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ABOUT UKRAINE
In this article we want to give basic notions about Ukraine as a political and social unit. Let's consider such questions:
Location
The history of any country first of all starts with its geographical location. Ukraine is situated in European part of the continent and boarders with such countries as Russia, Belorussia, Bolgaria, Romania and Hungary. Its territory cedes to Russia only and holds the 41st position in the list of the world's largest countries. Ukrainian landscape is mostly flatland but there are mountains in the western and southern parts of it. Both regions are tourist friendly, the former are provided with appropriate infrastructure mostly for winter rest, skiing and snow boarding. The latter is a summer destination. In addition to mountains there are two seas which contribute to pleasant sea breeze and a little salty air. Thousands of tourists from all over Ukraine and neighboring countries come to entertain themselves.
Climate
There are four seasons in Ukraine, each of them corresponds its name. Summer is hot, sometimes temperatures reaches 36 C, autumn is usually rainy, wet and cloudy, the coldest month of winter is January. Due to ecological changes winters are getting milder with less snow and little frost. Nevertheless the temperature can fall to 25 C at times. Spring is similar to all around the world, it can be windy, sunny, rainy during one day.
People
Ukraine numbers 46 million inhabitants, with 78% of Ukrainians. We have also a lot of foreign habitants coming to get education or work here.The biggest concentration is observed in large cities like Kiev (2,7 million), Kharkov (1,4 million) and Dnepropetrovsk (1,3 million) and Odessa (1 million). There are still a lot of people living in the countryside.
Culture and Traditions
Ukraine is a multitraditional country, here meet different cultures and nationalities. Beside this, Ukrainians were able to keep two important features - the hospitality and ethnic spirit. There are many ethnic traditions and holidays that are usually celebrated all over the country.
Language
Historically, Ukraine is a bilingual country, on the territory which is nearest to European countries, most of the population speaks Ukrainian language, although in many areas, you are also well understood with Polish, Slovak and Hungarian. The population of the eastern part of Ukraine are mostly speak Russian. In Ukraine, the population is also well educated, that means people can easily communicate with foreigner by means of English.
Drinking and smoking
Ukraine has no much restrictions on smoking in public places or drinking alcohol. However, there are many places where it is prohibited. Hard drinks are allowed to drink at the or of 21 and more, and smoking is allowed for people who are more than 18 years old. Ukrainians have their own national alcoholic beverage named “home-distilled vodka” - “samogon” or “pervak”, which known in the whole world.
Food
Ukrainian cuisine is attracting for many tourists and visitors of the country. Such national masterpieces of Ukrainian national cuisine, like borsch and dumplings are very popular worldwide. However, there are also many fast food networks, restaurants of European Asian cuisine. Here you can find many cafes and restaurants with recipes of all kinds to fit any taste.
Going out
Ukraine can be called as green country. In summer times, here is very favorable weather for walking in parks. There are a lot of different tourist attraction, night clubs, pubs, bars, restaurants, cinemas, bowling and billiard bars which can satisfy the most exquisite taste.
Money
the official Ukrainian currency is Hryvnia (code: UAH). Issued banknotes denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 hryven.
UKRANIAN HOLIDAYS
There are many holidays celebrated in Ukraine. They can be divided in three groups: all-national, political and religious ones. Some of them have an ancient origin and others appeared in Ukrainian calendars quite recently. Here is the list of main Ukrainian holidays.
January 1. New Year
This is everybody's favourite holiday. Decorating the Christmas tree, going to New Year's parties, getting presents, — we love all this and impatiently wait for New Year's eve to come.
January 6-7. Orthodox Christmas
A great deal of old Ukrainian customs that go back to centuries ago are connected with Christmas. We are fortune telling, singing Christmas carols, cooking traditional Ukrainian Christmas dishes, going to church.
February 14. St. Valentine's Day
The Day of lovers, when we give presents and flowers to our sweethearts. March 8. International Women's Day This day is hugely popular among women in Ukraine as they receive flowers and chocolates from the men they know. They should not do any housework on this day. It is recommended to send flowers and some gifts to all your Ukrainian ladies. It will be highly appreciated as it is considered to be a sign of your attention (or lack of attention).
Easter Day
comes according to the lunar calendar. It could fall on any Sunday in April or May and is full of lovely traditions. Eggs are boiled and then painted brightly in different colours. Very special sweet Easter bread is baked, full of raisins. Often people will take food like the eggs and bread to the church to be blessed by a priest on Easter night. This is the day to stop and think about Jesus Christ's death for our salvation, about what we have to do to improve ourselves and the life around us.
May 1-2
Originally the Day of International Solidarity of Workers, it became just a holiday of spring though communists make their traditional demonstrations on that day. August 24. Independence Day In 1991 independence was proclaimed and Ukraine became a Sovereign state. A very important holiday.