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Ukraine Travel Guide

The Ukraine is a large country of around 600,000 square kilometres, which borders with Russia to the east, Poland, Romania and Moldova to the west and the Black Sea flowing around its south. There are around 48 million people living in the Ukraine, all of whom originally descended from the Ukrainian and Russian people. Most of the population are of Ukrainian Orthodox or Ukrainian Catholic and strive to make a living from products such as coal, metals and electric power, doing business with countries such as Russian, Germany and China.

During the mid 17th century, a Ukrainian country was formed called the Cossack Hetmanate, a state which remained independent for over 100 years. By the end of the 18th century the Russian Empire got to occupy most of the Ukrainian territory, but with the czarist Russian collapse in 1917, the Ukraine finally got its chance of independence. Autonomy was short-lived though, as 3 years later the country was once again under Soviet rule, with famines during the early 1920’s and 30’s causing millions of deaths, with millions more during WWII. In 1991, with the termination of the USSR, the Ukraine gained independence but even today their liberation remains vague and countrywide fraud has put a plug on financial change and social freedom.

The main activity that people enjoy whilst travelling around the Ukraine is hiking, especially in the southwest’s Crimea and Carpathians. Some of these treks will take walkers to areas such as Manhup-Kale Mountain, where remnants of an ancient cave city can be found, and to the stunning Uchansu and Dzhur-Dzhur waterfalls. Boat trips are also possible, taking visitors down the Dnipro from Kiev to Odessa, a great way to see the country at a laid back pace. Taking a trip to the capital of Kiev, visitors will be able to explore the area known as Old Town, a place packed with historic goodies including an 11th century cathedral and centuries old churches. Further on is the city’s promenade, a busy area with many trendy shops to while away the hours in and a market close by, where locals and tourists can buy fruit and vegetables. Andriyivsky Street is the most beautiful of Kiev’s streets, full of galleries, restaurants, cafes and shops, with the Chernobyl Museum just a few roads down. The museum displays information about the most devastating nuclear disaster in history, which occurred only 62 miles away! South of Old Town is the fascinating 1051Caves Monastery, a place made up of a collection of gold domed churches, stylish monastic buildings turned museums and underground mazes, which are edged with mummified monks…! Nearby there is also the Historical Treasures Museum, where visitors will be overwhelmed with artefacts, precious stones and metals.

Moving around from place to place in the Ukraine is much faster by train and the good news is that they’re cheap, regular and comfortable! Buses are also popular, especially for getting around shorter distances, cheaper than trains but also busier, hotter and slower! Flying to the Ukraine is possible from most key European cities and various places in North America, which fly to Kiev’s Boryspil International Airport in Kiev, 25 miles from the centre. The other airport at Lviv, located 5 miles from the heart of the city, accepts flights from places including Chicago, Amsterdam and London and lastly, Odessa's airport, 7miles from downtown takes flights from Moscow and Vienna. Weather-wise, the best time to arrive is in the spring, which starts in late April and ends in early June. At this time of year the flora is in bloom and most tourists have gone home!

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