Discover Ukraine

Location: Eastern Europe. Neighbors are Russia on the north and east, Belarus on the north-west, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania, on the west, and Moldova on the south-west. There are Black sea and Azov Sea on the south. Ukraine is part of former Soviet Union or USSR, and member of CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States).

Area: 603,000 km2 (slightly larger than France).

Geography: 95% of Ukraine is flat or nearly flat, with small rolling hills. In the west the Carpathian Mountains rise to 2061 m (Goverla), and in the south the Crimean Mountains reach 1545 m (Ai-Petri).

Seas, Main Rivers, Lakes: Black Sea and Azov Sea; Dnipro, Dnestr, Pivdennyy Bug, and Dunai; and over 7000 lakes.

Climate: temperate continental, except for a small strip of Crimea's southern coast, which has a mediterranean climate. Average temperature is 18-24°С in July and -8°С in January, though in the southern coast of Crimea it is about 2-4°С. Precipitation in Ukraine averages 600 mm per year, with considerable regional variation.

Fauna: there are 28 thousand of different species (101 mammals, 350 birds, 21 reptiles, 19 amphibian, and more than 200 species of fish). Wildlife in Ukraine includes elk, deer, wild boars, brown bears, wolves, moufflons (wild sheep), spotted deers, and muskrats. A network of 10 nature reserves, and more than 100 wildlife refuges has been established to protect wildlife, especially beaver, lynx, elk, and muskrats, bison and wild horses. Birds include Eurasian black vulture, steppe eagle, and gray heron. There are 25 species of domesticated animals, including cattle, hogs, sheep, and goats.

Population: 48 million.

Capital: Kyiv (or Kiev). Kyiv is derived from Ukrainian and Kiev from Russian (Kiev is considered the birthplace of Russian and East Slavic culture and statehood). While Kyiv is now considered politically correct, Kiev appears in Google seven times more frequently.

Major Cities: (official populations in 2007) Kyiv - 2,635,300 (realistically approaching 5 million); Kharkiv - 1,575,900; Dnipropetrovsk - 1,161,200; Donetsk - 1,101,800; Odessa - 1,059,500; Zaporizhya - 887,400; Lviv - 805,900; Kryvyi Rig - 703,000; Mykolayiv - 519,000; Mariupol - 490,000; Lugansk - 493,300.

Languages: Ukrainian and Russian.
Ukrainian is Ukraine's single official government language;
In everyday use the languages are about equally popular across Ukraine, though proportion of usage differs widely by region. However, the vast majority of the population is functionally bilingual.

Ethno-lingual Makeup: (by respondents' self-definition in 2007)
Ukrainian-speaking Ukrainians (38%); Russian-speaking Ukrainians (30%); Russian-speaking Russians (27%); Belarussian (0.6%); Crimean Tatar (0.5%); Moldovian (0.5%); Bulgarian (0.4%); Hungarian (0.3%); Romanian (0.3%); Polish (0.3%); Jewish (0.2%); Greek (0.2%); Armenian (0.2%); Tatar (0.2%); other ethnicity: 1.1%.

Major Religions: Ukrainian Orthodoxy, Moscow Patriarchy; Ukrainian Orthodoxy, Kyiv Patriarchy; Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodoxy; Ukrainian Catholicism (Uniate); Jewish Orthodoxy; Greek Catholicism; Islam; Protestantism.

Currency: Hryvnia (or Grivna), abbreviation = UAH (sometimes "hr"). Exchange rate hovers about 5 to 6 UAH to 1 USD.

GDP: 713 billion UAH (2007), GDP real growth rate: 7%.

Economy: Principal exports are metals, minerals, electronics, chemicals, and vegetables.

Transport: General length of motorways is about 247.3 thousand km, 82 % of which are covered with hard coating. There are 23 thousand km of railways, 437 airports, water transportation, and subway, bus, streetcar, tram, trolleybus, and taxi public transport in Ukrainian cities and towns.

Telephones - Main Lines: 12.858 million (2007); mobile cellular: 55.24 million (2007).

Radio Broadcast: 524 stations.

Television Broadcast: 647 stations.

Internet: 235 thousand hosts; 10 million users.

Government Structure: Republic.
Powerful executive branch with five-year presidential term and Cabinet of Ministers with a Prime Minister appointed by the President. Legislative branch consists of unicameral 450-seat Verkhovna Rada (Parliament). People's deputies serve four-year terms. Judicial branch: Supreme Court, Constitutional Court. Ukraine consists of 27 administrative regions: 24 provinces (oblasti, singular - oblast), 1 autonomous republic (avtonomna respublika), and 2 municipalities (mista, singular - misto) with oblast status: Cherkaska, Chernihivska, Chernivetska, Crimea or Avtonomna Respublika Krym (Simferopol'), Dnipropetrovska, Donetska, Ivano-Frankivska, Kharkivska, Khersonska, Khmelnytska, Kirovohradska, Kyiv, Kyivska, Luhanska, Lvivska, Mykolayivska, Odeska, Poltavska, Rivenska, Sevastopolska, Sumska, Ternopilska, Vinnytska, Volynska, Zakarpatska, Zaporizhska, Zhytomyrska.


National Holidays

January 1 - New Year's Day;
January 7 - Christmas (Orthodox calendar);
March 8 - International Women's Day;
1 week in spring - Easter;
May 1 and May 2 - International Workers' Solidarity Day;
May 9 - Victory Day (the Victory in the Great Patriotic War and World War II);
June 28 - Constitution Day;
August 24 - Independence Day.
Centre of International Education

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