A Brief Introduction to Ukrainian Culture

From UNESCO World Heritage to the 'soniashnyk' national flower

Zacharovanyi Krai (Enchanted Land) National Nature ParkCFC Big Ideas in association with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy

1. Ukraine is the largest country in Europe

For some perspective, Ukraine spans an area about twice the size of Italy. And its geographical size is matched by its cultural richness and diversity.

Sunflowers (January 1889 - 1889) by Vincent van GoghVan Gogh Museum

2. Ukraine's symbol is the sunflower

The sunflower (or "soniashnyk") is Ukraine's national flower and has been grown in the region since the middle of the 18th century, cultivated for its seeds or crushed for oil. They are also a cultural symbol of growing in tough circumstances, and a decades-long symbol of peace.

Cathedral of St. Sophia the Wisdom of God (1011/1018)CFC Big Ideas in association with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy

3. Ukraine is home to 7 World Heritage Sites

UNESCO designates some of the most important parts of the world, and Ukraine is lucky enough to be home to seven: from iconic churches like St. Sophia Cathedral in the capital city of Kyiv, to the natural landscapes and deserts. 

Oleshki SandsCFC Big Ideas in association with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy

4. The second largest desert in Europe is in Ukraine

Located close to Kherson, Oleshky Sands is the second largest desert in Europe. It covers an area that's ten times bigger than Liechtenstein! The desert consists of numerous bahrans and in summer their temperature reaches 75°C.

Borsch with pampushkasCFC Big Ideas in association with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy

5. Ukraine has a tasty food history

When asked to think of a Ukrainian food, many people might think of the humble chicken kyiv, however, it was most likely not invented in Ukraine at all. Instead, the national Ukrainian dish is actually borsch, a distinctive red soup made from beetroot and beef.

6. One of the most famous Christmas songs is Ukrainian

Orginially, 'Shchedryk' is a Ukrainian 'shchedrivka', or New Year's song. In 1916 composer Mykola Leontovych arranged its choral version. In a few years Shchedryk crossed the ocean and was adapted into the iconic Christmas "Carol of the Bells" by Peter J. Wilhousky.

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