Realizing that Ukraine was a part of the Soviet Union for a long time and was in the shadow of Russia, we understand that not everybody knows that Ukraine is located in the center of Europe and not somewhere in Africa or in some islands. Interesting facts about Ukraine will help us to confirm the existence of our rich history, Ukraine impact on the life and development of the European countries and the contribution of the Ukrainians to the world treasury.
Few millenniums before Christ there was a civilization in the territory of the modern Ukraine – specifically, it was Trypillya culture, which is considered to be one of the most ancient agricultural cultures. Except extensive agriculture which was considered to be a technology breakthrough at that time (about 5000 BC) its achievement and outstanding feature included very developed ceramics craftsmanship. The area of the Trypillya proto-cities sometimes achieved 250 square kilometers (the settlements, whose occupation area was one third higher than the area of the modern Washington). Trypillya culture had an impact not only on the Eastern European region but indirectly it influenced Cretan and Mycenaean and Aegean cultures, and Ancient Greece too. That is why a monument was built in Rzhischev city, 40 km of the Museum of Trypillya culture. This monument is devoted not to the event or outstanding person but to the culture which had impact on the whole world. The monument has a form of binocular (such forms are typical for Trypillya ceramics), in which the future generations look through the past into the future recollecting the outstanding pages of their history.
The same way like Trypillya culture (or even proto-civilization) which at its time was the most developed and progressive center of its region, 2 thousand years later the city of Kiev, the capital of modern Ukraine and at that time – the time of European Middle Ages flourishing – the capital of Kievan Rus, was the largest and most populated city in Europe. As a comparison, in the beginning of the 13th century 30 000 people lived in London and 50 000 people lived in Kiev. It was the largest European city at that time.
This example is not the only one indicating to the historical greatness of the Ukrainian lands of that time and not of Kievan Rus in particular. Two hundred years earlier the French King Henry the First looking for the outside support and seeking for the alliance to oppose the German Empire, asked for a hand of Yaroslav the Wise daughter – Anna Yaroslavovna. Henry received not only a wife and support but the serious influence of a woman who was able to write (unlike of notable vassals, French barons of His Majesty) and was so broad-minded that the Pope Nicholas the Second and his successor Gregory VII wrote her letters filled with respect and piety. There was a legend that Anna Yaroslavovna brought the Cyrillic Gospel Book from Kiev, which became the relic of the French kings, on which they swore fealty till the end of the 18th century. In any case Anna Yaroslavovna is left in history forever as the progenitor of the 30 kings from the Capetian dynasty, which governed France more than 300 years. Yaroslav the Wise had 2 more daughters – the first one was a wife of Harald the Brave, the King of Norway, and the second one a wife of Andrey, the King of Hungary
Interesting fact about Ukraine: the first Ukrainian woman known in the world was Olga, the wife of Prince Igor, who came to power after his death. It was a strange and exceptional event for that time: a woman governed the huge state since 944 till 969; this fact demonstrates her talent and iron will. She was a wise politician and experienced leader of the state. She was good at governing her lands – she established the new laws and founded the new cities.
There are many outstanding and famous personalities having Ukrainian roots. They include Nikolay Gogol, Anton Chekhov, Fedor Dostoevsky – the writers, Vladimir Mayakovsky – a poet, Petr Chaikovsky – a composer and Ilya Repin – an artist.
Some historians consider Philipp Orlik, a famous public and political figure of Ukraine, to be the author of the first, modern type constitution in the world. He was elected to be the Hetman of Zaporozhye Cossacks in 1710. And then he wrote the Constitution of the rights and liberties of the Zaporizhyan Army. The Constitution was developed when the author was in exile and that was why it did not come into effect in Ukraine. But the Ukrainian historians consider its text to be the original record of the legislative texts, which specify the possibility of development of the democratic parliament republic for the first time in Europe.
There are a few famous Ukrainian sportsmen, who became the legend of elite sport. Sergey Bubka (pole-jumping) – he set 35 world records. Oleg Blokhin and Igor Belanov (football) were awarded with the “golden ball” as the best football players of Europe at their time. The sport world remembers the young Ukrainian figure-skater Oksana Bayul, who did an impossible thing at the winter Olympic Games in 1994 – being 16 years old she won her first golden medal. Ukrainian school of free calisthenics is also famous in the world. Irina Deryugina was the real star at her time. Today she established her own school of free calisthenics. Larisa Latynina (gymnasyics) won 18 Olympic medals. She went down in history for the greatest achievements in the history of the Olympic Games. Anna Bessonova (free calisthenics), Andrey Medvedev (tennis), Zhanna Pintusevich-Block (running), Yana Klochkova (swimming) added their achievements to the sport history of Ukraine. There are a lot of fans of the Klichko brothers – Vitaly and Vladimir – famous Ukrainian boxers. The name of Andrey Shevchenko – the football player – is famous in the world and he is an idol for many small fans of football.
Ukraine is a historical and cultural treasury, which has been developed for many years by the people living in our country. There are more than 125 thousand historical, archeological monuments, pieces of art, a lot of museums with more than 10 million of exhibits, 14 thousand architectural monuments, more than 1000 objects of park art, 46 historical cultural reserves in Ukraine. Some objects are of the global significance. Sophia Kyivska, Pechersk Lavra, the center of the city of Lvov (in total 200 architectural monuments) are included into the list of the world cultural heritage. Some other national Ukrainian monuments are being considered to be included into this list.
One fourth of the global black earth soil is located in the territory of Ukraine.
Some more interesting facts about Ukraine... The largest monasteries are called Lavra. Only 6 monasteries in the world have the status of Lavra. You do not believe: three of them are located in Ukraine – Kiev Pechersk Lavra of the Holy Dormition in Kiev, which received this status in 1598, Holy Dormition Lavra in Pochaevo and Holy Dormition Lavra in Svyatogorsk of Donetsk region.
Kyiv-Mohyla Academy is the oldest educational institution in the Eastern Europe (1615). However, the first higher educational institution in Ukraine was Ostroh College, founded in Ostroh city by Prince Konstantin Ostorozhsky in 1576. At that time they were the only higher educational institutions in the Easter European world.
By the way, Rakhov, the Ukrainian town located in the Carpathians, is officially considered to be a geographical center of Europe. And Ukraine itself is the largest European state whose whole territory is geographically located in Europe.
Still have any doubts? May be you would like to get to know more facts about Ukraine? Then see the article Famous Ukrainians.
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