Every day as usually I firstly open my email to check on new messages. But on my surprise this morning I´ve got one mail from my Ukrainian friend who is now working in Shanghai at China Institute for Innovation. We met each other in Poland two years ago on Economic Forum of Young leaders. His letter is about some special facts about Ukraine, mostly about those things that we usually don´t think of these days… Of course that I will transfer his mail here, but that what he wrote also inspired me to search a bit more about something interesting and nice about Ukraine to broke this every day monotony of conflict and to show you another side of this country. Here is letter of my friend Sergii and 5 facts about his country, after letter I will put illustrations and add few more facts.
Ukraine has been pretty much on the news recently.
When I meet a new person and on the question “Where are you from?”, I reply “Ukraine” the next comment is usually “Oh, your country in mess now”. Usually I say “It’s temporarily and will get better soon”. In country’s life as well as in person’s life are ups and downs. Challenging times makes us stronger. I believe that Ukraine will get better. Here I decided to share with you five unknown or not that well known facts about Ukraine (you might share it with your friends):
- Ukraine is the largest country whose territory is entirely located in Europe. Larger than Ukraine in Europe – only Russia, Turkey and Denmark. However, most part of Russia and Turkey are in Asia, and the Danish island of Greenland belongs to North America region.
- In a beauty contest of languages in Paris in 1934, the Ukrainian language is ranked third after French and Persian on such criteria as phonetics, vocabulary, phraseology and sentence structure and took the second place after the Italian language in terms of melodiousness.
- Ukraine has 1/4 of all stocks of black soil on the planet. Black soil with proper handling gives the greatest number of crops and considers as the best land for agriculture.
- Ukraine has developed the aircraft with the largest carrying capacity in the world – AN-225 “Mriya” (English name “Dream”). Originally it was designed to transport spacecrafts. The airplane “Dream” set 124 Guinnes records by taking on board 253 tons of cargo per flight in 2001.
- One of the world’s most famous Christmas songs – a “Shchedryk” ukrainian folk song was recorded by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych. The world knows her as Carol of the Bells and Ring Christmas Bells.
Of course we do have lots of places with deep history, beautiful sea and mountains landscapes, delicious food, such as borsch and varenyky (dumplings with potato) and old style rich architecture. As one of the examples, you may check the cultural capital of Ukraine – Lviv city.
All the Best,
Except these five facts from my friend Sergy I searched for 10 more and here they are.
6. The “geographic center” of Europe is on the territory of Ukraine not far from Rakhiv in Zakarpatia oblast. As far back as 1887, experts of Austria Hungary had determined this point, stele and land-surveying sign marking it. In Latin, the following words were engraves there: LОСUS РЕRЕNNІS. Dilicentissime cum lіbеllа lіbrаtіоnіs guае еst іп Аustrіа еt Нungаrіа соnfесtа сum mеnsurа grаdum mеrіdіоnаlіum еt раrаllеlоumіеrum Еurореum. МD ССС LХХХVІІ, ” translated it sound like this: “Permanent, exact, and eternal place. Very precisely, using special apparatus made in Austria and Hungary, with scale of meridians and parallels, set the Center of Europe. 1887”
7. Arsenalnaya Metro Station in Kiev is the deepest metro station in the world (105 meters). The station was built in 1960, very close to the House of Parliament. According to some reports, the tunnels near Arsenalnaya house secret shelters built specially for the political elite.
8. Ukraine, on its own initiative, refused the third largest arsenal of nuclear weapons in the world. At the moment of the declaration of independence, Ukraine had over a thousand nuclear warheads and the third largest nuclear potential after Russia and USA. The warheads and missiles were given to Russia, silos were destroyed. In response, Ukraine received the money for disarmament, plus security guarantees from the nuclear powers. I am wondering myself where are those guarantees today, and could it be maybe better in Ukraine nowadays if they would still had something from that nuclear arsenal…
9. The world’s famous song “O Sole Mio” was composed in Odessa. This song is often referred to as a Neapolitan song. Neapolitan songs were songs written for an annual songwriting contest for the Festival of Piedigrotta, which began in 1830, in Naples, Italy. “O Sole Mio” was composed by Eduardo Di Capua in Odessa during April 1898. Setting his music to the poem by Giovanni Capurro, Di Capua drew his inspiration while touring Crimea with his father (a violinist street musician). Di Capua and Capurro sold the rights of the song to the Bideri publishing house for 25 lire.
11. Ukrainians wear their wedding ring on the ring finger of their right hand instead of their left hand.
12. Ukraine suffered the world’s worst recorded nuclear accident. On the morning of April 26, 1986, reactor No. 4 at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant, 80 miles north of Kiev, exploded, sending radioactive contaminants three miles up into the atmosphere and out over parts of Europe, Asia, and North America.
13. The monuments to a famous Ukrainian poet, Taras Shevchenko (Taras Buljba), are set in 1200 places around the world. However, most of them are located in western Ukraine.
14. The oldest map known to scientists, as well as the most ancient settlement of Homo Sapiens were found in Ukraine, in the village of Mezhireche. They are 14.5 – 15 thousand years old. The map is cut out of the bones of a mammoth. The settlement is made of the same material.
15. Khreshchatyk Street in Kiev is the shortest yet widest main city street in the world. Its length is 1.2 km.
I know that Ukraine suffer harsh times these days, but at least this could be my tribute to all my Ukrainian friends with wishes for peace, tolerance, mutual respect. Ukraine is geographically an European country but with its history, culture, religion, heritage and tradition belongs to the Eastern civilizational circle. That is what Ukraine is, a country with wealth in differences and its specific position.