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Ukraine, with its area of 603,628 km2, is the largest country on the European continent.It is bordered by the Russian Federation to the east and northeast, Belarus to the northwest, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the west, Romania and Moldova to the southwest, and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to the south and southeast respectively.
Independence On July 16, 1990, the new parliament adopted the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine. The declaration established the principles of the self-determination of the Ukrainian nation, its democracy, political and economic independence, and the priority of Ukrainian law on the Ukrainian territory over Soviet law. In August 1991, a conservative faction among the Communist leaders of the Soviet Union attempted a coup to remove Mikhail Gorbachev and to restore the Communist party's power. After the attempt failed, on August 24, 1991 the Ukrainian parliament adopted the Act of Independence in which the parliament declared Ukraine as an independent democratic state.
Culture Ukrainian customs are heavily influenced by Christianity, which is the dominant religion in the country.Gender roles also tend to be more traditional, and grandparents play a greater role in raising children than in the West.The culture of Ukraine has been also influenced by its eastern and western neighbours, which is reflected in its architecture, music and art. The Communist era had quite a strong effect on the art and writing of Ukraine.In 1932, Stalin made socialist realism state policy in the Soviet Union when he promulgated the decree "On the Reconstruction of Literary and Art Organisations". This greatly stifled creativity. During the 1980s glasnost (openness) was introduced and Soviet artists and writers again became free to express themselves as they wanted. The tradition of the Easter egg, known as pysanky, has long roots in Ukraine. These eggs were drawn on with wax to create a pattern; then, the dye was applied to give the eggs their pleasant colours, the dye did not affect the previously wax-coated parts of the egg. After the entire egg was dyed, the wax was removed leaving only the colourful pattern. This tradition is thousands of years old, and precedes the arrival of Christianity to Ukraine.In the city of Kolomya near the foothills of the Carpathian mountains in 2000 was built the museum of Pysanka which won a nomination as the monument of modern Ukraine in 2007, part of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine action.
Music and Dance Music is a major part of Ukrainian culture, with a long history and many influences. From traditional folk music, to classical and modern rock, Ukraine has produced a long list of internationally recognized musical talent including Tchaikovsky and Okean Elzy. Elements from traditional Ukrainian folk music made their way into Western music and even into modern Jazz. In the world of dance, Ukrainian influence is evident from Polka to The Nutcracker.
Cuisine The traditional Ukrainian diet includes chicken, pork, beef, fish and mushrooms. Ukrainians also tend to eat a lot of potatoes, grains, fresh and pickled vegetables. Popular traditional dishes include varenyky (boiled dumplings with mushrooms, potatoes, sauerkraut, cottage cheese or cherries), borscht (soup made of beets, cabbage and mushrooms or meat) and holubtsy (stuffed cabbage rolls filled with rice, carrots and meat). Ukrainian specialties also include Chicken Kiev and Kiev Cake. Ukrainians drink stewed fruit, juices, milk, buttermilk (they make cottage cheese from this), mineral water, tea and coffee, beer, wine and horilka.
Kiev Museum of Wax Figures The idea to establish a museum of such kind in Kiev appeared after its founders familiarized with exposition of famous London museum branch in Amsterdam. After this they questioned themselves - if there are such museums in Moscow and Saint Petersburg why not to create one in the capital of Ukraine. But they've had to face a lot of problems and difficulties, because in Ukraine there were no experienced specialists in waxwork at that time. Also there were no proper specialists in decorative work. So it took three years to arrange the 20 figures exposition, which became the basis of museum's collection. It was first presented to the public on the 12th January of 2000. Nowadays the exposition consists of more than 60 figures and is constantly growing. The museum, one of the best of such kind in Eastern Europe, is by right considered to be one of the most interesting places in Kiev.
National Museum "Chernobyl" The Nuclear accident at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant entered the history of the humankind as the most severe radioecological disaster of the XX century. The after-effects of it have no analogy and differ from another natural or manmade catastrophes. These are still the issues of contemporaneity and, unfortunately, of the generation to come. The National museum “Chornobyl” conveys the history of those tragic-events since the 26th of April, 1992. The mission of the museum is to help the mankind understand the scope of the disaster through the destinies of thousands of those people who witnessed the accident, participated in the mitigation and suffered from the disaster. The aim is to make people realize the necessary of reconciliation between man, science and technology that endanger the existence of the human civilization and Earth, to conceive the lessons of the tragedy in all the spheres of life, lest the world forget the lessons of Chornobyl. The museum is warning for the new millennia generations.
Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev is an outstanding architectural monument of Kievan Rus'. Today, it is one of the city's best known landmarks and the first Ukrainian patrimony to be inscribed on the World Heritage List. In Ukrainian the cathedral is known as Sobor Sviatoyi Sofiyi or Sofiys’kyi sobor. The complex of the Cathedral is the main component the National Sanctuary "Sophia of Kiev" the state institution responsible for the preservation of the Cathedral complex along with several other historic landmarks of the city.
