Hello everyone!

 

       Although I am not a writer and my English is too far from perfection, I designed this site on my online friend's request to tell about my country and I did it with pleasure.

      Of course I had to open my daughter's school-books, some guides and encyclopedia

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As you see blue and yellow - it's colors of our national flag. It's symbolize the union of two main sources of life in the Earth - water and sun. But for many my fellow citizens it also mean calm blue sky under our land, coverd with gold wheat.

This image of the Ukrainian Trident was created by Mark Turczan       Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe after Russia and bounded by Belarus to the north; Russia to the north and east; the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov in the south; on the southwest by Romania and Moldova; and on the west by Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland.

Map of Ukraine       Ukraine’s geographic location between Europe and Asia was an important factor in its early history. The steppes were the domain of Asiatic nomads, the Black Sea coast was inhabited by Greek colonists, and the forests in the northwest were the homeland of the agrarian East Slavic tribes from whom, eventually, the Ukrainian, Russian, and Belarusian nations evolved. As the East Slavs expanded, they accepted, in the 9th century, a Varangian (Viking) elite that led them to establish a vast domain, centered in Kyiv (Kiev) and called Kyivan Rus. It became one of the largest, richest, and most powerful lands in medieval Europe. In 988 Saint Volodymyr (Vladimir), grand prince of Kyiv, accepted Orthodox Christianity, and in this way brought Kyivan Rus under the cultural influence of the Byzantine Empire. In 1240 it fell to the invading Mongols.
      Ukraine was for centuries thereafter under the rule of a succession of foreign powers, including Poland and the Russian Empire. In 1918 a Bolshevik (Communist) government was established in Ukraine, and in 1922 the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) was one of the four founding republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Ukraine’s declaration of independence, approved by a popular vote on December 1, 1991, was a major factor in the USSR’s collapse later that month.

International Palace of Arts, picture by Boris Samoilenko Ukraine has the second highest population of countries in the former USSR, with an estimated population of 51,867,828 in 1995. Only Russia has more people. Ethnic Ukrainians make up 73 percent of the population, while Russians have 22 percent of the population.
      Ukrainian is a Slavic language closely related to Russian, and is the official language, although Russian is widely spoken.
      Architecture in Ukraine has a rich history. On the high Kiev' hill in the green of chestnuts trees (near Independence Square) there is International Palace of Arts (now called Culture Center of the City of Kyiv), formerly the Boarding-school for Young Ladies of Noble built by architect Vikenty Berettii in 1839-42 in the style of Neoclassicism.
      Ukrainian folk art is especially rich, particularly in the Carpathian regions of western Ukraine. Outstanding examples of folk art are the famous intricately designed Ukrainian Easter eggs, called Pysanky, and embroidery.

National Opera of Ukraine. Picture by Roger Pollard Ukrainians possess a remarkable repertoire of folk songs, and singing is an important part of our culture neither as dynamic and colorful folk dances.
      When Ukraine under King Volodymyr (St. Vladimir) accepted Christianity from Byzantium in 988 A.D. many pagan traditions were in existence which were adapted by the Church to the new religion. Some of those traditions have survived a thousand years and now form a part of today s Christmas celebrations.
      The people in our parts go carolling beneath the windows of the cottages on Christmas eve. The singers always receive gifts from the mistress or master of the house, or whoever is at home, of a sausage, or a loaf of bread, or a copper coin, depending on what they have. We call the carols "Kolyadki". People mostly sing about the nativity of Christ; at the end they wish the master, mistress, their children and all the household the best of health.

Below are links to some samples of Ukrainian songs, dance and Christmas carols.

  • Shchedryk (Ephiphany Carol) - M. Leontovych
  • Rachel's Lament - T. Kupchynsky
  • "Dobry' vechir" (...Earth, rejoice that son of the God was born... )
  • Pavochka khodyt' (A Peacock is Walking) - A. Avdievsky
  • Hopak, Traditional Ukrainian dance. Ukrainian dances are among the most physically demanding in the world, and the Hopak is one of the most challenging.
  • "Ukrayina" (Ukraine! True heart of your son I put to your legs...) - Taras Petrynenko.
  • "Boje! Ukrayinu zbereji" (Oh, God preserve Ukraine! ..." - Tetyana Horobets and Taras Petrynenko
  • "Wild Dance" - Ruslana
  • "Bez boyu" (I shall not surrender without fight) - Okean Elzy

                        Many people wonder why do Ukrainians celebrate Christmas on January 7th rather than December 25th?
The Ukrainian date is thirteen days later and only a few people are aware that it is related to a change from the calendar which was in use two thousand years ago.
      Tradition plays a great part in the lives of people of Ukrainian origin and it is for this reason that they have continued to celebrate Christmas on the old date that would have been observed by all Christians.
      The Roman calendar that had been in use since the eighth century B.C. originally started the year on March 1 and had 10 months as the names of the months themselves indicate, September (7), October (8), November (9) and December (10). Eventually two months were added, Januarius and Februarius, and the year was started on January. However, it was only 355 days long so it had over ten days error and the seasons and the calendar over the years continued to lose their correct relationship.

Ukrainian food      Rather frequently, communicating with people from other countries, especially from those where there is a Ukrainian community, I see alive interest to the Ukrainian national cuisine.
Many Ukrainian dishes -
borsch, vareniki, cottage cheese patties, pyrogi and others are especially popular. Therefore I placed some recipes in new page for those who would like to try it.

 


Listen to Ukrainian National Anthem

Kiev, a scenic city of close to 3 million people situated on the Dnipro River, is the bustling capital of Ukraine.

Chestnut' flower
Kiev is a really beautiful city with its marvellous hills and unique sightseeings. Having bunch of trees and flowers it is always associated with chestnuts. In the middle of May they are especially beautiful.

Richard's Castle, 1976, painting of Valeriy Akopov
Kiev architectural landscape
is unique. Due to the huge number of orthodox churches it is called sometimes the Gold-Domed city.

Kyjevo-Pecherska Lavra (Calvin Cave Monastery) Picture by Frank Parolek

About half of Ukraine's territory, especially the central and southern regions, consists of the exceptionally fertile black chernozem, a type of soil that is ideal for agriculture. Forests cover 13 percent of Ukraine’s territory.
The climate is temperate continental, with a subtropical Mediterranean climate in the southern portions of the Crimean Peninsula. The average monthly temperature in winter ranges from -8° to 2° C (17.6° to 35.6° F), while summer temperatures average 17° to 25° C (62.6° to 77° F).


Mariyinsky palace, the official residance of President of Ukraine
Mariyinsky palace, the official residance of The President of Ukraine
Bohdan Khmelnytskyi Square
Bohdan Khmelnytskyi Square in Kiev
Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) is the main square of Kiev


            It seems I am trying to fill in one page what could be express only in volumes :) So... I need to finish.
      Ukraine gives to World culture so many bright personalities! It's impossible to notice even most of them. I will designete only few names:
      Taras Shevchenko - most renowned cultural figure, romanticist poet-painter ;
      Kazimir Malevich and Vladimir Tatlin were leading representatives of the avant-garde;
       Alexander Archipenko - most famous sculptor, a pioneer of the cubist style. He emigrated to the United States in 1923;
      Volodymir Horowitz was born and received piano education in Kiev... and more more..

      And few words else for closing ... It is so wonderful that so many people of different cultures inhabits our Earth. All this make life rich of impressions and interesting. We only need to learn to be more patient, more wise and more kindly...

My best regards,
Elena Yermolyeva



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