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Ukraine Travel and Tourism

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Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Russia to the east; Belarus to the north; Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary to the west; Romania and Moldova to the southwest; and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to the south. The city of Kiev is both the capital and the largest city of Ukraine. Ukraine's modern history began with the East Slavs. From at least the 9th century, Ukraine was a center of the medieval living area of the East Slavs. This state, known as Kievan Rus' became the largest and most powerful nation in Europe, but disintegrated in the 12th century. Ukraine was the home of the first modern democracy, which exhibited republican form, during the Khmelnytsky uprising in the 17th century. After the Great Northern War, Ukraine was divided among a number of regional powers, and by the 19th century, the largest part of Ukraine was integrated into the Russian Empire, with the rest under Austro-Hungarian control. After a chaotic period of incessant warfare and several attempts at independence following World War I and the Russian Civil War, Ukraine emerged in 1922 as one of the founding republics of the Soviet Union. The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic's territory was enlarged westward shortly before and after World War II, and again in 1954 with the Crimea transfer. In 1945, the Ukrainian SSR became one of the co-founding members of the United Nations. Ukraine became independent again after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. This began a period of transition to a market economy, in which Ukraine was stricken with an eight year recession. But since then, the economy has been experiencing a stable increase with GDP growth averaging 24 percent annually. Ukraine is a unitary state composed of 24 oblasts , one autonomous republic , and two cities with special status: Kiev, its capital, and Sevastopol, which houses the Russian Black Sea Fleet under a leasing agreement. Ukraine is a republic under a semi-presidential system with separate legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Since the collapse of the USSR, Ukraine continues to maintain the second largest military in Europe, after that of Russia. The country is home to 46.2 million people, 77.8 percent of whom are ethnic Ukrainians, with sizable minorities of Russians, Belarusians and Romanians. The Ukrainian language is the only official language in Ukraine, while Russian is also widely spoken. The dominant religion in the country is Eastern Orthodox Christianity, which has heavily influenced Ukrainian architecture, literature and music.

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Language of Ukraine - Kiev
Language of Ukraine According to the Constitution, the state language of Ukraine is Ukrainian. Russian, which was the de facto official language of the Soviet Union, is widely spoken, especially in eastern and southern Ukraine. According to the 2001 census, 67.5 percent of the population declared Ukrainian as their native language and 29.6 percent declared Russian. Most native Ukrainian speakers know Russian as a second language. It is sometimes difficult to determine the extent of the two languages. Many people use a Surzhyk (a mixture of Ukrainian and Russian where the Russian vocabulary is often combined with Ukrainian grammar and pronunciation) while claiming in surveys that they speak Russian or Ukrainian (though most can speak bot...

Wildlife of Ukraine - Kiev
Wildlife of Ukraine When one thinks of Ukraine, wildlife does not necessarily spring to mind as it would when thinking about a country such as South Africa. However, Ukraine has a number of protected areas and National Parks all aimed at preserving its natural splendors. Ukraine has quite a diverse landscape providing a number of habitats for a variety of species. Wildlife in Ukraine is certainly not scarce. Forest wildlife in Ukraine attracts many bird watchers keen to view fascinating bird species. Ukraine can be divided into four flora zones which are Mediterranean, steppe, forest-steppe and forest. Beech trees are found throughout the western area of the forest zone. In the north of the forest region you will find pine, linden and o...

Wedding Customs of Ukraine - Kiev
Wedding Customs of Ukraine Traditional Ukrainian wedding customs are made up of various ceremonial stages sealing the union of the groom and bride. Younger generations are in some cases following Western wedding customs, however, those from more traditional families or couples in villages still observe the wedding customs of Ukraine. A wedding in Ukraine is a solemn occasion involving important religious rituals, but it is also a time of great joy and fun-filled parties. The Ukrainian wedding begins with the formal engagement when the groom approaches the bride's parents along with some older married men(starosty) to ask if he may marry her. A bottle of horilka is presented by the groom and the bride will drape a rushnyky around the starosty. ...