After Russia, Ukraine is the largest country on the continent. It is made up of mostly level plains, but has lowlands and some small hills with vineyards and views of the black sea in the south. The Carpathian Mountains are found along the western side. The country is well equipped with natural resources and is an industrial and agricultural producer.
Ukraine has rather harsh winters, especially when Siberian winds blow. As you move southward however, the weather becomes milder. Snow starts to melt at the start of April with Spring arriving sooner than in the European portion of Russia. The Crimean Peninsula experiences fairly mild winters with sunny summers, making it a popular tourist destination. In the southern parts of the country, where the winter are relatively mild, it rains frequently throughout the year.
The capital city of Kiev is a historical city dotted with numerous examples of architecture form the 11th century. Signs of industrialization are obvious with emergence of western style shops and signs.
Lviv is one of the oldest cities in Europe with samples of Baroque and Renaissance architecture. The city is now emerging as a major tourist destination in Ukraine. Notable attractions include an old opera house, the Gallery of Paining housing exquisite collection of historic and modern art, and towering buildings in the ‘Old Square’.
The town of Yaltra, or ‘pearl of the Crimea’ is a major tourist attraction along the coast of the Black Sea. With its mild weather, it was once a favourite summer retreat of the Kremlin leaders. Tourist resorts in Carpathian and Crimean mountains offer great skiing in winters, and hiking during the summer months.
Government: Parliamentary democracy.
Currency: Hryvnia (UAH)
Area: 603,549 sq. km. (233,100 sq. mi.)
Official language: Ukrainian, Russian
Ethnic Origins: Ukrainians, Russian
Religion: Orthodox Christians, Greek Catholics (Uniates), Baptists and Jews.
Dialing Code: +380