Ukraine is a country located in southeast Europe. It is bordered by the Black Sea, Slovakia, Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Belarus, Russia, and Poland. It is the second largest country in the continent after Russia. The Carpathian mountain range dominates the western part of Ukraine, while the Crimean mountain ranges rise mightily in the south. The Ukraine’s Black Sea coastline, meanwhile, measures around 1,500km2. Ukraine is home to over 73,000 rivers, most of which pertain to the Black and Azov sea basins. The largest rivers are the Dnieper and the Danube).
Ukraine has a dry continental climate with chilly winters and warm summers. In January, the coldest month, temperatures can drop to -20ºC or lower and heavy snowfall and chilly northeasterly winds can make the weather less than pleasant. In the summer, temperatures hover between 25ºC and 30ºC, though the mercury can rise to 35ºC or higher on the hottest summer days. The best time to visit Ukraine is probably between May and September, when the days are sunny and the nights refreshingly cool.
Ukraine is known for many things; sadly, one of them in Chernobyl, one of the world’s greatest nuclear disasters. This country is also known to have one of the best education systems in the world, having achieved universal literacy and being well known for its top IT and mathematics professionals. Ukranian borshch is one of the most famous soups in the world, with its flavourful blend of beetroot with tomatoes, vegetables and sour cream. Famous Ukrainians include the Klitschko brothers (heavyweight boxers), and Adriy Schevchenko (a well-known international football player). Ukraine is known as the ‘bread basket’ of Europe, producing millions of tonnes of train every year. Finally, it is a haven of picturesque landscapes, including the verdant Carpathian mountain range, and the peaceful beaches of Crimea’s south coast. The city of Lviv, meanwhile, is known as a fairytale-like marriage of baroque, renaissance and art nouveau architectural influences.
The Cimmerians, Scythians and Goths were just a few of the nomadic tribes to call Ukraine home, before the Greek and Roman Empires established their cities in this area. The 10th Century A.D. saw the Kievan Rus merge as a powerful city-state that grew into the most sizeable empire in Europe in the 11th century. This Empire lasted until the 13th century, when Kiev was destroyed by Mongol invaders. Ukraine would eventually form part of other countries, including Poland and Russia. Millions of people died during the artificial famine imposed by Joseph Stalin, and World War II resulted in the death of around one million Ukrainian Jewish people. The year 1986 was one of Ukraine’s most painful, owing to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The collapse of the Soviet Union saw Ukraine gain its independence in 1991.
The forests of Ukraine are home to beech trees, pine, linden, oak and spruce trees, while the steppe zone is home to grassy plains. The wildlife of Ukraine is diverse and includes the red deer, squirrel, wild boar, brown bear, wolf and lynx. Bird species are abundant and include the eagle, skylark and starling. The fresh waters of this country, meanwhile, house bream, carp, perch and zander.
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