Ukraine is a unique hospitable country with beautiful nature, friendly people and delicious cuisine. It is situated in Eastern Europe. Ukraine borders the Russian Federation, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova and the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. It is the largest country in Europe, it occupies an area of 603,628 km². The territory of the country is divided in 24 regions.
The capital of Ukraine is Kyiv (Kiev).
Ukraine is a president / parliamentary republic. The major law is the Constitution of 1997. The power in the country is shared between the Head of the executive power (the President), the Parliament (called Verkhovna Rada) and the Court system.
Ukraine is a unitary state of 24 regions (oblasts), Crimea (an autonomous republic) and two cities with special status: Kiev, the capital and the largest city, and Sevastopol, which houses the Russian Black Sea Fleet under a leasing agreement.
The population of Ukraine is 46 million people, among them: ethnic Ukrainians (77.8%), Russians (17%), Belarusians and Romanians.
Ukraine is a republic with three power branches: executive, legislative and judicial. After termination of the Soviet Union, Ukraine maintains the second-largest military in Europe, after Russian.
The official language of Ukraine is Ukrainian, but Russian is also widely spoken.
As for the religion, there are many confessions, but the dominant one is Eastern Orthodox Christianity, that had a strong influence on Ukrainian literature, music and architecture.
The official state language is Ukrainian as stated in the Constitution of Ukraine. Mainly Ukrainian language is spoken in the Western and Central parts of Ukraine, especially it dominants in cities (such as Lviv). In addition, many people speak Russian, particularly in the Eastern and Southern Ukraine. Central Ukraine uses both Ukrainian and Russian equally in cities, with Russian more common in Kiev, while Ukrainian in rural areas.
Ukraine has a mostly temperate continental climate, with humid subtropical climate on the south of the Crimean coast. Winters are cold, but on the coastline of the Black Sea they are warmer. The precipitation is higher in the west and north, lower in the east and southeast. The average temperature of the year in Ukraine is around +11…+13 C in the south and +5…+7 C in the north.
According to the rankings of World Tourism Organization Ukraine is the 8th most popular place for tourists visiting in Europe. Ukraine is situated in the heart of Europe; it is a crossroad point between Central and Eastern Europe, North and South. Ukraine has beautiful nature, mountain ranges – the Carpathian Mountains for hiking, skiing, hunting and fishing; vineyards to produce native wines; a coastline of the Black Sea for summer vacations; historical parks, ruins of ancient castles, Orthodox and Catholic churches, mosques and synagogues, medieval castles and national reserves.
Kiev, the country’s capital city is the 7th most populous city of Europe. It is famous for the giant Mother Motherland titanium statue on the Right bank of the Dnieper River, Kiev Pechersk Lavra (Monastery of the Caves), Saint Sophia Cathedral, Mariyinsky Palace, the reconstructed Golden Gate and broad boulevards. There are many other interesting cities in Ukraine, such well-known to tourists as the old Lviv and harbour city Odessa. The Crimea is a very popular vacation destination for summer on the coastline of the Black Sea with its warm climate, ancient ruins, plateaus and solid mountains. Visitors should also try ship cruise tours on Dnieper River from Kiev to the Black Sea. There is a list of seven prominent historical and cultural monuments of Ukraine, it is called “Seven Wonders of Ukraine”.
One of the growing sectors of Ukrainian economy is IT (information technology) market. In 2007, Ukraine was on the top of IT market of all other Central and Eastern European countries, growing up to 40%. According to the number of certified IT professionals Ukraine occupies the 4th place in the world, after such countries as the United States, India and Russia.
Ukraine is good at production of transportation vehicles and spacecraft. Many countries import famous Antonov airplanes and KrAZ trucks. Ukrainian exports its goods and products mainly to the European Union and CIS. The country imports most energy supplies, especially oil and natural gas, but at the same time, Ukraine delivers 85% of the Russian gas to Western Europe.
After independence, Ukraine has taken an active part in remote sensing missions and scientific space exploration. In 1991 – 2007, Ukraine has launched 6 self-made satellites, 101 launch vehicles and continued to design spacecraft. Ukraine owns its proper space agency, the National Space Agency of Ukraine (NSAU).
Ukrainian cuisine offers a large number of original dishes. Ukrainians drink mineral water, tea and coffee, juice, stewed fruit, milk, buttermilk (cottage cheese is made of it), wine, beer and horilka.
The traditional Ukrainian food is chicken, pork, beef, fish and mushrooms. Also Ukrainians like to eat many fresh and pickled vegetables, potatoes and grains. The most popular traditional dishes are: varenyky (boiled dumplings with different fillings, like mushrooms, potatoes, sauerkraut, cottage cheese or cherries), borsch (soup cooked of beetroot, potato, cabbage and meat) and holubtsy (stuffed cabbage rolls filled with a mix of rice and meat). While in Ukraine, it is advisable to try such specialties of local cuisine as Chicken Kiev and for a dessert Kiev Cake.
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