Things you didn’t know about Ukraine

Written by: Samantha Wolhuter

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Ukraine is a country rich in history and culture. The full story of this charming Eastern European nation is a bright and vibrant one. It’s made a name for itself not only as one of the most sought-after resource pools for the world’s biggest leaders in tech but also as one of Europe’s tourist and culture capitals.

Here’s a list of some interesting facts and anecdotes about Ukraine.Here’s a list of some interesting facts and anecdotes about Ukraine.Here’s a list of some interesting facts and anecdotes about Ukraine.

It’s large

Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe sitting at just over 600,000 square kilometres. It borders 7 countries, namely Russia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova. It has a population of just under 45 million people and is host to the Oleshkovsky desert, the largest in Europe. Speaking about size and length, the Ukrainian wind instrument called the trembita is the longest musical instrument in the world.

It’s considered to be the heart of Europe

Although this is a claim held by a few other countries (it is after all dependant upon how and from which side you measure Europe) a small Ukrainian town just outside of Rakhiv in the West is considered by many to be the geographical centre of Europe.

It’s deep

Ukraine is also home to the world’s deepest train station. Arsenalna, a station on Kiev’s Sviatoshynsko-Brovarska line, sits at 105.5 metres below ground. The escalator ride to and from the station lasts up to five minutes, and many locals with poor time management tend to run up and down the long steps. The station is so deep it requires multiple escalators and platforms just to reach it.

It’s home to seven World Heritage sites

Due to its prime location in Europe, Ukraine has played home to many important historical events and architecture. The 11th century Saint-Sophia Cathedral in Kiev draws thousands of visitors from around the world each year, and so do the ancient city of Chersonesus and the primaeval beech forests of the Carpathians. Another World Heritage site is the Struve Geodetic Arc, a chain of survey triangulations linking Hammerfest in Norway to the Black Sea in Ukraine. According to Unesco it “helped to establish the exact size and shape of the planet and marked an important step in the development of earth sciences and topographic mapping”. Apart from its World Heritage sites, Ukraine is lit with majestic Orthodox cathedrals, including St Michael’s in Kiev.

Its people are smart

Ukraine has one of the highest higher education percentages in Europe per capita. It is ranked 4th in the world for the most amount of citizens with higher education. It is also home to the oldest university in Eastern Europe, the Ostroh Academy which was founded in 1576.

It was once the breadbasket of Europe

Ukraine had a large and impressive agricultural industry, partly due to the country having a fourth of the world’s black soil reserves. Due to this, the country was heavily relied upon to feed the Soviet Union under Stalin. Because of the high demand in a short space of time, the agriculture industry couldn’t keep up with new requirements. This was one of the leading causes of the Great Famine which in 1932–33 killed over 7 million Ukrainians.

Ukrainians love burgers and vodka

The McDonalds near the train station in Kiev is ranked as the third most frequented in the entire world, racking up over 2 million orders each year. Ukraine is also ranked 6th in alcohol consumption by the World Health Organisation with nearly 14 litres consumed per capita per year. Ukrainians enjoy horilka, a clear spirit meaning ‘burning water’, which is the national drink.

It’s considered a caffeine capital of Eastern Europe

When Ukrainians aren’t chugging horlika and vodka you can find them frequenting a host of cafes sampling some of the best coffee in Eastern Europe. The city of Lviv is host to what some consider the most amount of cafes per capita in the world.

It’s the birthplace of the world’s first ever constitutions

The author of the world’s first constitution is Ukrainian Pylyp Orlyk. On April 5, 1710, he was elected the Hetman of the Zaporozhian army. On the same day he announced the “Constitution of the rights and freedoms of the Zaporozhian Army”. It established a democratic standard for the separation of powers in government between the legislative, executive and judiciary branches.

Ukraine has a vibrant and colourful history and has played major roles in the development of Western society. Today the country is on the cutting edge of IT and technological development and infrastructure, and due to this, we are sure that more Ukrainians and locations of Ukraine will be included in this type of list in the future.

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Last modified: April 20, 2020
Author info
Samantha Wolhuter
Sam has been involved in creative writing since she can remember. She is a digital nomad always on the go, inspiring us with her words from some of the world's most beautiful locations.