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Fun Facts About Ukraine

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Learn all about the second-largest country in Europe with these fun facts about Ukraine!

Ukraine Fun Facts

Basic Facts About Ukraine

Ukraine has many neighboring countries, but its location is best described as being directly north of the Black Sea.

It is the second-largest country in Europe (second to France) at just over 600,000 square miles.

Ukraine is a semi-presidential republic, which means there is a president but also a prime minister and a Cabinet (who are in charge of making the laws).

The national language is Ukrainian, and the capital is Kyiv (pronounced /keev/).

The Ukranian flag is bold in color. It has a thick horizontal yellow bar topped with a bright blue bar. Its colors match a field of sunflowers topped with a blue sky.

Explore Ukraine with a Free Coloring Book

You can explore the following fun facts about Ukraine with this free Ukraine Coloring Book.

The printable book contains some of the fun facts from this list, alongside pictures to color.

It’s the perfect complement to any study of Ukraine.

You can access the book in our Freebies Library.

Ukraine Coloring Book

Are you not yet a member? It’s free to join! The Freebies Library contains loads of games, printables, and activities for every age and stage.

Fill out the form below to join and get your FREE Ukraine Coloring Book.

Now, on to some fun facts about Ukraine!

Ukraine Fun Facts

1. Ukraine Is the Second Largest Country in Europe

Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It is the second largest country in Europe (after Russia).

It borders Russia to the east and northeast.

2. Ukraine’s Nickname Is the “Breadbasket of Europe”

Ukraine is essentially a flat country with fertile farmland. Its soil is ideal for growing crops such as wheat.

Ukraine produces so much wheat that its nickname is the “Breadbasket of Europe.”

They use that wheat to make famous Ukrainian dishes such as paska, a salty bread served at Easter.

Ukrainians see bread as a symbol of wealth and hard work.

3. A Marten Is a Ukrainian Predator

You likely wouldn’t be scared of one of Ukraine’s animal predators; you might even find it cute! The marten is a member of the weasel family.

It has sleek brown fur on its body and a fluffy tail. Its chest area has cream-colored fur.

Martens eat rodents such as hamsters (yes, there are wild hamsters in Ukraine), birds, eggs, and, unfortunately, human garbage.

Ukraine Fun Facts

4. The Sunflower Has been Used as a Symbol of Peace in Ukraine

The sunflower is Ukraine’s national flower, and that’s not just because it is beautiful. It is also a symbol of peace for the country.

Sunflowers grow in abundance in Ukraine. Ukraine is the world’s largest producer of sunflower seeds.

The next time you eat sunflower seeds on a salad, in nutty bread, or just as a salty snack, you could be eating seeds all the way from Ukraine!

5. If You Love Cherries, Visit Ukraine

Both sweet and sour cherries are grown in Ukraine.

A favorite Ukrainian dessert is varenyky, crescent-shaped dumplings stuffed with cherries and topped with sour cream.

6. In Ukraine, Jumping Over a Fire Is a Tradition

On June 23, Ukrainians celebrate a traditional holiday called Kupala Day. This day commemorates “the birth of the sun” on the longest day of the year.

Boys and girls hold hands and jump over a fire. Traditional says that if a couple jumps over the fire and manages to keep their hands clasped, their love will last.

Ukraine Fun Facts

7. Decorating Easter Eggs Started in Ukraine

Ukraine has long been an agricultural country. They need the sun to warm the air and bring spring (the “resurrection of nature”) to their farms.

Long ago, people tried to usher in the sun’s warmth by decorating eggs with dyes and wax.

They believed these eggs had the power to welcome the sun’s warmth to their land each spring. They would display the eggs in homes, give them as gifts, and even bury them in their yards.

When Christianity arrived, the pagan tradition melded with the church holiday of Easter. The decorated eggs continue to symbolize resurrection but in a new way.

8. The Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster Happened in Ukraine

The Chernobyl disaster was an accident that happened on April 26, 1986, at the number four nuclear reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

The accidental explosion blew the 1,000-ton roof off of the plant’s reactor and released massive amounts of radiation.

9. The Ciconia Is the National Bird

The national bird is the ciconia, a white stork.

It has long red legs, a pointy red beak, and primarily white feathers (with some black).

The Ciconia is the “National Bird of the Slavic State of the Ukraine.”

10. The Ukrainian House Is Called “Khata”

The word “khata” is Ukrainian for peasant house, and it refers to the rural houses found in Ukraine’s countryside.

The khata is made from local materials, so depending on where you are in Ukraine, it may be made from wood, clay, or brick.

