"A Land of Golden Wheat" Top 5 Page for this destination Ukraine by hunterV

Ukraine Travel Guide: 7,608 reviews and 28,802 photos

Discover Ukraine!

If you were asked to name the second largest country in Europe, your answer most likely would be France or Germany. You might be surprised to find out, however, that neither answer is correct. The country in that position is Ukraine, a populous Central European state, but one about which most of the world knows little. Six European countries: Austria, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Portugal and Switzerland could be located on the territory of Ukraine.
The name Ukraine appeared first in the chronicles of 1187. The name itself means settled virgin land and Ukrainians were the people who "ukrayaly", that is, took plots of virgin land and settled them.
Ukraine is known for its hospitable people, its magnificent architectural and cultural heritage and kilometers of gently rolling steppe.
The Ukrainian capital, the regional centers and other big cities have a lot to offer a foreign tourist: a stay in good hotels, visits to museums, theaters and other places of interest. Outside the cities there are lots of villages surrounded by beautiful landscapes consisting mainly of plains.
Only 5% of the territory of the republic is mountainous. The highest elevation in Ukraine occurs in the Carpathian Mountain range in the southwest of the country. Greatly beloved by the Ukrainian people, the Carpathians are extremely picturesque. The highest peak in the Ukrainian Carpathians is Mount Hoverla that reaches the elevation of 2,061 meters (6,762 feet).
Another region where the elevations rise over 600 m (1,900 ft) is the Crimean Mountains in the south of the Crimean peninsula.
There are thousands of big and small rivers and streams (they say there are 22,400 all in all), hundreds of lakes and ponds. The biggest of the Ukrainian rivers is the Dnipro, the third largest river in Europe, that runs almost through the middle of Ukraine and divides the country into two parts: Left-bank and Right-bank territories. Most of the streams, tributaries and rivers empty into the few main rivers and flow southward into the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.
The territory of Ukraine stretches for 900 km (560 miles) from the north to the south and for 1,316 km (818 miles) from the west to the east.
Ukraine is famous for its mild climate with summer temperature of more than 30 degrees centigrade and winter temperature seldom falling below 20 degrees frost. The climate is alpine in the Carpathians, whereas it is similar to that of the Mediterranean along the coast of Crimea.
One of the well-known aspects of the Ukrainian art is that of church architecture. Some of the churches erected in the 17th and 18th centuries represent the unique style known as Cossack Baroque which shows how Ukrainian artists asserted their originality and dedication to their native traditions. Many Ukrainian churches and cathedrals are adorned with splendid murals and mosaics, which are especially admired today.
Since the introduction of Byzantine Christianity in 988 most Ukrainians have belonged to the Orthodox Church. In 1596 the Ukrainian Catholic Church was formed. A number of Ukrainian bishops faithfully joined in a union with Rome while retaining their traditional Eastern rituals. Like the Orthodox clergy, the Ukrainian Catholic clergymen were allowed to marry.
At present there are three Orthodox Churches in Ukraine:
- the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) - the only canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine internationally recognized by all the Orthodox Churches;
- the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the self-proclaimed "Kiev Patriarchate" whose head was anathemized for his schism;
- the Ukrainian Autocephaly Orthodox Church (since 1920), a non-canonical church independent from Moscow Patriarchate and expressing the interests of Ukrainian nationalists.
Lots of old churches and cathedrals have been restored or replicas constructed and dozens of new churches have been built all over Ukraine. More and more people come to churches, especially on Christian holidays.

Lots of Things to See

Ukraine possesses the world's most fertile soil known as black earth. The country has often been called "A Land of Golden Wheat and A Land of White Gold (that is, sugar).

Ukraine has rich flora and fauna. Different kinds of trees are represented in the forests and steppe regions of the country: oak, birch, pine-tree, ash-tree, linden, poplar, maple, willow-tree and many others.
Snowball tree is considered to be an ancient symbol of Ukraine.
Mallow is another old symbol of the Ukrainian countryside.
The Ukrainian fauna includes foxes, hares, elks, roe deer and other wild animals. Plenty of birds can be seen and heard in Ukraine: swans, seagulls, pheasants, larks and, of course, nightingales which brought fame to Ukraine.

