Basic information and historical facts about Ukraine
Basic Information about Ukraine
Ukraine is located in Eastern Europe, bordering Russia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova. Southern part of Ukraine lies on the coasts of the Black Sea.
The largest river Dnieper is dividing Ukraine into two main regions and flows through the capital Kiev which is also the largest city. The southern peninsula Crimea is a popular tourist destination, and also an autonomous republic.
The official language is Ukrainian but Russian is also very widely spoken. The predominant religion in Ukraine is the Eastern Orthodox Christianity.
Brief History of Ukraine
Around 750 BC a group of Scythians came to the are a of current Ukraine and settled down. Scythians were famous warriors who used human sculls for drinking water and were one of the first people to ride horses. The Scythian era monuments called “kurgans” are nowadays still to find in Ukraine.
In 250 BC Sarmatian tribes took over and were dominating this region for 500 years. They were famous for their women being good warriors and being able to ride horses.
In the 9th century this area was populated by Eastern Slavs and this was the beginning of the Kievan Rus Era, which in it’s best days was reaching from the Black Sea to Scandinavia. In the 13th century Mongolian invasion destroyed already weakened (by Turkish attacks) Kievan Rus.
The next several centuries Ukraine was ruled by Polish, Lithuanian, Russian and Austrian nobility with many interventions against Turks and Cossack uprisings.
During the World War I. Part of Ukraine fought for the Triple Entente under Russia and part for the Central Powers under Austria. After the WW I. most of Ukraine became part of the Soviet Union and a small area was incorporated into Poland.
In the second World War, Ukraine fought as a part of the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany, but in the western part of Ukraine were also common guerrilla groups of Ukrainian Nationalists which at times fought together with the Nazi troops. After the WW II. Ukraine was heavily damaged by the war and it took long time to rebuild and recover.
In 1991 Soviet Union collapsed and Ukraine became an independent republic.