The largest country entirely within Europe has a coastline at the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov in the southeast. Ukraine borders Russia in the northeast and east, Belarus in the northwest, Poland, and Slovakia in the west, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova to the southwest.
The country covers an area of 600,000 km²; it is about twice the size of Italy or slightly smaller than the US state of Texas.
Ukraine’s landscape consists mainly of plains and plateaus, only the Carpathian mountains in the west reach 2,061 m (6,760 ft.) at Mount Hoverla (Hora Hoverla), the highest peak in the country.
The country has a population of 41.6 million people (in 2020), the capital and largest city is Kyiv. Spoken languages are Ukrainian; Russian is widely spoken, especially in the eastern and southern parts of the country.
Big, diverse and largely undiscovered, Ukraine is one of Europe’s last genuine travel frontiers, a nation rich in colorful tradition, warm-hearted people and off-the-map experiences.
Vibrant cities, ancient castles, stunning countryside, diversity of landscapes and a welcoming attitude all help make it a special destination, regardless of its troubles.
The lack of mass tourism lends Ukraine a charm and authenticity often missing elsewhere.
Interesting facts about Ukraine
- The geographical centre of Europe is situated in the territory of Ukraine, not far from the city of Rakhov in Zakarpattia region.
- The first state constitution in Europe was created by a Ukrainian politician Pylyp Orlyk. On April 5th, 1710 he was elected the Hetman of Zaporozhye troops. On the same day Pylyp Orlyk has announced “the Constitution of the rights and freedoms of Zaporizhye army”. For example, U.S. Constitution was adopted in 1787 and French and Polish in 1791.
- The first computer in continental Europe was built in Kiev under the supervision of the scholar Sergey Lebedev and well-known scientist Victor Glushkov in 1950.
- AN-225 “Mria” (from Ukrainian – “a dream”) is today the biggest and the heaviest aircraft with the highest cargo capacity in the World. This unique cargo plane was constructed in the 1980′s by the Antonov’s Development Laboratory (Kiev, Ukraine). Its length is 84 m, height – 18 m, total cargo capacity – 250 tons.
- Ukraine contains around 5% of the worlds mineral resources.
- More than 12 million foreign tourists visit Ukraine each year, to see the Carpathian Mountains, the coastline of the Black Sea, the Dnieper River, vineyards, ruins of ancient cities and castles; ancient churches, cathedrals, and monasteries; world-class opera and ballet, and more.
- Ukraine has the World’s 5th largest and fastest growing IT outsourcing services market in the World, with revenues in 2011 expected to reach $1 billion.
- Famous people that are Ukrainian or of Ukrainian extraction are Vitali and Vladimir Klitschko, Andrey Shevchenko, Vasyl Virastyuk, Sergey Korolev, Vladimir Vernadsky, Ilya Mechnikov, Simon Kuznets, Nikolay Amosov, Mikhail Bulgakov, Ilya Repin, Kazimir Malevich, Sergei Prokofiev, Ruslana and many others.
- The horse was first domesticated on the territory of Ukraine.
- Arsenalna, a metro station on Kyiv’s Sviatoshynsko-Brovarska line, is the world’s deepest at 105.5 metres below ground.
- Kyiv’s main street, Khreshchatyk Street, is often referred to as the shortest yet widest main drag in the world. At only 1.2km long but remarkably broad, the street, which was destroyed in Second World War, is a focal point of the capital.
- Lviv also claims to be the home of the first ever gas lamp. Invented by a local pharmacist in a store called At the Golden Star, today the achievement is remembered by a café called Gasova L’ampa found in the same building.
- Ukraine, which inherited a large nuclear arsenal after the break up of the Soviet Union, has the second largest military in Europe behind Russia.
- Within its large borders, Ukraine has seven World Heritage Sites, including the 11th century Saint-Sophia Cathedral in Kiev, the ancient city of Chersonesus, and the primeval forests of the Carpathians. Another is the Struve Geodetic Arc, a chain of survey triangulations linking Hammerfest in Norway to the Black Sea in Ukraine. It “helped to establish the exact size and shape of the planet and marked an important step in the development of earth sciences and topographic mapping,” according to Unesco. Beyond its World Heritage Sites it has a wealth of majestic Orthodox cathedrals, including St Michael’s in Kyiv.
- Another Ukrainian claim to history is Chernobyl, the site of the world’s worst nuclear power plant disaster. The location in northern Ukraine is now the centre 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 every day upon previous booking.
- You can ski there. It’s no French Alps, but Ukraine has about four or five ski resorts to shout about, including Bukovel in the Carpathian mountains, with 55km of slopes and 15 lifts.
- The grave of the founding rabbi of Hassidism, situated near Uman’, is a pilgrimage site for Hasidic Jews.
- The Cultural Capital, Lviv, has the highest number of cafes per capita
- Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra is one of the biggest Orthodox monasteries in the world