National museum of art The museum exposition displays Ukrainian art from old ages till our days. It was founded in 1899. Originaly exposition enriched owing to Kiev patrons, after the revolution due to nationalization of private collections, and later owing to state assignment provided for buying art works.
Ukrainian decorative art museum Museum exposition includes works of folk and professional decorative art from XV century till our days. Among the displays are crockery, «rushnyk»(embroidered ritual towel), church plates, national clothes, Ukrainian Cossacks tobacco pipes, «pysanki» (painted Easter eggs) and many other things. One hall of the museum is devoted totally to the paintings of famous Ukrainian artist Kateryna Bilokur, this gallery is a true pearl of museum’s collection. Museum of Ukrainian decorative art is situated on the territory of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra in the building of former metropolitan house and Blagoveshenskaya church which were built in XVII century. The collection of the museum was started in 1899 as the City museum of antiques and art.
One street museum Andreevskiy spusk museum is the one and only Kiev private museum. Items of the end of XIX - beginning of XX century were used in interior and exposition design. Due to this you can see woman boudoir with the full set of toilet items, dining room with served table, interiors of workshops and stores of Andreevskiy spusk of past centuries.
Vorontsov's Palace The Vorontsovsky Palace is an historic palace located in the town of Alupka, Ukraine. It is situated at the foot of the Crimean Mountains. The Vorontsovsky Palace was constructed from 1830–1848, to be used as a summer residence of the governor-general of the Novorossiysky Krai, Prince Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov. The palace was built according to a project by English architect Edward Blore (1789–1879). The architect did not visit Alupka, but was well informed about the area's mountainous landscape. When construction began, it was discovered that a foundation and the basement of the first portion of the building was already in position, as the palace was first supposed to be constructed on different plans, by architects Francesco Boffo and Thomas Harrison.
Swallow's Nest Swallow's Nest Crimean is a decorative castle near Yalta on the Crimean shore in southern Ukraine. It was built between 1911 and 1912 near Gaspra, on top of 40-metre (130 ft) high Aurora Cliff, to a Neo-Gothic design by the Russian architect Leonid Sherwood.The castle overlooks Ai–Todor cape of the Black Sea and is located near the remnants of the Roman castrum of Charax. Swallow's Nest is one of the most popular visitor attractions in Crimea.
Uchan-Su Uchan-su is a waterfall on the river Uchan-su on the southern slopes of the Crimean Mountains. The name translates from the Crimean Tatar language for swift water. Uchan-su is a popular tourist attraction and is the highest waterfall in Ukraine. Located 7 km from the city of Yalta halfway to Ai-Petri Mountain. The waterfall is 98 metres high at an altitude of 390 metres and is most powerful during the spring when it is fed by snow melt in the mountains.
The National Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv Kyiv University or officially the National Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv, colloquially known in Ukrainian as KNU is a major research university located in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. It is the first formally established modern research university in Kiev and the first national university of Ukraine. Currently, its structure consists of fifteen Faculties and five Institutes. It was founded in 1834 as the University of Saint Vladimir, and since then it has changed its name several times. During the Soviet Union era, Kiev University was one of the top three universities in the USSR, along with Moscow State University and Leningrad State University. Today, most national and international rankings place Kiev University as the best university in Ukraine (see below). Throughout its history, the university has distinguished itself from its peers in terms of intellectual freedom and has produced and hosted many top thinkers from Russia and Ukraine including Nikolay Bunge, Mykhailo Drahomanov, Mykhailo Hrushevskyi, Nikolai Berdyaev, Mikhail Bulgakov, Viacheslav Chornovil, Leonid Kravchuk, Oksana Zabuzhko, and many others. Kiev University was influential in the birth of the 1905 Russian Revolution, the Russian Revolution (1917), the Ukrainian People's Republic, the Soviet dissident movement, and many other significant events.
Sport Sports such as Football and Wrestling have been popular in Ukraine since the 19th century.Ukraine has benefited from the Soviet Union's emphasis on sport and physical education and Ukraine was left with hundreds of stadiums, swimming pools, gymnasiums, and other athletic facilities after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Ukraine is a regular participant in both summer and winter Olympic Games and is successful on the international arena. The country's top achievement at the Olympics to date was at the 1996 Summer Olympics, when they came 9th. At the 1996 Summer Olympics, Ukrainian gymnast Lilia Podkopayeva won the All Around title in the Women's Gymnastics competition.
New Year Eve The New Year Eve is celebrated in Ukraine.Everyone likes the New Year Eve.We usually buy a New Year tree, decorate our house with garlands, send postcards to our relatives and friends, wishing them joy and happiness.
Easter The week before Easter, the Great Week is called the White or Pure Week. During this time an effort is made to finish all field work before Thursday, since from Thursday on work is forbidden. Pure Thursday is connected with ritual of clarification by water. On Passion Friday-Good Friday-no work is done. In some localities, the Holy Shroud is carried solemnly three times around the church and, after appropriate services, laid out for public veneration.