Wellcome to Ukraine

Welcome To Ukraine!

Just few general facts to get you acquainted a little bit with this wonderful and amazing country. Like index cards. If you’ve got more time, please read information below.

Location: Eastern Europe (Neighbors are Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Russia, and Belarus. Ukraine is part of former Soviet Union or USSR, one of the NIS states (“Newly Independent States”).

Population: about 48 million.

Area: 603,000 km2 (slightly larger than France and slightly smaller than Texas)

Capital: Kyiv or Kiev (Kyiv is derived from Ukrainian and Kiev from Russian. While Kyiv is now considered politically correct, Kiev appears in Google seven times more frequently).

Major cities: East of Ukraine – Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Zaporizhya, Luhansk; West of Ukraine – Lviv; South – Odesa, Mykolayiv, Yalta.

Languages: Ukrainian and Russian (Ukrainian is Ukraine’s single official government language; but in everyday use the languages are about equally popular across Ukraine, though proportion of usage differs widely by region. However, the vast majority of the population is functionally bilingual).

Geography: 95% of Ukraine is flat or nearly flat, with small rolling hills. In the west the Carpathians rise to 2061 m (Hoverla mountain), and in the south the Crimean Mountains 1545 m.

Climate: Temperate continental, except for a small strip of Crimea’s southern coast, which has a Mediterranean climate.

Date of independence: August 24, 1991

Major religions:

Ukrainian Orthodoxy, Moscow Patriarchate

Ukrainian Orthodoxy, Kyiv Patriarchate

Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodoxy

Ukrainian Catholicism (Uniate)

Currency: Hryvnia (or grivna, if transliterated from Russian), abbreviation = UAH

Government structure: Republic

National holidays:

January 1 – New Year’s Day

January 7 – Christmas (Orthodox calendar)

March 8 – International Women’s Day

May 1 and 2 – International Workers’ Solidarity Day

May 9 – Victory Day

June 28 – Constitution Day

August 24 – Independence Day

Economy: Principal exports are metals, minerals, electronics, chemicals, and vegetables.

Ukraine is located in Eastern Europe and shares its border with seven countries, including Russia. It is partially bounded by two bodies of water – most notably, the Black Sea. Ukraine is delineated into 24 provinces (called oblasts) and Crimea, which is an autonomous republic. Kiev is the capital of Ukraine and the largest city, followed by Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, and Odessa. One of the most famous cites in Ukraine is Yalta where the Yalta Conference was held in 1945. The national currency is the Hryvna. Ukraine is a very popular destination for North American, European and Asian travelers with its world-class resorts that dot the Black Sea. Tourists from the United States and most of Western Europe, including the European Union and Japan, do not require visas and can stay up to 90 days without further documentation.

Ukraine has more than 180 airports with most international flights landing at Boryspil International Airport (KBP), which is approximately 29 km (18 miles) from Kiev. Other main airports in Ukraine include Zhulyany Airport (domestic) and Gostomel Airport (cargo). Ukraine has many regional airports that make travel between its cities convenient and affordable. Ukraine International Airlines is the national air carrier and has regular service to major airports world-wide. Approximately 60 international air carriers serve the Ukrainian market including Delta, KLM, Lufthansa and Air France. Travel time between Kiev and London is approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes. From the east coast of the United States, Kiev is approximately 12 hours, with connecting flights offered at London Heathrow, Paris or Frankfurt. For domestic flights within Ukraine travelers rely upon the national airlines, Ukraine International Airlines and regional carriers such as Air Ukraine. For more information about getting to Ukraine see our flights center.

Visitors to Ukraine can choose from many types of accommodations. In the capital of Kiev, most luxury hotels have convenient access to shopping venues, entertainment and dining establishments. Some of the finer hotels in Kiev include the Hyatt Regency, Radisson SAS. Many three star hotels are also available in Kiev and other metropolitan areas. Throughout the country travelers can find a range of accommodations including hotels, youth hostels, apartments and other types of rentals. Many local and family owned hotels offer exceptional hospitality with charming and comfortable rooms that are well-appointed. Apartments are also available for rent and can be a real bargain for travelers that wish to have the comforts of home. For those who prefer group travel and full service facilities, tour operators offer packaged holidays excursions to some of Ukraine’s finest attractions. For more information about accommodations please visit our hotel directory.

Kiev, which is considered to be the religious hub of Ukraine, is home to many churches, monasteries and theological attractions. St. George Cathedral is home to the Icon of the Virgin; Uzhgorod Synagogue displays its ornate architecture; and St. Sophia’s Cathedral serves as the oldest and most beautiful cathedral in Ukraine. For those who enjoy cultural attractions, Ukraine has some of the finest acting troupes in Europe. With its world-class theatrical and performing arts centers, the cities offer numerous venues to enjoy original Ukrainian productions. High on our list of must-see theaters include the Live Drama Theater in Podol and the Taras Shevchenko National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet. Ukraine also has a number of outdoor attractions for visitors of every age. The Kiev Zoo, the Botanical Gardens in Kiev, and the Odessa Catacombs are all favorites of locals and visitors alike.