Ukraine is a country that situated in Eastern Europe. It covers a territory of 603,700 sq km. Ukraine borders on Belarus, Russia, Moldova, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania. It is washed by the Black Sea and the sea of Azov in the south.
In Ukraine there are 24 administrative regions, the autonomous Republic of the Crimea and 2 municipalities. The capital of the state is Kyiv with its population of 2,645,000.
More than 70 thousand rivers and streams intersect Ukraine, the most important of them are the Dnipro, the Dnister, the Southern Buh, the Desna, the Siverskyi Donets, the Prypyat. The third longest river in Europe, Dnipro is the main river in Ukraine on the banks of which a number of big industrial cities are located.
The territory of the country is largely flat (95%) and only a small part of it (5%) is mountainous. The largest mountain system is the Carpathian Mountains which extend for more than 270 km and have the highest peak Goverla (2061 m). Ukraine is a land of scenic beauty with broad expanses of seas and rivers, green carpets of fields and meadows, grassy rolling hills and wooded mountains.
Ukraine enjoys generally a temperate continental climate. And only the southern coast of the Crimea(SCC) is a subtropical zone. The average January temperature varies from -7 C in the north-east to +4 C on the SCC, that of July, respectively, +19 C in the west and +24 C on the SCC. The annual precipitation, being 300-600 mm approximately, is distributed unevenly throughout the territory of Ukraine.
The capital of Ukraine is Kyiv. One of the biggest cities of Europe, Kyiv has a population of 2,645,000. Its area covers over 700 sq km. Stretching along the picturesque banks of the legendary full-flowing Dnipro (the Dnieper River), it stands at the crossroads of major internal and transnational railroads, highways and air lines. Kyiv has two airports: for national and international flights. It is a big railroad junction and a river port on the Dnipro. From Kyiv you can make a non-stop voyage to the Mediterranean and to the Atlantic Ocean aboard "river-sea" ships. City transport includes metro (underground), buses, trolley buses/cars, cable cars or funicular and taxis.
The core of a big branchy tree as Ukraine is, Kyiv has a history rooted deeply into ancient times. According to an old legend it was founded at the end of the 5th century by three brothers Kyi, Shchek, Khoriv and their sister Lybid who settled on the hills near the Dnipro and called their town-citadel Kyiv after the name of their brother Kyi.
Kyiv was the "mother of all Russian towns and cities", "the Promised land of Slavs, their Jerusalem, and the Dnipro - their Jordan River".
It was in Kyiv where in 988 Prince Volodymyr introduced Christianity into Rus as the official state religion.
Ancient Kyiv has given us priceless frescoes and mosaics, a wealth of museum relics, a necklace of architectural monuments such as second-to-none Kyiv-Pecherska Lavra, founded in 1051, the Orthodox holy place and their Mecca, or a precious pearl of the 11th century - St. Sophia Cathedral founded by Prince Yaroslav the Wise, the Golden Gate, one of the most remarkable fortifications of that time, St. Andrew's Church, the immortal creation of Rastrelli and the world beauty of the 18th century, and a great deal of other samples of exquisite architectural designs.
Kyiv is famous for its greenery and is said to be the greenest city-capital in Europe looking like a city within a park. In the chain of major cities of Ukraine are such big industrial and administrative centers as Kharkiv (population - 1,598,600), the second city after Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk (1,175,600), Donetsk (1,113,500), Zaporizhzhya (894,700), Lviv (809,400), one of oldest and most beautiful and unique cities of Europe, Odessa (1,073,200), the main sea gates of the country, a charming city that is poetically called "a pearl by the seaside" and others.
Several cities situated in the sunny Crimea are excellent health resorts and ideal places for rest and recreation. These are magic Yalta with its salubrious sea air, medical mud and abundance of greenery, mild Yevpatoriya with its warm caressing sea and sandy beaches Alushta, Alupka, Feodosiya, and many others.
The official state language in the country is Ukrainian. But due to a long period of russification, Russian is still popular in some regions.