22 Fun Facts About Ukraine For Peacetime Explorers

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Ukraine has always been one of my favorite countries. Not only do I have close friends and neighbors from Ukraine, but over the years I’ve learned what an incredible place it is to visit.

Ukraine has an incredible wealth of natural wonders, an array of historical sites, and a vibrant culture that rivals anywhere else on earth.

I can’t wait to share these fun facts about Ukraine with you!

1. Ukraine is Twice the Size of Italy

Ukraine is a lot larger than people think it is. It is the second-largest European country and is twice as large as Italy!

Ukraine is 603.55 square km or 233 square miles.

2. The National Dish is Borscht

Don’t knock it til you try it!

Borscht is a delicious and hearty soup made from a base of beets and various vegetables including potatoes, cabbage, and carrots. Many versions also have beef or beans, and both garlic and dill may be used to season it.

Borscht dish

This soup is usually topped with a generous dollop of sour cream and served alongside rye bread.

The great thing about Borscht is that everyone makes it differently. Just don’t make Borscht on Thursdays – it is considered bad luck!

3. Ukraine is a Multi-Lingual Country

While the official language is Ukrainian, most people speak one if not two or more additional languages. Over 20 languages are commonly spoken in Ukraine, and 18 percent of the population speaks English!

4. Ukrainian is Ranked as One of the Most Beautiful Languages

In 1934, Ukrainian was considered the third most beautiful language in the world, beaten only by Persian and French. In terms of melodic quality, it ranked second in the world, after Italy.

5. Ukraine Excels in Education

Surprisingly, Ukraine is often ranked in the top 10 in the world for the most educated population. The literacy rate in Ukraine as of 2022 is 99.7% and 70% of the population has gone on to tertiary schools in pursuit of college degrees.

6. Decorating Easter Eggs is from Ukraine

If you enjoy decorating and dyeing Easter Eggs, you can thank Ukraine for that.

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Pysanky, is a culturally important art form to Ukrainian people and has been in practice for thousands of years. Archaeologists have even found evidence of this practice in pre-historic dig sites in what is now Ukraine.

Decorated Easter Eggs

This intricate art form involves many applications of wax and dye, to create fabulous and intricate designs on eggs. These eggs are then given as gifts to family and friends.

7. Kiev Has One of the Most Popular McDonald’s Locations

The McDonalds on Vokzalna Square in the capital city of Kiev is famous for how busy it is. It is one of the most visited McDonald’s locations and has historically placed third for most visited McDonald’s restaurant worldwide.

8. Trembita is the Longest Wind Instrument

The longest wind instrument in the world is Trembita, a wooden trumpet, which is used in Ukraine.

This musical instrument is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records and measures 8 meters long, with a diameter of 30mm. It was traditionally used as a method of communication in mountain villages.

People watching a Trembita beingplayed

The beginning and end of the day were marked by the call of the trumpet. Special occasions and important announcements were also subject to the sound of the trumpet such as children being born, and warnings in times of danger.

9. There are 7 UNESCO Sites in Ukraine

Ukraine is home to an incredible 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These sites have been judged to have cultural or historical significance to humanity, and are lawfully protected places.

Travel Ukraine lists the 7 UNESCO Sites and explains their cultural significance:

  • St. Sophia Cathedral & Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra
  • Lviv Historic Centre Ensemble
  • Struve Geodetic Arc
  • Virgin Beech Forests of the Carpathians 
  • Residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans
  • Wooden Churches of the Carpathian Region
  • Chersonese

10. Ukraine Has 3 Lavra Status Monasteries

Only 6 monasteries worldwide have Lavra status. Three of them are in Ukraine.

  • Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra
  • Holy Dormition Lavra
  • Sviatogorsk Holy Dormition

These sites are historically and culturally significant and Orthodox Christians consider Kyiv Pechersk Lavra to be the second most important location after Jerusalem for religious worship. It is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site because it houses two monuments of architectural significance.

