Given Ukraine’s recent independence and elevating levels of conflict, it’s easy to forget that the country is steeped in culture and interesting history. It actually dates all the way back to 4800 B.C. and played a major role in several of history’s biggest events including World War II and Chernobyl. Here are six facts you probably didn’t know about Ukraine and Ukrainians.
Kiev is rich with history and culture
The capital city of Ukraine possesses a “Hero City” title thanks to its Nazi resistance efforts in 1941. Traveler’s Digest posited that the city is home to the country’s most beautiful women, and the local McDonalds is the busiest in the world. Kiev also houses the Sophia Cathedral, which is one of Ukraine’s “7 Miracles for Tourists.” Finally, Kiev also plays host to a 203-foot statue of Mother Motherland. The statue is projected by a World War II museum project and sits in the center of the city.
Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe
The country occupies more than 233,000 square miles of land placing it squarely in front of France. In fact, Russia is the only European country with more area, but many note that half of Russia’s mileage exists in Asia. As a bonus, Ukraine is considered the geographical center of Europe.
Seven (7) is the magic number
Its unique shape, size, and geographic location allows Ukraine to border 7 different countries. The country shares a border with Russia, Hungary, Slovakia, Belarus, Moldova, Romania, and Poland. In addition, prior to obtaining their independence, Ukraine had been ruled by seven different empires at one time or another.
Natural resources are abundant
Ukrainian land is 71.2% agricultural and 15 natural resources can be found within it’s confines. These include popular commodities like natural gas, oil, coal, and iron ore, but also some lesser discussed resources like salt, kaolin, nickel, mercury, and graphite.
They import more than they export
As of 2017, the company imported approximately $44.2 billion in goods including metals and ores, fuels, minerals, machinery and equipment, chemicals, and plastics. Interestingly, Ukraine only exported approximately $36.85 billion in goods that same year.
They’re really good at chess
Perhaps their status as the country with the 4th highest literacy rate in the world (99.8%) helps contribute to this odd fact, but Ukrainians are exceptionally good at chess. The first female to receive the “International Master” title was Ukrainian, as was Marta Litinskaya-Shul who won prestigious titles in 1972, 1976, and 2002.