About The Country
Ukraine is a country in Central and Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia. Ukraine borders the Russian Federation to the east and northeast, Belarus to the northwest, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the west, Romania and Moldova to the southwest, and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to the south and southeast, respectively.
Ukrainian customs are heavily influenced by Christianity, which is the dominant religion in the country. Gender roles also tend to be more traditional, and grandparents play a greater role in raising children than in the West. The culture of Ukraine has been also influenced by its eastern and western neighbours, which is reflected in its architecture, music and art.
The Communist era had quite a strong effect on the art and writing of Ukraine. In 1932, Stalin made socialist realism state policy in the Soviet Union when he promulgated the decree "On the Reconstruction of Literary and Art Organizations". This greatly stifled creativity. During the 1980s glasnost (openness) was introduced and Soviet artists and writers again became free to express themselves as they wanted.
The tradition of the Easter egg, known as pysanky, has long roots in Ukraine. These eggs were drawn on with wax to create a pattern; then, the dye was applied to give the eggs their pleasant colours, the dye did not affect the previously wax-coated parts of the egg. After the entire egg was dyed, the wax was removed leaving only the colourful pattern. This tradition is thousands of years old, and precedes the arrival of Christianity to Ukraine. In the city of Kolomya near the foothills of the Carpathian mountains in 2000 was built the museum of Pysanka which won a nomination as the monument of modern Ukraine in 2007, part of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine action.
Voltage is 220 volts and frequency is 50 Hz
Most of the Ukrainian road system has not been upgraded since the Soviet era, and is now outdated. The Ukrainian government has pledged to build some 4,500 km (2,800 mi) of motorways by 2012. In total, Ukrainian paved roads stretch for 164,732 kilometres (102,360 mi). The network of major routes, marked with the letter 'M' for 'International' (Ukrainian: Міжнародний), extends nationwide and connects all the major cities of Ukraine as well as providing cross-border routes to the country's neighbours. Currently there are only two true motorway standard highways in Ukraine; a 175 km stretch of motorway from Kharkiv to Dnipropetrovsk, and a section of the M03 which extends 18 km (11 mi) from Kiev to Boryspil, where the city's international airport is located.
I know my Ukrainian friends will not agree, but the drivers in Ukraine are CRAZY!! The lines on the road are for decoration only, the posted speed limit (when there is one) is only a suggestion. Pedestrians do not have the right-of-way.
However, with that said, in my travels to Ukraine, I have never witnessed a single incident of road rage, not a single car accident, NOTHING! To an outsider, the drivers look completely unorganized - to someone who lives there, it must be very well organized, or there would be more accidents and issues on the roadways.
Rail transport in Ukraine plays the role of connecting all major urban areas, port facilities and industrial centres with neighbouring countries. The heaviest concentration of railroad track is located in the Donbas region of Ukraine. Although the amount of freight transported by rail fell by 7.4 percent in 1995 in comparison with 1994, Ukraine is still one of the world's highest rail users. The total amount of railroad track in Ukraine extends for 22,473 kilometres (13,964 mi), of which 9,250 kilometres (5,750 mi) is electrified. Currently the state has a monopoly on the provision of passenger rail transport, and all trains, other than those with cooperation of other foreign companies on international routes, are operated by its company 'Ukrzaliznytsia'.
I have travelled by train from Kyiv to Poltava, and from Kharkov to Kyiv. The rail system is incredible. To travel any distances, I definitely suggest going by rail.
An Aerosvit Boeing 767 on stand at Kiev Boryspil International Airport
The aviation section in Ukraine is developing very quickly, having recently established a visa-free program for EU nationals and citizens of a number of other 'Western' nations, the nation's aviation sector is handling a significantly increased number of travellers. Additionally, the granting of the Euro 2012 football tournament to Poland and Ukraine as joint hosts has prompted the government to invest huge amounts of money into transport infrastructure, and in particular airports.
Currently there are three major new airport terminals under construction in Donetsk, Lviv and Kiev, a new airport has already opened in Kharkiv and Kiev's Boryspil International Airport has recently begun operations at Terminal F, the first of its two new international terminals. Ukraine has a number of airlines, the largest of which are the nation's flag carriers, Aerosvit and UIA. Antonov Airlines, a subsidiary of the Antonov Aerospace Design Bureau is the only operator of the world's largest fixed wing aircraft, the An-225.
Maritime transport is mainly riverine, with passenger services mainly provided on the Dnieper, Danube and Pripyat rivers, as well as a number of their tributaries. Most large cities have a river port and cater for the embarkation and disembarkation of passengers as well as the loading and unloading of freight and raw materials. International maritime travel is mainly provided through the Port of Odessa, from where ferries sail regularly to Istanbul, Varna and Haifa. The largest ferry company presently operating these routes is Ukrferry.
Duty Free Items
1. 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos 50 cigars or 250g tobacco (300
cigarettes, 150 cigarillos, 70 cigars and 400g of tobacco for EU
2. 1litre of spirits if exceeding 22 per cent volume or 2 litres of alcoholic beverage not exceeding 22 per cent volume and 2 litres of wine (1.5 litre exceeding 22 per cent and 3 litres of up to 22 per cent and 5 litres of wine for EU nationals)
3. 250ml eau de toilette and 50g of perfume
4. 500g of coffee or 200g of coffee extract (1000g of coffee and 4000g of coffee extract for EU nationals)
5. 100g of tea or 40g of tea extract
6. Gifts up to the value of approximately 37.26.