Kyiv is the capital of Ukraine. It is also the largest city and main political, economical and cultural center of the country.
The history of Ukraine is at about 1000 years but the most famous part of it – is Cossacks.
After the Union of Lublin in 1569 and the formation of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth Ukraine fell under Polish administration, becoming part of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland. The period immediately following the creation of the Commonwealth saw a huge revitalisation in colonisation efforts.
Peasants who fled efforts to force them into serfdom came to be known as Cossacks and earned a reputation for their fierce martial spirit. Some Cossacks were enlisted by the Commonwealth as soldiers to protect the southeastern borders of Commonwealth from Tatars or took part in campaigns abroad (like Petro Konashevych-Sahaidachny in the battle of Khotyn 1621). Cossack units were also active in wars between the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Tsardom of Russia.
The Cossacks, (from the Turkic kazak,meaning “adventurer” or “free man”), were good warriors and free spiritually people with the base Zaporizka Sich, in Khortytsia Island (at about 520 km from Kyiv).
Blue-and-Yellow is the official Ukraine’s flag
Flags’ colors look like never ending wheat fields and beautiful blue sky above it. Travelling in a summer you will be amazed by it’s beautiful. Make stop and enjoy the great view. Do not forget to make a selfie ☺
The official currency of Ukraine is the Hryvnia (UAH). US dollars and Euros are the easiest currency to exchange in Ukraine
ATMs are available and credit cards are widely used in cities. Outside cities you should make sure you have sufficient cash in local currency.
Most of Ukrainian believers are Orthodox Christians (or Eastern Orthodox), there are also Greek Catholics, Roman Catholics, Muslims, Jews.
Ukraine has a mostly temperate climate, with hot summer, cold winter (snowfalls are common), mild spring and autumn.
Average winter temperature is from -8° to -12° C (from +17.6° F to +3° F). In the Southern regions average winter temperature is 0° C (+32° F).
Average summer temperature is from +18° to +25° C (from +64.4° F to +77° F), although maximum temperature can be more than +35° C (+95° F).
Customs and Traditions
Ukraine, like every other nation has its own customs and traditions. They make Ukrainian culture unique and it is one of the ways for them to know the country better and understand the unique Ukrainian character. Most of the Ukrainian customs and traditions are very old and may tell a lot about the history of Ukraine.
The customs and traditions of Ukraine could be divided into several groups. The first group includes familiar customs, which are connected with birth (celebrations of birth) and marriage rites. Want to have a wedding in Ukrainian style? Just let us know firstname.lastname@example.org
The second group consists of communal customs, which mark important events in the life of the community. Among them are spring songs “vesnianky”, Kupalo festival and others.
There are also very many customs, which are connected with religious holidays.
Traditional Ukrainian cuisine is rich with natural ingredients. You will always remember the taste of tomatoes, cucumbers, pepper, lettuce, onions, apples, grapes and peaches grown in the famous fertile Ukrainian soil.
The Ukraine customs and traditions in cooking are based on a combination of fresh or pickled fruits and vegetables, meat, mushrooms and herbs. Recipes often include a great number of ingredients and their unusual combinations to give them very unique tastes.
The description of Ukrainian cuisine would be incomplete without salo (pork fat). Ukrainians regularly joke, «Salo is our national pride». The Slavic word “salo” or “slanina” as applied to this type of food (it has other meanings as well) is often translated to English as “bacon” or “lard”. Placing a thin sliced salo on black bread with garlic and salt is a quick and simple way to a delicious snack.
Here you find some traditional Ukrainians recipes. Cook and surprise your friends with Ukrainian borsch and varenyky.
To cook hot borscht you need to take ingredients Meat (beef or pork) – 1 kg; Potato – 500 g; Cabbage – 300 g; Beetroot – 400 g; Carrot – 200 g; Onion – 200 g; Tomato paste – 3 tbsp; Garlic – 3 cloves; Bay leaf; Salt; Pepper; Vegetable fat; Culinary plants. Step by step instruction
Prepare the broth first. Put meat into the saucepan with 3-4 liters of water and boil it for two hours. Take meat out of the saucepan and cut it into pieces or dice. Put them into the broth.