Representatives of about 120 nationalities live in Ukraine. The pride of Ukraine is its people: hard working and full of courage, persistence and keenness. The Ukrainian people have inherited a legacy of folk customs, rituals and rites for every occasion and time of the year. These customs and rites have traces of medieval and pre-Christian influences, which make them especially attractive and memorable.

Ukraine has five cities with the population over a million inhabitants: Kiev, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Kharkiv and Odessa. The Ukrainian capital and the regional centers are cities of museums and theaters having a lot of other attractions, among them centuries-old cathedrals adorned with exquisite mosaics, murals and ancient icons. There is an interesting "classification" of Ukraine's areas:
Lviv is the Soul of Ukraine,
Uzhhorod is the Passion of Ukraine,
Lutsk is the Fortress of Ukraine,
Vynnytsia is the Nature of Ukraine,
Ternopil is the Traditions of Ukraine,
Khmelnitsky is the Valor of Ukraine,
Zhytomyr is the Memory of Ukraine,
Chernihiv is the History of Ukraine,
Dnipropetrovsk is the Power of Ukraine,
Poltava is the Glory of Ukraine,
Kiev is the Capital of Ukraine,
Luhansk is the Labor of Ukraine,
Kirovohrad is the Art of Ukraine,
Crimea is the Pleasure of Ukraine,
Mykolayiv is the Mystery of Ukraine,
Zaporizhia is the Cossacks of Ukraine,
Donetsk is the Sport of Ukraine,
Cherkassy is the Center of Ukraine,
Rivne is the Treasure of Ukraine,
Odessa is the Humor of Ukraine,
Ivano-Frankivsk is the Beauty of Ukraine,
Chernuvtsi is the Melody of Ukraine,
Kherson is the Sun of Ukraine,
Kharkiv is the Mind of Ukraine,
Sumy is the Spirituality of Ukraine.

Have a Pleasant Stay in Ukraine!

The historic struggle of the Ukrainian Cossacks is known all over the world. The word Cossack means free warrior. Cossacks were adventurous freedom-loving serfs who had fled their masters and banded together in Southern Ukrainian steppes and on the islands of the Dnipro and undertook the defense of the Ukrainian people. They lived in strict military brotherhood in their permanent fortress called Zaporizhya Sich, which was described by scientists as the first Christian republic.

The Ukrainian language is an independent Slavic language. Although all Slavic languages have much in common, they are just as distinct from each other as, say, German is from Swedish or Dutch. They say the Ukrainian language is the world's second melodic language after Italian. Ukraine is also famous for its unique songs and melodies. Music has always been an essential part of the Ukrainian folk culture. Ukrainians have songs for every occasion and will break into song at the slightest opportunity. Today numerous professional and amateur folk dance groups and choirs popularize Ukrainian folk dancing and singing.

Folk handicraft arts in Ukraine are especially well developed, varied and colorful. Visitors of Ukraine usually take home lots of souvenirs: the famous Ukrainian decorated Easter eggs, ceramics, embroidery and weaving, wood carvings, inlays and other specimens of decorative arts. Ukrainians especially love to embroider and use embroidery not only in the native dress, but also in adorning other clothing, pillowcases, tablecloths, curtains and altar cloths. The designs are done in bright-colored thread, often with colors of red and black predominating.

Kiev, the capital of Ukraine situated on the banks of the Dnipro, has a spacious open-air museum of folk architecture located on its outskirts, a cave monastery called Laura and other religious shrines. He who visited Kiev once will never forget its picturesque hills, splendid architectural monuments, shadowy streets and hospitable people. You have to be a poet to be able to describe everything you have seen in Kiev.

Each city has a growing number of cafes and restaurants where you can order different exquisite dishes to your taste. You can find Greek, Chinese, Mexican, Italian and other restaurants and cafes. You can also listen to unique folk instruments and modern pop-groups.

