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Ukraine – Rich Heritage and Fascinating History

The Eastern European country of Ukraine features in the list of world’s leading 10 tourist destinations. Its monuments, landscapes and cultural offerings keep attracting tourists from all over the world.

Ukraine has an ancient history going back to 4500 B.C when it was inhabited by Cimmerians, Sarmatians and Scythians. During the 10th century, it was medieval Europe’s most powerful region under the Kievan Rus. It was controlled by the Polish-Lithuanians between the 14th century and 18th century, and the Russians followed after them. It became a part of USSR following the 1922 Russian Civil War, from whom it became independent only in 1991 after witnessing severe famines, battles and suppressions.

Popular Places and Attractions
Kiev is one of the most visited cities in Ukraine because of its several breathtaking sculptures and monuments like St. Sophia’s cathedral, Independence Square, Saint Vladimir Cathedral, St. Andrew Church, Khreshchatik Street, Hidro Park, Historical Museum, Art Museum, Andreyev Hill, Opera House, Victory Park, Babi Yar Memorial and Pershcherska Lavra which is beautifully located monastery besides Dnipro River. This monastery is more than 10 centuries old and contains churches, subterranean tunnels and towers.

Lviv is popular for is amazing architecture in the form of National Museum, Pharmaceuticla Museum, History Museum, Ivan Franko’s Opera House, Crafts and Ethnography Museum and collection of antique armoury.  Some other popular attractions in Ukraine are Odessa’s Potemkin Stairway and its 192 steps, Vorontsov Palace, Mariyinsky Palace and Catacombs. The Catacombs are over 400 kms long and were earlier used by resistance fighters, smugglers and partisans.

Getting Around
Planes, trains, buses, marshrutkas (minibuses), taxis and rented cars or bikes are the various modes of transportation available for getting around Ukraine, a good guide to hassle free travel is to have some small change handy to pay for your journey.

Places for Entertainment
Discos, pubs, restaurants and bars are the usual places for having some fun in Ukraine. The nation has also preserved its customs and cultural traditions through its concert halls, theatres and art galleries. Kiev’s Adriyivsky Uzvis street is home to several exhibits, art galleries and cafes. Hiking and trekking on the Carpathian Mountains, skiing in Slavsko, Bukovel and Dragobrat, rafting in South Bug River, and also horseback riding, rock climbing, mountain biking, snowboarding, paragliding and survival-school are few adventurous avenues that can be explored by visitors. The Odessa Privoz is amongst the world’s biggest farmer’s markets and items ranging from food, clothing, consumer goods to construction material are sold here.

Budget hotels, youth hostels, bed & breakfast, motels, private rooms or flats, studios, camps and apartments are the usual places where tourists opt to stay while in Ukraine.

The official currency of Ukraine is the Hryvnia (UAH). Traveller’s cheques and credit cards are also accepted in most of the major cities. Currency exchange points and banks help in exchanging your currency with the local currency. The March 2009 exchange rate was 1 USD for 7.99 Hryvnias, before you change your money check the internet and news for the latest exchange rates.

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