Eastern Europe, Ukraine has an interesting history and culture. Known as the birthplace of Slavic culture, Ukraine is also the second-largest country in Europe, after Russia. (Although Russia is the largest European country, Ukraine is the largest country entirely in Europe.)
Famous for food such as borscht and pyrih, Ukraine is also popular for drinks such as medovukha and nalyvka. But there’s a lot more to this Eastern European country. Here are some of the top facts about Ukraine!
There Are Seven UNESCO Heritage Sites In Ukraine
Ukraine has seven locations on the UNESCO World Heritage List. These are the Saint Sophia Cathedral, L’viv Historic Center, City of Tauric Chersonese, Struve Geodetic Arc, Residence of Bukovinian, Ancient Beech Forests, and the 16 wooden Tserkvas or churches in the Carpathians.
The President Of Ukraine Is A Comedian
President Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelensky has been serving as president of Ukraine since 20 May 2019. Born in 1978 to Jewish parents, Zelensky earned a degree in law but never actually practiced. By the time he was 17, he started working as a comedian and even played the role of the ‘President of Ukraine’ in a show called ‘Servant of the People’ in 2015.
The series resulted in the creation of the political party ‘Servant of the People’ in 2018 and by 2019 he won the presidency. How amazing is this fact about Ukraine?
Medieval Ukraine Was The Birthplace Of Slavic Culture
Known as ‘Kyivan Rus’ or ‘Kievan Rus’, Medieval Ukraine consisted of a federation of Uralic and Slavic people that was established by Prince Oleg of Novgorod in the late 9th century. But after the death of Yaroslav the Wise in the 11th century, the state began to decline and fell to Mongol powers in 1240.
Yet, many people from modern-day Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia all claim Kievan Rus as their cultural ancestors.
Ukraine Is The World’s Largest Sunflower Producer
Producing over 16.5 million metric tonnes of sunflowers in a year, Ukraine is the world’s largest producer. The Russian Federation follows next at 15.3 million metric tonnes per year, whereas the European Union as a whole produces only 9.61 million metric tonnes per year.
The World’s Deadliest Nuclear Disaster Happened in Chernobyl near Pripyat, Ukraine
26th April 1986! A day that no one can forget. An explosion led to the worst nuclear disaster in history. Many lives were lost and millions were affected by nuclear radiation. Nowadays, you can take Chernobyl Tours to see the Chernobyl power plant and the remains of a town that is frozen in time.
The Infamous Tunnel Of Love Is In Ukraine
Part of an industrial railway in Ukraine, the Tunnel of Love is a 3 km to 5 km long section from Klevan to Orzhiv that is surrounded by green arches. The tunnel is still in use by trains transporting plywood, but tourists from across the globe come to take pictures of this charming track.
Ukrainian Boxers Are Some Of The Best On The Planet
Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko are two Ukrainian brothers who dominated the boxing heavyweight championships from 2004 to 2015. The period of time was called the ‘Klitschko era“.
They’re recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records for having won the most heavyweight title fights in the world. Of course, Vitali decided to pull a Schwarzenegger after retiring and went into politics.
Ukraine Is Still At War With Russia!
While Ukraine was busy dealing with political unrest in 2014, Russia annexed Crimea without shedding any blood. But Russia and Ukraine have been at war over Crimea since then. The conflict has claimed thousands of lives and displaced more than a million others. There has been no resolution of the conflict to date!
The National dish Is Borscht, But Varenyky Are Popular Too!
Borscht is the national dish of Ukraine. This beetroot soup is also common in other Easter European countries. But Ukraine has given the world many more amazing dishes – deruny, kotleta po kyivsky, syrniki, ryazhanka, nalisnyky, holubtsi, and more.
Among these, are the famous varenyky dumplings that are stuffed with mashed potatoes, ground meat or veggies, or sometimes with cherries.
In fact, varenyky are almost as popular as Borscht!
Horilka Is An Important Drink At Ukrainian Weddings
You can’t have weddings in Ukraine without serving Horilka. Horilka is part of the engagement ceremony, the bride ransom, gift exchange, and the wedding processions.
This vodka-like strong distilled drink is made from grains, beet, potatoes, or honey. The most popular version of horilka is made with chili peppers and called pertsivka.
Ukraine Is Called The Breadbasket of Europe
With the amount of bread consumed in France, one would think that France is on the pedestal where bread is concerned. But here’s an interesting fact about Ukraine. Because of the rich dark soil found almost all over Ukraine, it is the largest producer of wheat and other grains. No wonder it’s called the ‘Breadbasket of Europe’!
Taras Bulba Was Real – Ish!
The famous novel Taras Bulba written by Nikolai Gogol was based on actual events. The hero was based on the Cossack Ataman Okhrim Makukha from Starodub. Makukha killed his son Nazar during the Khmelnytsky Uprising because he switched to the side of the Poles.
But a century later there was a real Taras Bulba. Taras Dmytrovych Borovets, was nicknamed Taras Bulba after his part as a Ukrainian resistance leader in World War II.
The World’s Deepest Metro Station is in Kyiv
Metro Arsenalna in Kiev is the deepest metro in the world. Because it needed to go past the Dnieper River that surrounds Kyiv, the metro was built 346 feet or 105.5 meters underground. The ride on the escalator to get underground takes as long as 5 whole minutes.
The Pyongyang Metro in Korea has tracks that go deeper at 360 feet or 110 meters, but the metro in Kyiv is still the deepest.
Other Popular Facts About Ukraine
- Kyiv is the capital and also the largest city.
- The national language is Ukrainian.
- The area where Ukraine is located was inhabited as far back as 32,000 BC.
- Ukraine is bordered by 7 countries – Belarus, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, and Slovakia.
- Although Ukraine has the most land area, its population is only 41 million, which is lower than France and Germany.
- Nearly all of Ukraine’s adult population is literate.
- The Ukrainian Currency is called the Hyrvnia and has the symbol ₴ or UAH.
- Ryazhenka is a popular Ukrainian drink made from baked milk.
- Ukraine and Poland co-hosted the 2012 UEFA Euro Football Championship.