Ukraine has been in the news for the better part of the year. Since Russia invaded its neighbors in February 2022, there has been mayhem in the former Soviet state. The new development is that the G-7 leaders convened after coordinated Russian missile strikes on civilian targets in cities across the country. It is the latest in a series of efforts to find a resolution to the crisis – hopefully, it succeeds.
The war aside, Ukraine is a fascinating country. It has a rich history and captivating architecture – all coupled with a thriving cafe culture that has overtaken many other European countries. But there is more! Here are eight interesting facts about Ukraine.
After its neighbors, Russia, Ukraine is the second-largest country in Easter Europe. The nation has boundaries and coastlines on three seas. It is between Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, and Russia, with the Black Sea to the South and the Sea of Azov to the Northwest. It shares a border with Romania too.
The climate varies from region to region but is hot and dry in the south and east, while it is cool and wet in the west and north.
Ukrainian is the official language of Ukraine. It is spoken by approximately 67 percent of the population. However, 30 percent of the people in Ukraine speak Russian as their first language. Interestingly, Ukrainian ranked second in terms of melody, only behind Italian. In the same year, it was ranked third in terms of beauty, behind only French and Persian.
As a second or third language, Romanian is spoken by 7 percent of the population, Crimean Tatar by 5 percent, Bulgarian by 3 percent, Hungarian by 3 percent, Armenian by 1 percent, and Belarusian by 1 percent.
More than 40 percent of sunflower oil in the world comes from Ukraine. The country also exports 16 percent of the world’s corn. But the Russian war on Ukraine has left some 22 million tons of grain stuck in that country, awaiting export.
The implication is that many countries that depend on wheat imports will face severe shortages in the coming year – especially in developing regions like Africa. This is backed by geopolitical expert Amir Handjani who notes that the Russia-Ukraine war will continue to drive food prices higher.
Seeing the darkness of the subway below atop the high escalator is quite frightening. The depth of Arsenalna metro station is 105.5 meters below ground, located along Kyiv’s Sviatoshynsko-Brovarska train line. These deep-lying stations, however, were built at the height of the cold war, when nuclear bombs threatened Kyiv’s citizens.
A charity concert by Queen’s lead singer Paul Rodgers set a record for the group’s attendance in 2008. Over 300,000 people gathered on Kharkiv Liberty Square, Europe’s largest square.
The country’s recent independence epitomizes this. In 1991, Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union. The victory encouraged Ukrainian youth to believe they could thrive on their own. In the years following independence, Russia has continued to exercise its power.
Despite this, Ukrainians are patriotic and proud of their history. This country, barely over a decade older than most millennials, has a bright future because of its accelerating agricultural and IT industries.
Trembitas are Ukrainian wind instruments that are the longest in the world. A trembita is a wooden trumpet with a diameter of roughly 30 mm and a height of 2.5 to 8 meters. It is documented in the Guinness Book of Records. As a means of communication, mountain villages used the tremble to inform people of events like the start and conclusion of workdays, childbirth and marriage, and impending danger.
Contrary to popular belief, Kyiv isn’t the origin of the tasty stuffed chicken breast dish. There are a number of theories about its origins. Some believe it originated in the Russian Empire, while others believe it originated in France and became a part of Russian culture.
According to some, it originated in France and found its way into Russian culture under Côtelettes de volaille. In the 20th century, New York restaurants renamed it Chicken Kyiv to appease their Russian clients.
Ukraine is an exciting country, only marred recently by the horror of war. Its history has shaped it over the years, making it a fascinating place with a vibrant culture. Hopefully, the discussion over arms and the situation with the conflict in Russia can end soon, paving the way for peace. For now, you can enjoy these interesting facts about the country that its more powerful neighbor to the north often overshadows.