7 Mind-Blowing Facts About Ukraine You Hardly Knew

7 Mind-Blowing Facts About Ukraine You Hardly Knew

As I’ve been working as a Kiev private guide for several years and have been communicating with tourists from different countries, I’ve realized that tourists really know very little about Ukraine. Except  for the beautiful Ukrainian  women))
Surely, there are nice articles in such significant publishers as www.telegraph.co.uk. 

In this post, want to tell you more.
I’d like to share with the most obscure facts, 100%  unknown to you before!
Usually, during the Kiev tour, I give my tourists valuable tips concerning their stay in Kiev. I recommend places worth visiting, budget time spending places, hidden spots.
Recently, I conducted a tour to one of my tourists from Switzerland, as usually, I was telling him about Kiev history and Ukraine. But during the conversation, I realized that my tourist had known so little about Ukraine and Kiev.
It dawned on me that as a private tour guide in Kiev I must spread to the world the good word about Ukraine, about Kiev, and friendly Kievans!
Here below you may read some valuable and important information about Kiev and Ukraine. These are the facts which appeared in my mind the earliest. Here we go!

My must-have list for my dearest tourists

  • Kievan Rus – ancient powerful Slavic feudal state of Eastern Slavs of the 9-13 centuries

Kievan Rus – first powerful East Slavic state. It reached its peak in the early to mid-11th century.

Originally, the lands of this state only covered the Middle Dnipro River area – Kiev, Chernigiv, Pereyasliv regions, so it did not extend beyond the territory where ancestors of Ukrainians lived. These were Slavic tribes whose tribal alliances gradually transformed into tribal principalities. Thus at the turn of the 8-9 centuries around the modern territory of Kyiv appeared the first East Slavic state. The origin of the term “Rus” in history is not completely examined. There are some versions of this subject, including its Iranian, Slavic or Baltic-Slavic origin and the most common – Scandinavian-Finnish etymology.

  • Kievan Rus was baptized in 988. Until that time it was pagan.

On the eve of the baptism of Kievan Rus, Slavic paganism reached its greatest development. The cult of pagan god  Perun became the state religion of Kievan Rus.  Prince of Kiev Volodymyr  (947-1015) set his heart on the Christian religion as with its help he wanted to unite the various tribes around Kyiv and combine them into one nation – “the Rus”. The massive baptism of Rus was not always voluntary and the process of forced Christianization of the people lasted for a long time.

  • Kievan Rus Princess Anna Yaroslavna – the Queen of France

Anna Yaroslavna

Anna Yaroslavna (1032 or 1036 -.1075/1089) the Queen of France- the youngest of the three daughters of the Prince of Kiev Yaroslav the Wise, was married to the French King Henry I.

In her letters to the beloved father, she wrote: “In what a barbarian country you send me? Into the stinking hole, to France, to Paris-town, damn it! The houses here are gloomy, the churches are miserable, the manners are terrible. You said the French are smart people, but they do not know even about the stove. As winter begins, they start heating a fireplace. There is smoke in the whole palace, but it is so cold. Only Rus sables and beavers save me here”.

  • Striking irreversible losses of Ukraine in IIWW

In the IIWW a number of losses of Ukraine were up to 15 million people. During the war were mobilized nearly 7 million Ukrainian people, representing 23% of the personnel of the Soviet Armed Forces. Marshals and generals, Ukrainians by birth, led almost half of the 15 fronts, including about 300 generals of the war. During the Battle of the Dnipro and the liberation of Kyiv, the total losses of Soviet troops were almost 1.5 million people.

  • Ukraine – an Aspiring IT Outsourcing Superpower

In 2012 earnings of Ukrainians on the biggest web employment platform, “Elance” (today’s “Upwork”) exceeded USD 38 million and demonstrated the fourth global result and the first in Europe. It was a strong signal of the rapidly growing IT outsourcing capabilities of a former USSR country. Ukrainian people have a tremendous intellectual potential powered by decades of competition between the Soviet Union and the United States.

As a matter of fact, Ukraine used to be one of the biggest talent pools for the USSR. Ukrainian scientists and engineers were behind the outstanding accomplishments in the aerospace industry and astronautics including the world’s first satellites and manned space rockets. As we all know the Internet and the first computers were first created to serve military purposes too. In fact, one of the first electronic computers produced in continental Europe was built in the capital of Ukraine in 1952. So you can imagine how much intellectual capabilities a nation should have in order to help create and sustain a superpower competing with the highly developed Western world for decades.

  • The Ukrainian language differs significantly in different regions of the country.

There are three dialects in Ukraine: south-western, south-eastern and northern. Each of them is divided into subdialects and those in turn – into even smaller subdialects. I can hardly understand a Ukrainian from Chernivtsi region(Western Ukraine). And also a big part of Ukrainians speak “surzhyk” – a mix of Ukrainian and Russian languages.The prevalence of “surzhyk” is the greatest in the countryside. It originated at the end of the 18th century when Ukrainians underwent linguistic Russification and influence of the Russian empire.

  • Kiev Mayor – Vitali Klitschko – is a former three-time world boxing heavyweight champion,” Dr. Ironfist”

Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko

Vitali Klitschko is the only heavyweight world champion (1996- 2013 y.y.) to have never been knocked down in any fight. Alongside George Foreman, he is the only heavyweight boxer in history to defend a world title after turning 40. Vitali started his politic career in 2005 and combined this with his professional boxing career until his retirement from the sport in December 2013 after the fight with Lennox Lewis. His younger brother Wladimir Klitschko, a former world heavyweight champion having held the titles of the WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO for a decade. Wladimir is rightfully considered to be one of the top 10 boxing heavyweights of all time.

These are all the facts which came to my mind first and foremost. And I really hope the information was interesting and informative. I guess I will keep the post edited, as soon as I remember something new and useful for you about Ukraine.



I am Victoria - a passionate Kiev tour guide. Proud to be a Ukrainian, deeply interested in the history and traditions of my native country, love the Ukrainians, and happy to share my knowledge with my tourists.

Posted in Interesting about Ukraine and Ukrainians Tagged with: , , , ,
4 comments on “7 Mind-Blowing Facts About Ukraine You Hardly Knew
  1. Ava says:

    Great post, Victoria! It seems that you really love your homeland. So young and so adept to the history and culture of your country. Keep it up and good luck to you!

    • vici says:

      Oh! Thank you so much for your kind words, Ava! All you’ve said is absolutely true! And please don’t forget to include Kiev in your 2017 travel list, I will do my best to make you fall in love with amazing Kiev!

  2. Robert A. Crouse says:

    Vitali Klitschko is a good guy, it was a bad idea to go into the politics.. But as a boxer he is really great, one of the greatest in the heavyweight champions’ division ever.

    • Victoria says:

      Hi, Robert! Klitschko brothers are really great guys. We, Ukrainians, are proud of them! As for Vitali, may be his best times in politics are ahead!..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *