FROM THE CYCLE "TOURS IN UKRAINE"
THE ARTICLE: TOURIST UKRAINE
If you want to visit Ukraine but have no idea where exactly to go, our web-site will be a reliable assistant and a tour guide in choosing trips in picturesque cities of Ukraine, it will be a good base of interesting tourist routes and a reference book on particular places and sightseeing attractions of the country.
The history of Ukraine counts thousands of years and tells us about the history full of tumultuous events resulted in peculiar rich culture, numerous traditions, Ukrainian folk living, cuisine, sightseeing attractions, outstanding persons, who spread glory of Ukraine far beyond its borders, hospitality and kindness of people, always ready to heartily welcome guests of their cities.
Ukraine has always been a unique bridge between mysterious East and magic West. It is located in the center of Europe and is one of its biggest states, being exceeded in territory only by Russia. The territory of Ukraine is 603, 700 sq. km which is approximately 5.7% of the whole territory of Europe. Neighboring states of Ukraine are Slovakia and Poland in the West, Moldova, Hungary and Romania in the South-West, Belorussia in the North, and the Russian Federation in the South-East. The South of the country is bathed by waters of the Sea of Azov and the Black sea.
Climate and nature of the country
Most part of the country (95%) is located on the East European Plain, and only 5% of its territory consist of mountain system: the Carpathians in the Western part (the highest point of which is Goverla mountain, having the height of 2061 m above sea level) and the Crimean mountains in the South (the highest point – Roman-Kosh mountain, having the height of 1545 m above sea level).
Mild moderate climate, plain territory, rich soil, and thick river system provide wonderful conditions for existence of rich and diverse nature, which majesty and beauty are impossible to relate with words.
Water system of the country consists of about 73000 rivers and streams, creating such big river systems as Danube, Dnieper, Dniester, Severny Donets and Yuzhny Bug. The biggest river of Ukraine spread through the whole its territory from the North to the South, is the Dnieper which is the third biggest river in Europe. A unique cascade of reservoirs has been created on the Dnieper including Kiev, Kanev, Kremenchuk, Dneprodzerzhinsk, Dnepr and Kahov reservoirs.
Territory of the country is rich on picturesque lakes and basins. The biggest among them are Yalpug (149 sq.m), Kugurluy (82 sq.m), Sasyk-Sivash (71sq.m).
Horizontal zones of Ukraine alternate gradually from the North to the South: Northern part is occupied with mixed woods of Ukrainian Polissya spread from the East to the West, from the South-West to the North-East mixed forest landscapes are changed by forest-steppe, and there spreads the steppe zone in parallel to it, closer to the Southern border of Ukraine. Forest-steppe and steppe are the most plowed soils, so called zones of intensive farming as far as it has favorable conditions for it – 12mln ha of chernozem soil.
Abundance, beauty and majesty of Ukrainian nature can be observed on the territory of 33 reserves, 17 nature parks, 4 biosphere reserves and 17 national parks.
Mineral resources of Ukraine count about 5% of important world mineral recourses, such as coil, graphite, uranium, manganese and micaceous iron ores, etc.
In general, moderate climate is observed in Ukraine, having 4 clearly distinguished seasons during a year. Weather and climate conditions in Ukraine have rather positive influence on development of economics, tourism and recreation sphere; enable using environmentally-friendly energy resources of the sun and the wind.
History of exploration and settlement on the territory, as well as formation of modern population structure of Ukraine counts not a hundred of years. According to the latest population census conducted in 2001, 48.5mln people live in Ukraine. Overwhelming majority of the population are Ukrainians. However, continuous conquest and dividing of their territory by neighboring states caused the fact that 27% of Ukrainian population are representatives of other nationalities (Poles, Russians, Germans, Byelorussians, Hungarians, Romanians, Moldavians, Crimean Tatars, Armenians, Jews, Gypsies, Uzbeks, Lithuanians, Slovaks, Czechs, Bulgarians, Azerbaijani, Kazaks, and many other but less numerous nationalities). Culture development of ethnic minorities and indigenous communities living on the territory of Ukraine took place in parallel with development of cultural, religious, language and ethnic identity of Ukrainian nation.
According to the national administrative-territorial division, all the territory of Ukraine is divided into the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and 24 regions (Vinnitsa, Volyn, Dnepropetrovsk, Donetsk, Zhitomir, Zaporizhya, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kyiv, Kirovograd, Lugansk, Lviv, Mukolaiv, Odessa, Poltava, Rivne, Sumy, Ternopil, Kharkiv, Kherson, Khmelnitsky, Cherkassy, Chernivtsi and Chernihiv). There are 446 cities, about 1000 small towns and 30000 villages located on their territory.
According to the provisions of Constitution of Ukraine: “The territorial structure of Ukraine is based on the principles of unity and indivisibility of the state territory, the combination of centralisation and decentralisation in the exercise of state power, and the balanced socio-economic development of regions that takes into account their historical, economic, ecological, geographical and demographic characteristics, and ethnic and cultural traditions”.
