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Ukraine was formerly known as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe, after Russia.
Ukraine Travel Guides
Weather in Europe:
Local weather forecasts for destinations around Europe.
Early Ukrainian History
Tatar Mongols invaded the area in the 13th century but the western Ukrainian principality of Galicia, founded in the 12th century, suffered less from the Mongol invasion.
Annexed by Poland in the 14th century, although the Ukrainian Cossacks allied themselves with Russia.
The partitions of Poland saw much of the land handed over to Russia in 1667, while Galicia became a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire from 1772 to 1919.
The country is rather flat and includes the autonomous region of Crimea (occupied by Russia since 2014) in the south.
Most of the Crimean Tatars were forcibly moved to Central Asia in 1944 to suppress their nationalist intentions.
On Monday, 21st February 2022 Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine as independent entities.
Then on Thursday, 24th February Russia actually invaded Ukraine while the rest of the world watched on.
On Friday, 30th September 2022 Russian President, Vladimir Putin, declared the Ukrainian provinces of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk as Russian after what the west called a 'sham referendum'.
The Ukrainians had other ideas and by Friday, 11th November 2022 their forces had reclaimed Kherson as Russian troops withdrew east across the Dnipro River; destroying bridges as they retreated, to hinder Ukraine's attempts to follow them.
The capital of Ukraine is built on hills overlooking the Dnepr River, in the north central part of the country.
There are plenty of parks and places of historical interest in Kiev.
The newer part of the city, on the left bank of the river, was mostly built after World War II and is rather bland. Of more interest to the visitor is the older city on the right bank.
The hills here are crowned with churches and the remains of ancient castles and fortifications - Kiev was an important religious centre before Communism.
The cathedral of Hagia Sophia is the oldest cathedral in Ukraine. Founded in the early 11th century, and largely rebuilt during the 17th and 18th centuries, it is now a museum with beautiful Christian frescoes.
The Cave monastery, Perchersky, was founded in the early 11th century and is one of the most sacred buildings of the Russian Orthodox church.
The ruins of the Golden Gate also date from the same period and was once the main entrance to the city.
Kiev was the centre of the Rus principality in the 11th and 12th centuries AD, and it is still known as the Mother of Russian Cities.
There are shuttle busses to Kiev centre from Boryspil International Airport as well as 24-hour taxis and car rental desks in Terminal B.
Three metro lines service Kiev, with Kharkovskaya being the nearest metro station to Boryspil airport.
The Airport Hotel Boryspil is located close to Terminal B while the newer Boryspil Hotel is located in a quiet district of Boryspil, 9km from airport.
Travel Around Ukraine
It's easy to travel from London to Kiev by train, using Eurostar to Brussels, the overnight sleeper to Berlin, a EuroCity train to Warsaw and the 'Kiev Express'; overnight from Warsaw to the capital of Ukraine.
Ukraine Railways, Ukrzaliznytsia, operates a working rail network of around 22,000 kilometers.
Trains are a very reliable way to travel within Ukraine, especially in the winter time when many domestic flights are cancelled or delayed due to poor weather conditions; while car travel is not good either and bus travel, being quite uncomfortable, will take ages.
The official language of Ukraine is Ukrainian; one of the three East Slavic languages, closely related to Russian and Belorussian.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine lists Foreign diplomatic institutions in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Consulate in New York is located at 240, East 49th Street.
Ukrainian Embassy in Washington:
3350 M st, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007.
Located on the south coast of the Crimean Peninsula, on the Black Sea, Yalta became a favourite resort of the tsars and nobility in the early 19th century.
The most beautiful vacation paradise in Eastern Europe, the Crimean Region of Ukraine is situated on the northern shores of the Black Sea.
Also on the Crimean Peninsula, Sevastopol is a major naval base; fortified by Catherine the Great after the Russians took control in 1783. Tensions over the Black Sea fleet continue between Ukraine and Russia.
The Greek colony of Chersonesus was founded near the site of modern Sevastopol' in the late 5th century BC, and taken over successively by the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, and Genoa.
Kharkov, in the east of the country, was founded in 1656 as a fortress to protect Moscow from the Tatars. It was the administrative centre of Ukraine until 1934; when it was replaced by Kiev.
Kharkov has been the scene of heavy fighting over the years and a bell tower was erected, in 1812, to celebrate the defeat of Napoleon.
Ukraine Travel Tips
When visiting Ukraine, there are a few simple rules of etiquette that may be useful:
If invited into a family home, it is traditional to bring a gift. A bottle of wine, a cake or a bouquet of flowers is customary. If there is a child in the house, it is appropriate to provide him or her with a small gift as well.
Be prepared to remove your shoes upon entering a home. To keep apartments clean, most hosts will provide you with a pair of slippers.
On public transportation, give up your seat to mothers with children, the elderly, or the infirm.
At the entrance of upscale restaurants, expect that your coat, briefcase or baggage to be checked.
When eating dinner at someone's home, casual dress is accepted.
Be ready to give toasts at dinner, for guests are often asked to do so.
Offer to share your snacks and cigarettes with those around you. Ukrainians are known for their generosity when it comes to feeding others. Turning down food may be considered rude.
For business, dress should be conservative. Men should not take off their jackets unless asked.
In Orthodox churches women wear scarves or hats, and men take off their hats.
It is not that hard to go through these formalities in Ukraine. If you bring something for gifts you may be asked to pay a customs duty that can be considerable. We do not recommend you to bring any jewellery as the customs duty is 100% of its cost! If you do want to make such a surprise anyway, it would be more reasonable to bring money and purchase jewellery here. It will definitely cost less.
Talking to many of my clients I have discovered that most of them are not aware of the Ukrainian laws as to this point. They were afraid of bringing cash as they thought it would cost them too much when crossing the border. It is NOT true at all. The Ukrainian laws allow foreigners to bring up to $10,000 cash.
If you have LESS than $1,000 cash you may just go through customs by the Green Line. No declaration filling.
If you want to bring MORE than $1,000 in cash, I strongly recommend you to declare the money when you go through the customs. Use Red Line in this case! It may help you a lot when you will be leaving Ukraine!
The point is you are allowed to take only $1,000 OUT of the country. However if you have a customs declaration confirming that you have brought a bigger amount to Ukraine then you can take out ANY amount that is less than what you have brought here.
You will not have any problems if you have a LESS amount of cash than you declared on your arrival. Keep your entering customs declaration until you pass through customs control on your departure!
If you would like to have special, very flexible treatment at the customs you can order a VIP service. It costs $48 and all formalities would take 15-20 minutes (if you arrive with the entering visa in your passport), or another 10 minutes for getting a visa at the airport if you don't have one on arrival.
Green Ukraine organises travel for foreign tourists to Ukraine in its most attractive region; the Carpathian mountains.
Located in Kiev (Kyiv), Solo East is licensed to provide visa assistance, hotels, air and train tickets, tours and other services for travellers to Ukraine.
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