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What you should know about Ukraine

Geographical location.
Ukraine is located in the South-Eastern part of Europe. It occupies the area of 603 628 km².  Geographical center of Europe is located in Ukraine. The terrain is mostly flat with lowlands occupying 71 %, highlands - 26 % and mountains - 3 %.

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Mountains and seas in Ukraine
Crimean Mountains are located in Crimea. Black Sea lies between Ukraine and Turkey. Azov Sea.
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The biggest rivers:


- Dunai (Danube) which has its outflow in Germany and flows through Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and Moldova. 
- Dnepr, which flows throughout whole Ukraine from North to South and divides the country into 2 parts. 
- Dnestr
Climate. Summer in Ukraine is long and warm, in the East and South summers are hot and dry and in the West - warm and wet.  There are snowfalls in winter. Summer temperature is 19 C° to 25 С° and winter temperature is -1 C° to -10 C°.
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Winter in Ukraine

Summer in Ukraine

State symbols and currency.
Flag of Ukraine - yellow and blue stripes. According to popular modern interpretation, yellow colour on the flag symbolizes wheat fields and blue colour represents clear blue sky above the fields.
Coat of Arms of Ukraine - Trident on the blue shield background. Trident was a state emblem and family stamp of Riurikovichi Dukes who were the founders of the state Kievan Rus in IX-XII centuries.
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Currency of Ukraine - hryvna which was introduced in 1996.

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Ukraine has official borders with 7 states, UNO members:
With Russia in the East, Belarus in the North, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary in the West, Moldova and Romania in the South West, Turkey in the South across the Black Sea.

Administrative division of Ukraine.
24 regions (oblast') and Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Each region has a big city as its administrative center.

5 biggest cities of Ukraine:
Kiev is the capital of Ukraine. Kharkov is a scientific and machine building center of Ukraine. Dnepropetrovsk is a city of heavy and chemical industry.

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Lvov is an ancient Gothic city, cultural and scientific center, known as "western capital". Odessa is a sea gate of Ukraine.
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History:
Until IX century the South of Ukraine was populated by Greek settlers and nomads, Slavic tribes lived in the North of the country.  In IX century Kievan Rus state was formed with the capital in Kiev which split into several smaller states in XII century.

19In XIII century the biggest part of Ukraine was a territory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and then of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with capital in Warsaw. The Polish state considered Ukraine its colony, so in 1648 national liberation war against Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth broke out. Zaporozhian Cossacks were the main military power and now Ukrainians honour them as national warriors. National liberation war ended with a treaty between Ukraine and Muscovy (now Russia) against Poland signed in 1654.
 
Gradually Ukrainian lands lost their independence and became a part of the Russian Empire and the western part of Ukraine became later a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

In 1918 due to the fall of the Russian Empire an independent national state was proclaimed in Kiev, but its existence was not long and Ukraine became a part of the Soviet Union.  At that time it was called Ukrainian Soviet Socialistic Republic. After World War II it was joined by Western Ukraine. Ukraine is also one of the founders of the United Nations Organization.

After the fall of USSR in 1991 the Parliament of Ukraine declared independence of the Ukrainian state.

National and cultural specific features.
The main nationalities of Ukraine are Russians and Ukrainians. There are also Crimean Tatars in Crimea. State language is Ukrainian, but all residents of Ukraine know Russian as a second language. The main religion is Christianity and there is also Islam in Crimea.

Ukrainians are very kind and friendly; Ukrainian national character is gentle and tolerant. Older generation is raised in the spirit of international friendship so they are very kind to foreigners and respect foreign culture.

Ukrainian national cuisine consists basically of vegetable soups, pork and beef dishes and pastries.   Dishes are not spicy. A bit of garlic is mainly used to add piquancy to the food.
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Borshch

Vareniki with sour cream

Holidays:
1 January - New Year
7 January - Orthodox Christmas  
8 March - International Women's Day
Easter (the date is established by the Church)
1 May, 2 May - Labour Day
9 May - Day of Victory over Fascism
Trinity (the date is established by the Church)   
28 June - Constitution Day
24 August - Independence Day
14 October - Defender of Ukraine Day

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Air Transport. There are 8 international airports in Ukraine. Direct flights to China are operated only from Kiev. However residents of other cities also take advantage of the popular flights to China. They fly to China via Istanbul.
 
 
23Railway.
Ukraine is seventh in the world in the length of the railways.  All big Ukrainian cities have high-speed railway connection with Kiev. In order to fly to China a resident of Kharkov will make a 4-hour train journey to Kiev (the ticket costs $15) and then will take a direct flight to China. Alternatively, the same person can fly to Istanbul first which will take 2 hours and from Istanbul there is a direct flight to China.
 

24River and sea transport. River transport services are provided on Dnepr and Dunai (Danube) rivers. International sea journeys are usually operated from Odessa sea port.

City transport. Kiev, Kharkov and Dnepropetrovsk have metro system. The ticket fee in metro is $0,15. Trolleybuses and trams operate in 55 towns and cities of Ukraine.


Mobile connection.
  Mobile connection and 3G covers the whole territory of Ukraine and is provided by 3 operators. The cost of mobile connection is very cheap, you spend only $4 a month on your talks. The country telephone code is + 380. The population's access to internet is spreading pretty fast. National web domain is .ua.


Healthcare.
Every regional center of Ukraine has regional hospitals with specialized units as well as specialized core competence hospitals. Besides, there are medical scientific institutes that deal with complicated medical disorders. Medical care is free in state hospitals, but there are also private hospitals. Ambulance call is free. It is not mandatory to have health insurance in order to receive medical treatment.

Recreation and tourism.
Ukrainians' favourite summer resort is the Black Sea coast. Families with children often choose Azov Sea as it is shallow and the water contains lots of iodine. 
In winter many Ukrainians go to Carpathian Mountains to enjoy new ski resorts.
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Prices and quality of food.

The prices in Ukraine are lower than in neighboring countries, especially with regard to food products. Ukraine has the best farming lands in Europe, so the agricultural sector is well developed. Adequate home cooked meals will cost no more than $100 per person per month. The quality of food products is higher than in neighboring Russia.

Foreigners' safety.27
Terrorist attacks do not occur in Ukraine. The streets are safe and you can walk around without any fear even when it is dark outside. Besides, recently a police reform has been carried out in Ukraine. Now police patrol the streets 24 hours a day to ensure safety. Their responsibility is to maintain public order and provide kind assistance to people in any difficult situations.