Whenever you think about Ukraine, what comes to mind first? Like any other country, Ukraine isn’t just stereotypes and is so much more than just vyshyvanka, salo and Eurovision. It is also artists that contributed to the development of world art tendencies, pioneers of science, record-breaking sportsmen and sportswomen, revolutionaries and immigrants that shook the world of music. Find out what is there to discover.
1. The largest aircraft was designed and built in Ukraine.
You have probably seen this mighty bird of the airplanes world, whether on TV or in Guinness records book. The Antonov An-225 Mriya exists in single copy and its booked for a year ahead: it operates on commercial flights for various cargo delivery, otherwise impossible to perform by air, such as 150-ton generators. Initially, it was built to transport the Soviet Buran spacecraft to space — and on its background, Buran, roughly the size of the US Shuttle, seems tiny and timid.
2. «Arsenalna» metro station is the deepest in the world. If you ever visited Mystetsky Arsenal or the nearby park, you probably have noticed how incredibly long are those minutes on the escalator where you just stand and stare in. Well, it appears that your perception is right - 2 escalators reach the depth of 105 meters.
3. One more record-breaking thing, a musical instrument called «trembita» is the longest in the whole world. A three meter trumpet, it takes years of preparation and a lot strength to operate it in the right way. Trembita’s sound goes for 5-10 kms depending on the acoustics of the place, which makes it especially popular in the Carpathians.
4. Do you like honey? If so, you have probably noticed how popular it is in every region of Ukraine, especially closer to West. What’s more, way back in 1814 Ukrainian beekeeper Petro Prokopovych invented one of the most important things in beekeeping — a hive frame. It speeded the development of the international practice of beekeeping and is used worldwide nowadays.
5. Ever tried to think where the center of Europe is? Here!
Geographical center of Europe indeed lies in Ukraine - among the peaceful Carpathians in a small town called Rakhiv. It is surrounded by endless green forests and about 20 mineral springs, well-known among locals and tourists for restoring nervous system and health in general.
Read: Hot Jar Spa in Zakarpattya: Best Places
6. Each time you hear the classical Christmas song «Carol of the Bells» in the shops, movies or on the streets, you actually listen to a traditional Ukrainian folk song «Shchedryk», written by a composer Mykola Leontovych. This simple and lovely melody surpasses time and space, and is beloved by kids and adults in the whole wide world.
7. Immigrants from Ukraine conquered the world of art.
Apart from the popular nowadays actresses like Milla Jovovich, Taissa Farmiga and Mila Kunis, many personalities of music and art have Ukrainian roots: take, for example, Steven Tyler, the frontman of Aerosmith. The author of groundbreaking «Fight Club», Chuck Palahniuk, has Ukrainian ancestry. Lenny Kravitz, Allen Ginsberg and even timeless musician and Nobel prize winner Bob Dylan all have ties with Ukraine.
8. Space discovery is also a thing Ukraine was pioneering in. The first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, was designed and projected by chief Ukrainian scientist Serhii Korolov. This invention was crucial for the space exploration and progress of the science in the world. You can see early projects and a life-size replica in Zhytomyr Museum of Cosmonautics.
9. Do you know that Ukraine has its own Sahara?
Many locals aren’t aware of the fact either. Oleshkivski sands spread across several areas of the Kherson region and cover more than 160 thousand hectares, making it the largest desert in Europe.
Read: Outstanding Photo Session Sites in Kyiv
10. One of the most famous music pieces in the world, «Summertime» aria from the «Porgy and Bess» opera was written by composer George Gershwin after being inspired by the traditional Ukrainian lullaby «Oi khodyt son kolo vikon» performed by a choir in New York. «Summertime» claims to be performed more than «Yesteday» by The Beatles, and is one of the hits by Ella Fitzgerald.
11. As for the funny facts, you will be surprised to know that McDonalds on Vokzalna metro station is the third most visited restaurant of that food chain in the world. It has competed with 30 thousand other McDonalds spots in the world — but perhaps the heavy traffic and hungry passengers, waiting for their ride, allow it to stay in such high demand.
12. The longest alley of lilies in Europe is located in Uzhorod, Transcarpathian region. Uzhorod is also a city of pink chestnuts, which makes wonderful views and picture sights.
Read: Little-known Castles and Monasteries in Ukraine
13. The first kerosene lamp was invented in Lviv by workers of the "Under the Golden Star" pharmacy Ignatii Lukasevich and Jan Zeh in 1853. The same year, the first surgery in the illumination of a kerosene lamp was carried out in the Lviv hospital. Later, a kerosene lamp was presented at an international exhibition in Munich, where it was marked by a special diploma.
14. Ukrainian is often claimed to be one of the most beautiful languages in the world.
Thus, on the Paris language beauty contest way back in 1934 it took the third place, when it charmed the jury with its phonetics, vocabulary, phraseology and sentence structure.
15. Last but not least, Ukraine is the largest country in Europe. It surely has many sights to witness, from more than 5 thousand castles to beautiful churches, cities and mountains. The charm is irresistible - discover it fully.
Photo sources: shutterstock.com., wikipedia.com. All images belong to their rightful authors.