Last updated on March 19th, 2020
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. Kiev is its capital and largest city. It has a total area of 603,550 square km. Ukrainian is its official language. Its official currency is Ukrainian hryvnia (₴) (UAH). Its seven land bordering countries are Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Russia, and Belarus. The religion plays a strong influential role in shaping Ukrainian music, literature, and architecture. With these 40 interesting facts about Ukraine, let’s learn more about its history, culture, people, food, and more.
10 facts about Ukrainian culture
1. According to Ukrainian folk tales, Kiev boasts up to three official witch gathering places. They share the name Lysa Hora (Bold Mountain).
2. Weaving with handmade looms is still used in some parts of the country, including Krupove, located in Rivne Oblast.
3. Unlike many cultures around the world, Ukrainians wear wedding rings on the right hand not the left.
4. “O Sole Mio” the world-famous song was composed in the country.
5. Ukrainian romanticism started developing in the 1830s. Romanticist poet-painter Taras Shevchenko played a central role in this regard. He is widely regarded as the father of national revival.
6. Commemorated on June, the 23rd, Ivana Kupala Day is one of Ukraine’s most fun traditional celebrations. Boys and girls join hands in pairs and jump over a fire in a purification ritual. Locals believe that when a couple skip the fire without losing grip of each other, their love is destined to last a lifetime.
7. Vyshyvanka is the Ukrainian national costume. It is decorated with ornamental hand woven embroidery featuring floral detail. Both women and men wear the costume on various occasions.
8. Kiev is widely regarded as the country’s spiritual capital. Pilgrims regularly travel long distances to visit the Sofia Kyivska church and St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery.
9. The popular Easter egg tradition originated in Ukraine. Originally, the eggs were patterned using wax and dye. The wax was eventually removed leaving an impressive pattern with dashing colors.
10. The world’s longest musical instrument also originates from Ukraine. The pipe piece is aptly named Trembita.
Flag of Ukraine
10 facts about Ukraine’s history
11. Ukrainian civilizations date back to 4800 B.C. The country is located in an area where Trypillian and Scythian civilizations thrived.
12. Thousands of Jews were offered protection by Ukrainian religious leaders during the World War II. One of the leaders, Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky was honored in 2013 by the Anti-Defamation League for his humanitarian role. The Jews found refuge in monasteries and Ukrainian homes.
13. Ukraine is home to several archaeological sites that were previously Neanderthal settlements. The settlements feature a mammoth bone dwelling and is viewed as a possible location for the domestication of horses. The Molodova sites date back to 43,000–45,000 BC.
14. The world’s first constitution was drafted and introduced in 1710 by Ukrainian Hetman Pylyp Orlyk. The document was aimed at introducing the separation of powers. It outlined the responsibilities and rights of both citizens and government.
15. Russia and Austria showed very little interest in Ukraine in the 19th century. The country was predominantly rural. The situation changed as Ukrainian modernization and urbanization expanded.
16. Catherine the Great and some of her successors advocated increasing German immigration into Ukraine following the Russo-Turkish War in the late 1700s. The primary objective was to dilute the country’s demographic, which was characterized by a dominant Turk population.
17. Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt met at the Yalta Conference in 1945, which was hosted by Ukraine. The meeting was aimed at charting the way forward in relation to the organization of post-war Europe. The venue, Livadia Palace is now a museum.
18. In 1986, Ukraine witnessed the world’s worst nuclear power plant disaster. The tragedy occurred at the Chernobyl plant located in the northern part of the country. The area has since been declared an exclusion zone. The disaster and declaration led to the emergence of several ghost towns. The area attracts multitudes of tourists despite the high levels of radiation.
19. Kiev boasts the Hero City status, which was conferred by the Soviet Union in honor of its fierce resistance to the Nazis in 1941. The Germans surrounded the city in what became known as the Battle of Kiev.
20. The country shares ties with Western Europe that go back 1,000 years. Anna, the daughter of Grand Prince Yaroslav helped pave the way for strengthening of relationships when she became the Queen Consort of France in 1051. She played a huge role in exposing French people to Eastern culture.
5 facts about Ukrainian food and cuisines
21. Borsh and varenyky are some of the most popular traditional Ukrainian dishes.
22. Lviv is home to the highest number of cafes per capita in the world. It boasts up to 1,500 establishments.
23. McDonald’s in Kiev is reportedly one of the busiest in the world.
24. Ukrainians love drinking horilka, which is a local variant of the famed vodka. Locals often flavor this national drink with chilli pepper to give it a bit more punch.
25. Locals also enjoy drinking stewed fruit (Kompot), which is a non-alcoholic sweet beverage. It is prepared by cooking different types of fruits, such as gooseberries, rhubarb, strawberries, apples and sour berries among others. The drink is often flavored using spices, particularly in winter months when it is served hot.
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