Ukraine


Pronounced 'ew-KRAYN', Ukraine (not 'the' Ukraine) is the largest contiguous continental European country located in Eastern Europe and home to more then 46 million peopleWith Russia bordering to the east and Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova to its west, the only coastline seen in Ukraine is to the south against the Black Sea. 

Made up of 24 oblasts (provinces) and one autonomous republic (Crimea), Ukraine is a unitary republic state with a semi-presidential system with separate legislative, executive, and judicial branches and a pretty epic National Anthem. Two major cities in Ukraine receive special status: Kiev (the capital and largest city of Ukraine), as well as Sevastopol (which houses the Russian Black Sea Fleet under a leasing agreement). 

National Flag - Coat of Arms

With the fall of the USSR, Ukraine became an independent nation in 1991. With it's significant abundance of natural resources including iron ore, coal, manganese, natural gas, oil, salt, sulfur, graphite, titanium, magnesium, kaolin, nickel, mercury, timber and an abundance of arable land, it's no question of why it's seen many take-overs throughout it's history. 
While Ukrainian is the official national language, Russian is also widely spoken and used primarily in lager cities. A general rule would be that Ukrainian is spoken in the West and Russian in the East. 

While we all picture freezing winters when we think of Ukraine (which will be true), Ukraine is for the most part a  temperate continental climate - meaning there will be seasons! I know to some this is no big woop, but being from Southern California where we lack all but one year around season, I'm excited to see change. 

Architecture, and more specifically church architecture, is probably the main iconic aspect of Ukraine and is heavily influenced by the dominant religion in the country, Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Domed gold buildings is something I'm going to have to get used to - but I think I'll survive. 

Before I cue the montage of things I can't wait to see, I think it's cool and interesting to note a few final facts...
  • Access to free education is a right to the Ukrainian people! 
    • Furthermore, higher education is also free of charge - though highly competitive to get accepted into
  • Access to free healthcare is also an Ukrainian right
  • Hryvnia (UAH ₴) is the common currency and is equivalent to 0.126 of a US dollar - things will be cheap!
Photo Montage
Mother Motherland, Kiev
People's Friendship Arch, Kiev
Swallow's Nest, Crimea
Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle, Kamianets-Podilskyi 
Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster, Chernobyl
Hiking!

Please comment if you know of any other cool places I should visit.
I would love to know!

Special thanks to Wikipedia




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