Chop up onions, carrots. Cut cabbage and beetroot into sticks. Take frying-pan, add some vegetable fat and slightly fry beetroot, then add tomato paste and stew for 5-7 minutes. Take another frying-pan, add some vegetable fat and slightly fry onions for 2-3 minutes, add carrots and fry for another 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cut potatoes into dice and boil broth. Put potatoes into boiling broth, season with salt. Add cabbage in a few minutes and boil for about 5 minutes. Add beetroot mixed with tomato paste and boil for another 10 minutes.
Add onions with carrots, bay leaf, minced garlic, pepper, culinary plants (you can add other spices).
Remove from heat, wait for 15-20 minutes and serve borscht.
You can cook this red soup in multicooker — the dish will have a great taste anyway.
Varenyky dough recipe
If you don`t know how to make vareniki dough, there are several variations of cooking, using mineral water, curdled milk or boiled water as the basic ingredient. Here is the classic and the most popular recipe for vareniki dough.
Ingredients: egg – 1; wheat flour – 320 g; water – 250 ml; salt – a pinch.
How to cook:
Put one cup of flour into the deep bowl. Add salt. Warm up water till 30-35 degrees and add it to the bowl. Beat up one egg. Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Add the second cup of flour and place the mixture on surface covered with flour. Knead the dough with your hands. If it is sticking add some flour. Continue kneading the dough until it becomes elastic. Cover kneaded vareniki dough with a bowl or damp cloth and leave it for the “rest” for 40 minutes.
When the dough is ready, roll it out and using the special round shape or a cup cut out circles. Then place the filling in the center of each circle and tight up the edges. Put vareniki to the boiling water and boil for several minutes. How to choose varenyky fillings
There is a great variety of varenyky fillings for any taste in Ukraine. They can be sweet or salty, spicy or sour, piquant or unleavened. The most popular fillings are:
meat; potatoes; cottage cheese; cherries; blueberries. Potato vareniki filling ingredients:
potato – 5-6; onion – 3; butter – 100 g; vegetable oil – 2 tbsp.; salt, pepper.
Boil potatoes for 20 minutes and then mash them. Chop onion and fry it finely on the hot pan with vegetable oil. Add fried onion, butter, salt and pepper to the mashed potatoes. Mix all ingredients.
Song, dance and Music Singing: The “bilyj holos” (literally white voice) is a hallmark singing style found in traditional, rural Ukrainian and Eastern European folk music. Mostly it uses the chest register and is close to a controlled scream.
Dances: Probably the most popular Ukrainian dance is Hopak. The name hopak is derived from the verb hopaty which means “to jump,” as well as the corresponding exclamation hop! which can be uttered during a jump as an expression of surprise or amazement. The hopak arose as a male dance at the Zaporozhian Sich in the 16th century and gradually spread throughout Ukraine, particularly through the Kyiv region.
Some of traditional Ukrainian folk music instruments Trembita is a variation of alpine horn made of straight piece of spruce or pine (smereka). Primarily this wind instrument was used by Carpathian Mountains dwellers known as Hutsuls as a signaling device to announce weddings, funerals and other important events. Trembita is usually 3 meters long and 2,5-5 centimeters wide, but shorter trembitas can also be found. The sound of trembita can be heard as far as ten kilometers.
Bandura is uniquely Ukrainian string instrument that combines the acoustic principles of the lute and the harp both. This Ukrainian plucked instrument is considered to have evolved from a line of lute-like instruments. Early instruments had from 6 to 12 strings, but modern variations can have up to 68 strings.
From XV to XVIII century banduras were widely played by kobzari (blind wandering minstrels who sang songs about exploits of Ukrainians) and Cossacks.
Surma is a wind instrument widespread in the Cossack host (Ukrainian Cossacks used it for military signals). It can have many forms but the most common is a conical wood tube with a pirouette (small disc that lies against the player’s lips) and double reed, widening towards the end. Surma has 9 to 10 finger holes. It is thought that the instrument was introduced into Ukraine from Turkey or the Caucasus.