Did you know that Ukraine is our biggest receiver market? Yup, that’s right. Situated in Eastern Europe, Ukraine accounted for 30% of our total money flow last month. And that’s not even one of the fun facts featured in this piece. Speaking of which…
It’s big, beautiful and reasonably young (but also very old). Here are 7 things you didn’t know about Ukraine.
It’s big. Boy, is it big…
In fact, Ukraine is the largest country in Europe. It’s not quite as big as Russia, but seeing as much of Russia’s land sits in Asia, Ukraine gets the crown for Europe’s biggest state.
Covering 603,628 sq. km, Ukraine is three times bigger than the United Kingdom, stretching from Poland to the west to Russia in the east. And it’s not all size and no substance. Comprising exquisite mountains, forests, rivers, valleys and even a desert—yes a desert—Ukraine has plenty up its sleeve for visitors.
The natives speak Ukrainian (and they do so beautifully)
The official language of Ukraine is—you guessed it—Ukrainian. And in 1934, it was voted the 3rd most beautiful language after French and Persian based on phonetics, vocabulary, phraseology and sentence structure. It’s also considered to be the 2nd most melodious language after Italian.
But Ukrainians don’t just settle for speaking their native language. Oh no. Many are actually bilingual, speaking both Russian and Ukrainian on the regular. Sigh.
And they love a tipple (cheers to that!)
Of the litres glugged by capita, Ukraine ranks 6th for alcohol consumption according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). (Side note: it’s only fair that we include the countries that rank higher. These are Belarus, Moldova, Lithuania, Russia and Romania).
But even though it officially sits on the vodka belt, Ukrainians don’t just exclusively drink the ‘little water’. Their national drink is called horika, which translates to ‘burning water’. The fact that it’s often flavoured with chilli pepper now makes a lot more sense.
Chicken Kyiv is not actually from Kyiv
As fans of the stuffed chicken bread dish, we find this one a little difficult to write. But it turns out that Chicken Kyiv does not actually originate from Kyiv. Rumour has it that it was created in the Russian Empire, but some have disputed this crediting France for its creation. They argue that it then became assimilated into Russian culture under the name, Côtelettes de volaille, before it was then renamed ‘Chicken Kyiv’ by New York restaurants trying to appeal to its Russian clientele in the 20th Century.
But there are plenty of foods that the Ukrainians can take ownership of. They include varenyky (boiled dumplings with potatoes, mushrooms, sauerkraut, cottage cheese or cherries), holubtsi (stuffed cabbage rolls of meat, rice and carrots) and borscht (a beetroot, cabbage and potato soup). That said, many Russians claim that the latter actually derives from the motherland. Either way, it’s delicious.
Ukrainians are clever and beautiful
Ukraine has one of the highest higher education percentages in Europe per capita. In fact, it takes 4th place in the number of citizens with higher education. Pretty impressive, huh?
And we’re not one to be objective, but it should also be noted that Ukraine is apparently home to some of the most beautiful women in the world. According to The Traveller’s Digest, the city of Kyiv ranks highest for beauty, beating Stockholm, New York and Buenos Aires. Yes, there’s a lot more to life than looks but Ukrainians have both beauty and brains.
It’s got history—a lot of history
Ukraine is technically one of the youngest countries in the world, having been part of the Soviet Union until gaining independence in 1991. But there’s evidence that ancient civilisation in the country dates back as far as 40,000 B.C. Wow.
The country is also home to archaeological sites that were formerly Neanderthal settlements. In fact, the Moldova sites date back to 43,000-45,000 B.C. Despite the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war, things are looking bright for Ukraine’s future. Thanks to its ambitious (and intelligent) natives and accelerating agricultural and IT industries, there’s much hope and opportunity ahead.
The Ukrainian president is a comedian (literally)
This is no joke. You read it correctly. Volodymyr Zelensky, the current president of Ukraine, was a professional comedian before his landslide election win in 2019.
Having trained as a lawyer, Volodymyr Zelensky created his own TV and film production company, Kvartal 95 in 2003. He later played the role of President of Ukraine in the comedy show Servant of the People, which ran from 2015-2019. On New Year’s Eve 2018, Zelensky announced his candidacy for the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election and won 73% of the ballots less than four months later. Crazier things have happened, we guess. Or have they?
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