Ukraine is a big European state, whose rapid development of economy leads the country to a new high economic level year by year.
Ukraine is rather rich on natural resources, namely on mineral products, which is why the most developed industries include ferrous metal industry (represented by producing steel, cast iron, wide range of metal goods), chemical and petrochemical industry (production of mineral fertilizers, soda, coke and acids).
This country has a well-developed industrial base, fertile soil, large agricultural and farming system, developed educational system, highly-qualified personnel, hard-working and entrepreneurial people. Ukraine has big importance for Europe being a transit country, as gas is transported from Russia to Europe through the territory of Ukraine. From ancient times, Ukraine has been at the crossroads of one of the most important trade routes. And nowadays, 5 of 10 international transport corridors cross the territory of Ukraine. The country has a well-developed transport infrastructure, represented by all types of transport (auto, railway, air, sea, river and pipeline). Main sea ports are located in such cities as Odessa, Illichevsk, Mariupol, Kerch, Kherson, Ismail. Waters accessible to navigation include Dnieper, Desna, Pripyat, and Dniester. Each regional center has an airport having not only local but international significance as well. Economical complex of Ukraine is world-famous for such branches as nonferrous-metals industry and ferrous metallurgy, heavy engineering, production of weapons and military equipment, launch vehicles, equipment for space exploration, satellites, and various transport means of general and specialized purpose, etc.
Religion is a very important issue in lives of all Ukrainian people. Most of foreigners think that there is only one religion in Ukraine which is Orthodoxy, but in reality religious sphere in our country is rather many-sided.
That’s true that main part of Ukrainian population is Orthodox. Biggest Orthodox churches in Ukraine are Ukrainian Orthodox church of the Kyivan Patriarchate and Ukrainian Orthodox church of the Moscow Patriarchate. Exactly to these two churches belongs major part of religious educational institutions, congregation. According to the number of supporters, after them follow Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and Ukrainian Byzantine-rite Catholic Church, which has main part of its supporters in Western Ukraine. Quite wide-spread in Ukraine are Judaism (Jews community in Ukraine is the third in size in Europe and the fifth in the whole world), Protestantism, Islam.
Great variety and spiritual wealth of religious life of Ukrainian people find expression in a number of religious sacred places and monuments.
National culture of Ukraine has a very rich historical heritage. Cultural development of the Ukrainians counts several millennia. Trypillya culture can serve as one of the first evidences, which was developing on the edge of VI-III mil. BC. and provided us with daintily decorated pieces of pottery art; Scythian culture – elegant Scythian articles from silver and gold – these are true masterpieces of adornments production, famous for their beauty from ancient times till nowadays (Golden Pectoral is a vivid example that is a breast adornment of Scythian king). Along with developing of civilization, culture of Ukraine was developing as well. Influenced by particular historical period, it absorbed a number of cultural traditions of Kyivan Rus, Byzantine Empire. Great influence had the cultures of neighboring countries such as Poland, Russia, Austria, and Turkey.
Despite influence of foreign cultures and complicated historical path of Ukraine, national culture is the fundamental of our culture development that was a basis for formation of literature, musical, dramatic, fine and architectural arts, and professional science. True carriers and creators of Ukrainian folk culture were peasants, craftsmen, Cossacks, whose art formed peculiar and charming folklore, folk customs and traditions. All their arts are expressed in folk dumas, dances, songs and decorative and applied arts. Saving and continuation of cultural traditions that started to form in times of Kyivan Rus, caused a massive impulse in raise of Ukrainian culture in XVI-XVII cc. and cultural renaissance of XIX c.
Adopting Christianity in X c. became an important step in development of Ukraine. This ensured an impulse in development of various religious ceremonies and customs, a lot of which are already forgotten and are saved only on the pages of legends and stories. At the same time, a number of them are still alive and form spiritual sphere of life for Ukrainian people. After introduction of Christianity, large scale construction of church sacred places started. They were built in different times, have their separate stories, and character of their construction reflects architectural styles of different historical periods (baroque, renaissance, etc.).
Ukraine has rich artistic legacy in the fields of literature, music, cinema art, drama, fine art, architecture, etc. Art works, representing various cultural styles from the times of Trypillya culture and till nowadays, have included Ukrainian culture to the number of masterpieces and treasures of world cultural heritage.
Taking into consideration territorial peculiarities of Ukraine, incredible natural blessings, heroic history full of stormy events, rich culture and traditions, economic and tourist infrastructure, which is getting more and more important for the country development, it is impossible to describe all the historical, cultural and natural heritage of Ukraine in one article. That’s why we suggest you taking a fascinating journey with us through pages of our site. You will visit each region separately and get familiar with tourist attractions, encouraging travelers to visit Ukraine (annual number of tourists reaches more than 20 million people), you will find out what is included in the list of “Seven Wonders of Ukraine”, you will know more about history and culture of Ukrainian people, about interesting archeological findings, traces of ancient civilizations, you will find a lot of interesting information on recreation in Ukraine and latest news of tourism.
Have a good journey and fascinating impressions!
Author Marina Melnichenko