11. The Trembita Is the World’s Longest Musical Instrument

Try carrying the trembita around! The trembita can be anywhere from 3-10 feet long.

The trembita is a traditional woodwind instrument made from spruce and bound with birch bark. It has a metal mouthpiece.

It developed as a way for shepherds to communicate across long distances.

Ukraine Fun Facts

12. The Ukrainians Took Gold Many Times in Rhythmic Gymnastics

Rhythmic gymnastics is a sport that combines dance, gymnastics, and calisthenics. It is currently only a sport for female athletes.

It became an Olympic sport in 1984.

The five possible apparatuses for rhythmic gymnastics are:

  1. rope, which involves leaping and skipping
  2. hoop, which involves rotation, swinging, and throwing
  3. ball, which involves throwing, bouncing, and rolling with continuous and graceful movement
  4. clubs, which involves throwing with rotation and catching
  5. ribbon, which involves twirling or flicking the ribbon in continuous waves and spirals

The Ukrainians have numerous gold medal winners, such as Ganna Rizatdinova, Anna Bessonova, Olena Vitrychenko, Tatyana Gutsu, Oleksandra Tymoshenko, Tamara Yerofeeva, and Kateryna Serebrianskaya.

13. The Viburnum Opulus Plant Is an Important Element to Ukrainian Folk Culture

The Virburnam opulus is a plant that produces a bright red berry.

The berry boldly stands out against the winter white of Ukraine.

Because of its incredible beauty, Viburnum opulus is a symbol of Ukrainian identity.

It symbolizes the native land of Ukraine, blood, and family roots.

Viburnum is mentioned in Ukrainian poems and songs. Its picture is embroidered on shirts and ritual cloths.

Viburnum berries are a key element in traditional wreaths.

14. It Takes 5 Minutes to Ride an Escalator Down to the Subway

The world’s second deepest metro station is in Kyiv at Arsenala. (The deepest station is in North Korea.)

It is 346 feet below the surface. You have to ride two escalators for five minutes to reach the station.

15. The Ukrainians Love Red Soup

Borscht is a sour soup typical in Ukraine.

Red beetroot is one of the main ingredients in borscht.

The beetroots give the soup its characteristic red color.

Ukraine Fun Facts

16. Ukraine Is Home to the Oldest Beech Forest

In the Carpathian mountains of western Ukraine lies a forest of beech trees that has been untouched since the last ice age (estimated at 11,000 years ago).

It is illegal to cut trees in that forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Much of the area is a national park.

Ancient forests are sometimes called primeval forests.

17. Saint Sophia Cathedral Is a National Landmark

The Saint Sophia Cathedral is located in the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv.

It’s one of the city’s best-known landmarks.

It is not named after a saint named “Sophia,” as the name suggests.

It is named after a famous 6th-century cathedral in Constantinople, the Hagia Sophia (meaning “Holy Wisdom”).

Saint Sophia Cathedral was built in 1101 AD. It is white with domed roofs in green and gold.

18. The Bandura Has Up to 68 Strings

The bandura is a Ukrainian instrument in which you pluck strings.

A guitar has six strings, but a bandura has up to 68!

It’s the national musical instrument of Ukraine.

19. The Motherland Monument (or Mother Ukraine) Stands in Kyiv

The Mother Ukraine monument is a 203-foot-tall sculpture of titanium. It is a woman with her arms held high.

The statue’s left hand holds a shield, the right hand a sword.

The monument initially commemorated the success of World War II, but it now stands for Ukrainian resilience.

The statue’s base houses the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War.

20. If You Want to Tell If a Ukrainian Is Married, Look at Their Right Hand

While married people in North America and Western Europe wear their wedding rings on their left hand, Ukraine is one the countries where it is customary to wear your wedding band on the right hand.

They wear a gold ring on the fourth finger of their right hand to symbolize union.

Other interesting Ukranian wedding traditions include paying a “ransom” for the bride. The groom brings two loaves of bread to the bride’s house and gives them to the family. Bread is a symbol of blessing.

Tradition holds that if the bride’s family disapproves of the groom, they give him a pumpkin so he does not leave empty-handed.

Ukraine Fun Facts

Read More About Ukraine

If you would like to learn more information and fun facts about Ukraine, check out these books:

The Story of Ukraine

This book walks early elementary students through the once-forbidden and deeply symbolic Ukrainian national anthem.

My Country: Ukraine

This elementary and middle school social studies book on Ukraine explores the country’s traditions, music, art, food, and landmarks.

The Great Book of Ukraine

This book is part history and part trivia. It’s perfect for high school students and adults.

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