G is for… Golden Domes
Ukraine’s onion-shaped golden-domed churches and monasteries are probably its most photographed sights and deservedly so in my opinion. I never get bored of looking at them and I actually feel my spirits lift when I catch glimpses of my favourite, St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery, when I’m wandering around Kiev!
H is for… Hryvnia
Ukraine’s currency is the Hryvnia. We still have trouble pronouncing the word and quite often find ourselves asking “how many hyenas is that?!” Ukraine is one of the cheapest countries in Europe to travel in, possibly the cheapest. There are currently 33.5 hryvni to the British pound, 30.7 to the Euro and 26 to the US dollar. A pint of beer in a local bar can cost as little at 15 Hryvnia and just 2 Hryvnia gets you a ride on a trolley bus or tram in most cities.
I is for… Independence Day
In commemoration of Ukraine’s Declaration of Independence in 1991, Independence Day is celebrated each year on the 24th August. We were in Kiev last month to enjoy their 26th Independence Day which was celebrated with a big military parade, music and a good day out!
J is for… Jewish History
Not a part of history that is immediately associated with Ukraine, but Jewish settlements can be traced back to the 4th century. The Jewish community was heavily persecuted by the Cossacks in the 1600s but more than half of the Jewish population was tragically wiped out during the Second World War.
K is for… Kiev
Whether you spell it Kiev or Kyiv, it still begins with K. Ukraine actually has lots of cool places beginning with K including Kharkov, Kremenets and Kamenets Podolskiy but an A-Z of Ukraine wouldn’t be complete without including Kiev. Ukraine’s capital may get a bad rap from some, but it’s among my favourite cities in the world.
L is for… Lutsk
But everyone has heard of Lviv and although it’s definitely a “must visit”, I’m going to go with little-known, off-the-beaten-path Lutsk. With a history dating back to 1085, Lutsk is one of the oldest cities in Ukraine. As well as a medieval fortress, our highlights included Soviet-era mosaics, street art and an abandoned Aeroflot plane in an apartment building carpark!