So the visit to this country can offer you a lot and I do hope the things you will find here will all be attractive, relaxing and inspiring.

Attending the meetings of the East-Ukrainian English Club at Shevchenko National University in Luhansk I met some Americans who lived and worked in Luhansk either as Peace Corps volunteers or as businessmen. This is what they told us about their impressions:

"Ukrainians are the most hospitable and unselfish people..."

"I belong here in Ukraine."

"To be honest with you, Ukraine has taught me to have patience. Life will go on after a cold shower..."

"I do love Ukraine because of the nice friends I've met here"...

"I'll remember the good hearts of the people"...

"I believe in the future of Ukraine"...

Please take a look at:
22 Photos That Show The Incredible Beauty Of Ukraine

And, of course, a very popular video clip about Uraine: I Was Born Here....

Here is a great Vimeo video about Ukraine impressions....

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Reasonable market prices, wonderful views of the countryside, hospitable people and beautiful young ladies
  • Cons:Expensive hotels, terrible quality of many roads and sidewalks, low wages of the working people
  • In a nutshell:Hospitable People Everywhere You Go and Inspiring Stories of the Glorious Past
  • Last visit to Ukraine: Feb 2016
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (38)

Comments (107)

  • davidjo's Profile Photo
    Sep 21, 2015 at 9:01 PM

    Very informative and i also did not know it was the second largest country in Europe

    • hunterV's Profile Photo
      Sep 21, 2015 at 10:43 PM

      It is even called the biggest country in Europe now. They mean, the entire country is in Europe, unlike Russia, which was regarded as the biggest one before because of its huge European part....

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Feb 12, 2015 at 1:57 AM

    "dObroho ranku!" ? I enjoyed reading your very informative tips about the second largest country in Europe. I have never been to the Ukraine but I have some excellent Ukrainian students in my classes here in Frankfurt am Main.

  • arturowan's Profile Photo
    Oct 13, 2014 at 5:35 AM

    It is quite amazing how little is known about Ukraine, in my country, considering what a large landmass it is, & the extent of its culture - only the negative images ever emerge, such as Chyornobyl, crime, & war - it's a shame because there's so much more that's positive...

    • hunterV's Profile Photo
      Oct 15, 2014 at 12:43 AM

      You are right, Roy! Live and learn....

    • arturowan's Profile Photo
      Oct 15, 2014 at 1:22 AM

      I learnt SO MUCH from my 4 trips to your country - now I can even read & write Russian - & I have always struggled with languages!

  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo
    Jun 6, 2012 at 4:58 AM

    Victor. Dobryi den. A nice overview of Ukraine. i like that you presented both sides, the lovely and the not so lovely. Well done. Good information. regards from Maryland

  • iblatt's Profile Photo
    Sep 30, 2011 at 8:52 AM

    Hi Victor! Thanks for visiting my Gaash page! I'm now slowly working on my Rome page: so much to write about there!.. I enjoy reading your pages about the Ukraine. Best regards, Ilan

  • King_Golo's Profile Photo
    Jul 10, 2011 at 11:11 AM

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about your country!

  • sachara's Profile Photo
    Apr 18, 2011 at 10:49 PM

    Victor, interesting inside information about your country ! Many updates, since I visited your page in 2009.

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Apr 14, 2010 at 8:57 AM

    Thank you for this thorough introduction to your country. I'm looking forward to seein just a tiny part of it in Lviv in June :-)

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Mar 29, 2010 at 7:52 AM

    Lots of pride for your country, which I admire. Loved the license plates, the poem, national anthem, EXCELLENT warnings, and transportation tips. Yes, you do have a multitude of holidays [my favorite was the beekeeper holiday]!!

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Mar 1, 2010 at 3:31 AM

    Dobryi Den Victor. Lots of useful and interesting information on your homeland of Ukraine. I admit, I do not know much about your country, but I am looking forward to visiting Lviv.

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