Ukraine is a beautiful country in Eastern Europe, with many unique places to see and things to do. From the spectacular mountains, forests, and seas of its natural landscape to the cultural attractions of its national history, there is much for travelers to see and do in this landlocked nation.
Ukraine’s rich cultural heritage dates back to the days of Kievan Rus’, when it was a powerful political entity that encompassed much of what is now modern-day Ukraine and Russia. The Kyivan Rus’ Federation lasted from the 9th to the 13th century, and it is often thought of as the birthplace of Ukraine’s national identity.
In modern times, the country has seen wars and political upheavals, as well as economic and social turmoil. These events have fueled the country’s sense of national identity, revitalized the Ukrainian language, and reinvigorated the military.
The current Ukrainian government has adopted a patriotic agenda and resisted the annexation of Crimea by Russia and an armed conflict in the east. The government has also banned relays of leading Russian TV stations and is blocking access to several popular Russian websites.
Despite the challenges, Ukraine has a strong economy and is a highly diversified country. Its main industries include oil, coal, electricity, and manufacturing. It is a major producer of raw materials, with large deposits of iron ore, manganese ore, chalk, and limestone.
A significant portion of Ukraine’s population relies on agriculture for income. Agricultural production includes wheat, peas, corn, potatoes, and vegetables; dairy products and meats; fish; and fruits.
Food is a huge part of Ukrainian culture, and many people make sure to enjoy traditional foods from home and local producers whenever possible. These can include borshch (beet soup); varennyky (“pirogies”), dumplings filled with savory or sweet fillings; pickled and fermented foods; and cured meats, sausages, and salo (cured pork fatback).
Some of these items are available in supermarkets. However, it’s not uncommon for Ukrainians to have their own gardens and grow their own foods as well.
While Ukrainian cuisine has benefited from western-style mass-produced food, the country’s culinary traditions are thriving, and it is a great place to experience them firsthand.
In addition to Ukrainian food, the country has fantastic national parks and other natural sites. It is the home of 7 national historical and cultural reserves, and there are a number of breathtaking mountain ranges and other spectacular natural landscapes.
There are also a number of museums and art galleries dedicated to Ukraine’s rich culture, with works from all areas of the country represented. The city of Kyiv is a world-class center of art and music, and there are plenty of other excellent venues for the arts throughout the country.
The Ukrainian art scene is rich and diverse, with deep antiquity-inspired embroidery, pysanky (wax-resist decorated Easter eggs), and other fine artistic traditions. It is a good idea to take your time and explore Ukraine’s unique heritage, as it will help you develop a deeper understanding of this vibrant and diverse nation.