Two seas, splendid mountains and full-flowing rivers are not the only natural sights in Ukraine to be proud of. There is one more place on Ukrainian land that makes the picture complete. Oleshkivsky Sands is a unique spot indeed!
Occupying the area of 200 thousand hectares sand massif in Kherson oblast is considered to be the biggest in Europe. The locals call the sands area a desert as the temperature of the sand goes up to 70°С, air humidity is low and very few plants grow here, but still scientists say that it is rather a semi-desert as the temperature conditions and the amount of rainfall is not appropriate to be a desert.
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The formation history of a 15-kilometer sand massif is quite interesting. It turns out, that none other than sheep acted as a catalyst for desert forming. There was a time when the area was the course of the Dnipro river that later turned into a greenery place after the water dried up. People started shepherding sheep and the animals rooted away the grass and once green territory turned into endless sands.
Time was flying and the wind was spreading sands farther and farther. It affected people’s farming and they decided to stop sand expanding. They started planting trees to surround a desert and thus holding up the desert spreading. It helped and now 30 kilometers far from Kherson city there is the largest sand massif in Europe and the biggest artificial forest in the world.
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Walking around the Oleshkivsky Sands one can run into small clear lakes. No wonder, an oasis in a desert is a common thing. But what is more, there is a fresh lake 400 meters under sands. The lake is said to be crystal clear and water in it is very tasty. There is a lake of the kind under the sands of the Sahara as well.
While exploring Ukrainian sights add Oleshkivsky Sands to your travel destinations list. The place of 12-meter high barkhans and running sands in Ukraine is worth seeing indeed.
Photo source: www.flickr.com by Oleksandr Meleshko. All photos belong to their rightful owners.