12 Fascinating Facts That Will Put Ukraine on Your Travel List
Ukraine is a unique country and despite a patchy start when I got scammed by a taxi driver, I absolutely fell in love with this beautiful country and its people. Despite the fact that its history is intertwined with Russia, it has a proud, fascinating culture and a lot to offer. With its charm, gorgeous and unique churches, nature and cheap prices, Ukraine is a must-visit for everyone. I would love to share some fascinating facts about Ukraine that I learnt during or after my visit, online or though guides or locals.
Ukraine is the biggest country in Europe after Russia
In terms of land size, Ukraine is the second biggest country in Europe. They also happen to be one of the biggest grain exporters in the world. It is fascinating that the flag of Ukraine represents the sky (blue) over grain fields (yellow).
It Is Ukraine
There is no article before Ukraine so it is not “The Ukraine”. It is considered actually offensive if you use the article. You have been warned…
Ukrainians Are An Educated Bunch
Most Ukrainians are secondary or higher degree qualified. They are considered one of the top four literate countries with more than 99% literacy rate. Ukraine has a multitude of colleges, universities and research centres.
But They Don’t Travel Much
More than 80% of Ukrainians have never set foot outside the country. I am not sure of the reasons but I like to think they prefer to welcome people over to their country and be amazing hosts.
Ukrainians Love to Drink
Ukraine is sixth in terms of alcohol consumption in the WHO List. There’s a lot of variety but the best drink on offer isn’t vodka, it is actually ‘Horilka’. Horilka actually means burning water because it is mostly flavoured with chilli pepper. (Vodka means little water by the way). Now imagine a punch that delivers to you throat, it was quite something. There are also a lot of great wine bars in Kiev.
Ukraine Gave Up being a Nuclear State
After its independence from USSR, Ukraine was left with the third biggest pile of the nuclear warheads after The USA and Russia. It voluntarily decided to give up the entire arsenal for nuclear disarmament and got guarantees from superpowers of its safety. Such an amazing example of nationhood!
Sadly, It Is Also The Spot for The Worst Nuclear Atrocity
Most people know about Ukraine because of Chernobyl, which isn’t fair. The incident happened during the USSR rule. During a test that went horribly wrong a nuclear reactor exploded and the result was probably the worst nuclear fall out in human history. The accident created 400 times more radiation than the Hiroshima Atomic bomb.
Ukrainians Are A Smart Bunch
Kiev gave birth to the biggest aeroplane ever made by humans. It was so huge that it was built to transport other planes. Only one such beast ever existed though and it was called Antonov An 225 Mriya.
Let’s Go Deeper
The deepest underground station in the world is located in Kiev. With 105 m depth, it is a mission to go up and down. It takes roughly 5 minutes on the escalators in each direction from the top to the bottom. It might not seem a lot to you but on average it doesn’t even two minutes on London tube station escalators. There are also stories about how the tunnels around the station have bunkers to save important people during a catastrophe.
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#Kiev: The metro system is Kiev is host to the deepest station in the world; #Arsenalna. It goes down a whooping 105.5 metres and the riding time to go down to the platform level is more than 4 minutes. I have sped the video 16x to give you a little taste of this engineering wonder… . . . . . . . . . . . . #deepestmetro #engineering #Арсена́льна #kievdiaries #visitkiev #explorekiev #kyiv #hyperlapse #timelapse #travelfun #underground #travelstories #solotrip #ukraine #travelukraine
Cafe Capital of the World
Lviv is considered the cafe capital of the world. With more than 1500 cafes, it has more cafes per capita than any other city in the entire world. That is on top of all the gorgeousness of this beautiful city.
Are They Religious or Just like Eggs?
Most people in Ukraine follow the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church. There are some amazing and beautiful churches throughout the country. It was part of that devotion that they started decorating and painting the easter eggs. A tradition that has since caught on and celebrated around the world.
Ukraine Gave Birth to Hasidism
The founder of Hasidism Ba’al Shem Tov was born in Ukraine and shared his teachings throughout his life to surrounding areas. Ukraine is the birthplace of Hasidism.