Each country has unique history and fade. Ukraine is not an exception, but a bright approval to these words. We would like to invite you to the country, where people are always happy to meet their guests, the country where you will be met with smile and sincere Ukrainian hospitality, the country where you may found out how to be happy and joyful!
Ukraine, the land of emotions! Here you may feel yourself as a baby in a toy's store, where you are allowed to choose whatever you wish, where your biggest baby-dream to make a fascinating journey to the Dreamland will come true.
Our country, is surprising island of love and cordiality, where each nook of this island is original, authentic and totally unlikely land. Wherever you go, your expectations will always be exceeded. Just pass through the vast expanses of Ukrainian lands, meet sincere kind-heartedness of the natives, visit one of the most ancient cities of Europe: Lviv, be the honorable guest of the Kiev (Kyiv)-city, pay a visit to rich for the historical monuments, Chernigov (Chernigiv) or Ukrainian industrial giant: Kharkov (Kharkiv), get acquainted with blessed Kossak lands Dnepropetrovsk (Dnipropetrovsk) and Zaporozhye (Zhaporizhzhya), enjoy the spicy Odessa, sense of humor and revel in the warm and gentle waters of the Black Sea, you will fall in love with this country forever.
Having visited Ukraine just once, you will surely come back! Again...and again...
Geography and population
Ukraine, with a territory of 603.7 thousand sq kilometres and a population of 48.4 million people, is one of the biggest countries of Europe. Administratively, Ukraine is made up of 24 Oblasts and one Autonomous Republic (Crimea). The capital city is Kyiv.
Ukraine is bordered by Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova on the west and south-west, and by Belarus and Russia on the north and north-east; on the south, Ukraine is bordered by the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.
The longest river is Dnipro, and the biggest mountain chain is the Carpathians. It is in the Carpathians that the geographical centre of Europe is located.
Among 454 cities and towns of Ukraine the biggest are: Kyiv (population 2.6 million); Kharkiv (population 1.6 million); Dnipropetrovsk (population 1.1 million); Odesa (population 1.1 million); Donetsk (population 1.1 million), and Lviv (population 802 thousand).
The population of Ukraine is 48.5 million people. The number of ethnic Ukrainians is over 37.5 million people (77.8 of the entire population); over 8 million people are ethnic Russians (17.3 percent of the entire population). 67.5 percent of the Ukrainian citizens regard Ukrainian as their mother tongue.
Climate and natural resources
Ukraine climate is temperate continental, and subtropical at the southern coast of the Crimea. The mean temperature in January is 5o C (+ 23 F) and + 20o C (68 F) in July.
95 percent of the Ukrainian territory is spread out over the Eastern European Plain; 5 percent of the territory is taken up by mountainous areas; 14 percent of the land is covered with forests; 4 percent water reservoirs; 1.6 percent swamps. 71 percent of all the land in Ukraine is arable, with 12 million hectares (30 million acres) having the fertile black soil (chernozem). 5 percent of the world mineral resources are concentrated in Ukraine (coal; iron and manganese ores; uranium; graphite, and rock-salt).
Ukraine possesses a considerable economic, industrial and agricultural potential; it has gained a wide and positive experience in such industries as metallurgical, mining, energy production, chemical and metal-working. Grain harvests can be up to 50 million metric tons a year (Ukraine has long been known as the bread basket of Europe).
At the same time, Ukraine has inherited from the Soviet Union a malformed and inefficient economic complex and outdated material basis. At present, Ukraine is going through a difficult transitory period. Structural reforms, particularly in the industrial sphere, are badly needed but they are implemented either too slowly or not at all; industries with the closed cycle of production are insufficient in number; the law system is flawed and because of its imperfections cannot stimulate the growth of the private sector of the economy, or provide conditions necessary for the successful development of small-sized and medium-sized businesses; investments are slow to come.
In the post-soviet period, the gross national product of Ukraine has dropped by 52 percent; the industrial production shrank by 48 percent and the agricultural production was reduced by 51 percent. Unemployment and poverty became major social problems.
All of these factors contribute to the existence of the shadow economy which has reached such proportions that now, according to some estimates, about half of the Ukrainian gross national product is prodused in the shadow sector which employs about 11 million people. A sharp social polarization of the Ukrainian population has resulted, with 10 percent of the population earning 40 percent of all the revenues. Prime-ministers who are dismissed practically every year do not have enough time to work out a worthwhile economic policy. The current government has been in power for too short a time for political and economic analysts to pass any definite judgement on it.
Ukraine is tolerant to religious confessions of all kinds.
The biggest religious denominations are the Orthodox Churches of the Kyiv and Moscow Patriarchates (the Kyiv Patriarchate, dissolved in the Russian Empire, was re-established after Ukraine independence). The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and the Greco-Catholic Church, banned in the Soviet Union, were revived after Ukraine regained her independence.
51.6 percent of the Ukrainian population declare themselves Orthodox Christians. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate has 10 040 parishes (which constitutes almost 72.3 percent of all the parishes) in Ukraine; The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate has 3196 parishes; The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church has 1110 parishes, and the Greco-Catholic Church has 3334 parishes, Roman Catholic has 842 parishes.
There is a number of other Christian confessions: Protestant, Evangelical Christian Baptist, and others; Judaism and Islam are practised religions as well. There are 262 Judaic communities and 462 Muslim communities in Ukraine.