A lot of people have very little knowledge about Ukraine.
The most popular facts are that Ukraine used to be a country of the Soviet Union, that it has a distinctive yellow and blue flag, and that the Chernobyl disaster is now getting a lot of attention thanks to the new HBO series.
But in reality, this country hides a lot more interesting facts.
To learn more about them, keep reading! We’ve collected 15 fun facts about Ukraine that you have probably never heard of!
Got the travel bug? Try reading these articles for more ideas:
1. The second-deepest subway station in the world is located in Ukraine
Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, has a subway station, Arsenalna, which is located at a depth of 105.5 meters, making it the second-deepest station in the world.
To better understand how deep it is, it would fit the entire Statue of Liberty perfectly and still have 12 meters left.
Every day, people who live or work in this station have to endure two seemingly endless escalators.
2. Ukraine possesses the longest wind musical instrument in the world
The Ukrainian trembita is the longest wind instrument in the world. It is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records.
Trembita, which is a wooden trumpet with a diameter of about 30 mm, is 2.5 to 8 meters long. The trembita was used as a means of communication in mountain villages, it was used to announce the beginning and the end of the working day, the birth of children, weddings, approaching danger, etc.
3. In Ukraine, there is one of the geographical centers of Europe
Near the Delovoye village, in the Zakarpattya region, you can find the geographical center of Europe. It is not the only center of the continent, as the calculation of coordinates depends on the methodology you use, but it is one of the five that is generally recognized (the others are in Lithuania, Belarus, Slovakia, and Poland).
4. An absolute record number of people came to Queen’s concert in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
In 2008 the largest square in Europe, Kharkiv Liberty Square, played host to a charity concert of Queen and lead singer Paul Rodgers, which was a record for the group in terms of the number of people in the history of its existence. According to the media representatives of the group, more than 300,000 people gathered on the square.
5. Out of the six monasteries in the world that have Lavra status, three are in Ukraine.
These are the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra in Kyiv, the Holy Dormition Lavra in Pochaev, and the Sviatogorsk Holy Dormition Lavra in Donetsk Oblast. Orthodox Christians consider Kyiv Pechersk Lavra to be the second most important place of religious worship after Jerusalem, and its architectural ensemble is listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site.
6. The territory of today’s Ukraine was inhabited as early as the 5th century BC.
According to the remains of the Tripolitan culture, the area of today’s Ukraine was populated as early as the 5th century before Christ.
There was a Scythian kingdom, the Crimea and the Black Sea coast were inhabited by Greek and Gothic tribes, and the centre and north-west are associated with the Slavs. In the 9th century, the history of Kyiv Rus was written here, in the 13th century the land fell under the influence of the Tatars and the Golden Horde.
7. There are seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ukraine.
These include St Sophia’s Cathedral in Kyiv and the historic centre of Lviv, Chernivtsi University, as well as the unique wooden churches in the Carpathian Mountains and the beech forests that surround them.
8. The Ukrainian language was the 3rd most beautiful language in the world in 1934.
An interesting fact is that Ukrainian was rated the 3rd most beautiful language in 1934, just behind French and Persian; it was also rated the 2nd most melodic language, just behind Italian.
9. People from Ukraine were mentioned more than 50 times in the Guinness Book of World Records.
There are various sporting achievements, and the heaviest airliner in the world “Mriya”, and unique records, which are difficult even to imagine.
For example, one of the latest Ukrainian record-breakers is Anatoly Boyko from Volodymyr-Volynskyi, who is called “Ukrainian Faberge”: he transforms ordinary bird eggs into works of art with the help of tiny holes patterns. In April 2021, the artist set two world records: he drilled 33,300 holes in a hen egg and 52,700 in a goose egg.
10. The Yalta Conference, held in 1945, was the meeting of the legendary trinity during World War II: Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt.
At the Yalta Conference in 1945, hosted by Ukraine, the legendary trio of Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt had a gathering. It was intended to discuss the way forward with relation to the organizational aspects of post-war Europe. The site of the conference, Livadia Palace, is now a museum.
11. The first university in Eastern Europe was opened in Ukraine.
The Ostrog Academy is the first institution of higher education in Eastern Europe, the oldest Ukrainian scientific and educational institution. In 1576 Prince Konstantin-Vasily of Ostrog established Slavic-Greek-Latin Academy in Ostrog.
12. Ukrainians grew to love the fast-paced, dynamic folk dance that had been replaced by traditional dancing styles.
Gopak is commonly referred to as the “national dance of Ukraine,” and its name has become very popular in Slavic countries, particularly Russia, Belarus, and Poland. In Leros, Greece, there are similar folk dance tunes known as sirmpa.
13. Unlike other cultures in the world, Ukrainians tend to wear wedding rings on their right hand rather than on the left.
The left hand was considered “unclean”. It was not suitable for wearing a symbol of eternal love.
The right hand, on the other hand, was a symbol of power, positive changes and knowledge, and was greatly honored by the ancestors.
The wedding ring was put on it during the ceremony of marriage. The wedding ring on the left hand in Ukraine can often be misleading to others. Here it is usually put on the other hand if one of the spouses has died.
14. Both Ukraine and Austria are claiming to have invented the coffee-house in Europe.
The first cup of coffee is also considered to have been brewed by the Ukrainian war hero Yuri Kulchitsky, in the 1680s in Vienna, Austria. Nowadays, the intense coffee spirit in Ukraine can be vividly seen in Lviv, Ukraine’s medieval city, where you can find thousands of coffee shops.
15. The world’ second most visited McDonald’s is situated in Kyiv, near the railway station.
At the end of 2011, fast-food establishment McDonald’s, located in Kyiv on Vokzalna Square, took second place, among 33 thousand chain establishments in the world, for number of visitors. They took 2.455 million orders that year, which is 7.5% or 171,881 more than in 2010. This is the sixth year in a row that the institution is among the top five most visited establishments of the network in the world.
Make sure your Ukraine visa application gets accepted
Did we manage to surprise you with those 15 facts about Ukraine?
We hope that after reading this, you find yourself more interested and more motivated to visit Ukraine.
This beautiful country, with a rich and unique history, definitely has a lot to offer, so when you decide to visit, make sure you get the full experience!
Michal Jonca is an experienced author of articles concerning biometric photography. He is a travel, food, and trail running passionate who visited 40+ countries on four continents. He is a Travel Leader for the adventurous travel company Solisci and the Community Manager at Passport-Photo.Online. Only this year, he enjoyed his workation in Thailand, Turkey, and the Caucasus mountains.