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11. Exquisite Embroidery of Vyshyvanka

The National costume of Ukraine is called Vyshyvanka and is a folk costume suitable for both men and women to wear.

People wearing Vyshyvanka costumes

The base of the shirt is white linen that features hand embroidery of colorful emblems, and symbols. The work is intricate, intriguing, and complex. Floral patterns are quite popular and color palettes and patterns are regional.

12. Superstitions are Normal in Ukraine

Ukrainian people are known to be superstitious. It is quite normal for people to follow these practices in everyday life.

These superstitions should be followed for good luck:

  • Sit between two people with the same name
  • Sit on your luggage before going on a trip
  • If you gift flowers, ensure there are an odd number of flowers

These superstitions should be followed to avoid bad luck:

  • Do not shake hands with someone over a threshold
  • Empty bottles should be removed from tables
  • Spit over the left shoulder if you say something bad, and knock on wood 3 times

13. Ukraine Produces the Most Sunflower Seeds

Ukraine produces more sunflower seeds, meal, and sunflower oil than any other country on earth. Sunflowers and sunflower products have been grown in Ukrainian soil for generations and are the top export of Ukraine.

14. The Sunflower is also Ukraine’s National Flower

The Sunflower has represented peace historically and is the national flower of Ukraine.

15. The Breadbasket of Europe

Ukraine doesn’t only grow sunflowers – they are one of the biggest producers of wheat in the world. As such, they have earned the nickname ‘the breadbasket of Europe’.

Much of the bread that Europe and other countries enjoy comes from flour made from Ukrainian wheat. Disruptions to the agricultural processes of Ukraine have a worldwide effect on products made from wheat.

16. Ukraine Has a Tunnel of Love

Ukraine’s Tunnel of Love isn’t found at an amusement park. It is a section of an industrial railway that has been beautified by nature and careful landscaping.

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The famous Tunnel of Love with hand in love shape

Surrounded by lush greenery, it is a romantic place to take a walk.

17. Snake Island Belongs to Ukraine

Ukraine borders the Black Sea, and an island located there is currently owned by Ukraine.

It once held a Greek temple that honored Achilles and was known as White Island by the Greeks.

This island has long been disputed territory between many nations, and at times has been held by the Romans, Romania, and Russia.

18. The First Eastern European University

The oldest University in Eastern Europe is the Ostrog Academy. It was built in 1576 by Prince Konstantin-Vasily of Ostrog. The university was originally established as a Slavic-Greek-Latin Academy.

19. Ukrainians Wear Wedding Rings on the Right Hand

The right hand is seen as a source of power, knowledge, and positive changes and is considered more fitting for a wedding ring.

If a Ukrainian is wearing a wedding ring on the left side, it usually meant that their spouse had passed away.

20. Austria and Ukraine Disagree Over Who Invented the European Coffee House

It is undoubtedly true that coffee culture in both Austria and Ukraine is of extreme national importance. The roots of European coffee culture, however, are in contention.

The reason for the dispute is that the first cup of coffee brewed in Europe supposedly happened in Vienna, Austria in the 1680s. However, the person who brewed it was a war hero from Ukraine named Yuri Kulchitsky.

Regardless of who invented it, I can say confidently that life in Europe wouldn’t be the same without the amazing coffee culture on this continent.

21. Ukrainian Pharmacists Invented the Gas Lamp

The gas lamp was the height of innovation in 1853. Two pharmacists from Ukraine (Jan Zeh and Ignacy Łukasiewicz) are responsible for creating this groundbreaking invention.

A statue of Jan Zeh

It gave off 12 times the amount of light as a candle and was around 75 percent cheaper!

22. Several Hollywood Stars are From Ukraine

Ukraine has produced several talented performers that are known throughout the world. Mila Kunis, Milla Jovovich, Vera Farmiga, and Leonard Nimoy are all from Ukraine!


Christina loves to travel and recently moved from America to Austria to experience everything Europe has to offer. Her passion for travel is rivaled only by her love of writing. Armed with her English degree, she funds her travels writing for several websites including MyCountryFacts!

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