Even as I write this I want to use “The Ukraine” instead of simply Ukraine, which is the correct way to name the country. It was once common and correct to refer to the country as “The Ukraine,” but the Ukrainian government officially requested the change in 1993. It’s possible the habit formed because Ukraine likely derives from the old Slavic word for “borderland,” but that’s just speculation about a fascinating fact, a bad habit of mine. In fact, Ukraine is full of fascinating facts. Here’s a few to prove my point.
Ukraine has several interesting geographical features that are simply accidents of map-making and human development. For example, it is the largest country whose whole territory lies in Europe. Other countries may be technically larger but this includes territory outside of Europe. Also, by simple accident, the small town of Rakhiv is pretty much at the exact centre of Europe. Technically, it’s a small village nearby that would be the centre, and the claim is under dispute. Still, the fact is somewhere in Ukraine is the exact centre of Europe!
The Ukrainian Language is considered very musical and beautiful. In fact, in 1934 a linguistic competition held in Paris found Ukrainian to be one of the world’s most beautiful languages, along with French and Farsi. And since it was held in Paris you will be forgiven if you have your suspicions about the inclusion of French.
However, despite this, history has conspired to make Russian the most-spoken language in Ukraine, although Ukrainian is the official language.
The world’s first constitution was written in Ukrainian more than 75 years before the Constitution of the United States. When Pylyp Orlyk was elected Hetman of Zaporizhia troops in 1710, he wrote out a codified document of laws.
Here’s a few pieces of amazing trivia that are hard to categorise: The deepest subway station in the world exists in Kiev – the Arsenalna station is about 105 metres deep.
If you’re a Christian in Ukraine, you are strictly forbidden to play card games of any kind, whether or not there is any gambling involved. This is, of course, a rule of the Ukrainian Church, not the government. As with any other religious rules, you are free to break them if your conscience will allow it.
Bread is a huge part of life in Ukraine. Not only is the country known as the “bread basket” of Europe, bread is a part of just about every meal in Ukraine. It’s usually served with mayonnaise, even at breakfast!
So you see – Ukraine is fascinating! Ukraine is a country with some of the oldest and most beautiful cities and other features, and is well worth a trip to see the sights and try the bread (with or without mayonnaise).
Image courtesy karpatytravel.wordpress.com