Key Country Facts
Arsenalna, the world’s deepest underground train station measuring at 105.5 meters underground
Lviv National museum, the L’viv Art Gallery, S. Krushelnytska Opera House
Major exports: include metals, fuel, chemicals, machinery, transport equipment and food.
Took a trip organized by MIR Travel which started out in Moldova, then to Ukraine, on to Belarus, Lithuania, and ended in Latvia.
During my time in Ukraine, I drove hundreds of miles across the countryside in order to see a Soviet nuclear missile silo, which in the region, had 7-8 ICBMs stationed there. It was an incredible experience, learning all about the types of nuclear warheads the Soviets had. One of the most fascinating things was learning about how the operators managed encrypted commands, to avoid second-guessing when given instructions to “launch”. After returning to Kiev, I went to the Opera, then walked through downtown Kiev en route to my hotel.
The following day I took a city tour, and here is some history and important information about the Ukraine:
Kiev is the mother city of all Eastern Slavic peoples. Kievan Rus, the state from which Ukraine, Russia and Belarus are all descended, was originally established here in the 9th century by Slavicized Scandinavians from Novgorod. Today this modern capital on the Dnipro River is a city of three million, encompassing countless surviving architectural and artistic treasures. From November to December 2004, Kiev was the focal point of Ukraine’s “Orange Revolution,” in which citizens demonstrated, committed acts of civil disobedience and called strikes to force a second run-off election. Spend a half day day touring Kiev and its environs. The tour includes St. Sophia’s Cathedral, Andreevsky Street, the Golden Gates and the Friendship Arch. The St. Sophia Cathedral and Monastery complex houses Sofiysky Sobor, the city’s oldest church,and the site of the first school and library in Kievan Rus. Its location near the Royal Palace and the seat of the metropolitan made St. Sophia’s the site for royal ceremonies and the signing of treaties. The rich Byzantine interior is decorated with frescoes and mosaics. Its Orthodox symbology initiated a pattern that was followed by Eastern Slavic churches for 900 years.
Andreevsky Street is perhaps Kiev’s most charming area. Down this winding lane can be found House #13, the Bulgakov House Museum. Mikhail Bulgakov was a 20th century Russian writer best known for his beloved novel, The Master and Margarita – a satirical work censored by the Soviet authorities during his lifetime and only published following his death.
Andreesvsky Street is a wonderful place to stroll and shop – the cobbled main street is filled with galleries, gift shops, restaurants, cafes and artists’ co-ops and studios. Sophia Cathedral The UNESCO-listed St. Sophia Cathedral and Monastery complex houses Sofiysky Sobor, the city’s oldest church, now a museum. It is the site of the first school and library in Kievan Rus. The church’s location near the Royal Palace and the seat of the metropolitan made it the site for royal ceremonies and the signing of treaties. St. Andrew’s Church Blue-domed St. Andrew’s Church at the top of Andreyevski Street is said to have been founded on the spot where Andrew the Apostle planted a cross and foretold the building of a great Christian city. Designed in the baroque style by Empress Elizabeth’s favorite architect, Rastrelli, the 18th century church overlooks the merchants’ quarter,
There are roughly 45 million Ukrainians, and the official language is Ukrainian, but Russian is a regional language, meaning more than 10% of the population speaks it. Ukrainians practice Orthodox Christianity. The time zone is 7 hours ahead of EST.
One fun fact about Ukraine is that it is home of Arsenalna, the world’s deepest underground train station measuring at 105.5 meters underground.