The Alternative Guide to… Ukraine

06 Jun 2016

Ukraine at a Glance

Capital city: Kiev
Population: 42.6 million
Local currency: Ukrainian Hryvnia (£1 = 37UAH)
Famous face: Actress Mila Kunis (married to Ashton Kutcher) was born in the Ukraine

5 things you never knew about the Ukraine

Ukraine is the largest country in Europe, covering a sizeable 603,550km. Russia would be, but much of its land mass falls within Asia.

Unknown by many, Ukraine has Mediterranean-like beach resorts along its Black Sea coast (main picture, above) and Crimean Peninsula, which get 300 days of sunshine a year. Odessa is one of the larger and more established resorts, and Saki is popular for its medicinal mud and minerals.

According to a 2015 survey by, Kiev was officially the cheapest city in the world for beer, with the average bottle costing just over a £1. We'll drink to that.

Ukraine won the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest (watched by 204 million), with "1944" by Jamala.

Contrary to popular belief, chicken Kiev was actually invented in France rather than the Ukrainian capital. It's still a popular dish though, along with holubtsi (cabbage rolls stuffed with meat and rice) and varenyky (stodgy dumplings).

National dish 

Borscht - a rich and hearty soup made with beetroot, which gives it a distinctive deep red colouring.

If you see one thing in the Ukraine, make sure it’s…

... the Chornobyl Museum in Kiev. Here you can learn about the nuclear accident (the world's worst) at the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant in 1986. There are over 7000 exhibits on show, which lead you through the tragic events of the day and the subsequent recovery. The museum does an excellent job of making you feel like you at actually at the nuclear site. Chilling, but very interesting. 

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