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Thursday 30th March
Ukraine Information - Page 1
Geography
Ukraine is a republic in Eastern Europe, bordered by Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Belarus, Russia, the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea.

Kyiv is the capital city. Other major cities are Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Lviv and Odessa, one of the largest ports in the Black Sea. The Crimea is an Autonomous Republic within Ukraine.

The Ukrainian terrain consists mainly of steppes (plains) and plateaux; the Carpathian Mountains are in the west and there are mountains in the Crimean Peninsula. The Dnieper is the main river in Ukraine.

Summers are warm and winters can be cold. The southern Crimean coast enjoys Mediterranean weather.

Environment
Ukraine has a number of National Parks and Natural Reserves.

The Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians is a World Heritage site shared between Ukraine and Slovakia.

The Carpathian Biosphere Reserve was established in 1992. Other Biosphere Reserves are Askania Nova Biosphere Reserve, the Black Sea Biosphere Reserve and the Dunaiski Biosphere Reserve.

Over thirty regions in Ukraine are listed by Ramsar as Wetlands of International Importance. These include the Desna River Floodplains, the Dniester-Turunchuk Crossrivers Area, Kartal Lake, Lake Synevyr and Perebrody Peatlands.

Wildlife in Ukraine includes deer, brown bears, wild boars, wolves, vultures and steppe eagles.

Architecture
Most cities in Ukraine have some architectural legacy of their past. The best example of Kyiv's early architecture is the eleventh century Cathedral of Saint-Sophia. In 2005 Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, was added to the World Heritage List.

An excellent example of medieval architecture can be found in the old city of Lviv, a commercial and religious centre. Chernihiv is another city with its historic centre and religious buildings of note.

As well as the old styles of architecture Ukrainian cities have modern high-rise residential buildings and office blocks. This is particularly so in the cities with high populations: Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odessa.

Population
The population of Ukraine was estimated at 45,994,287 in 2008.

Languages
Ukrainian is the official language of Ukraine.

Religion
Over half of the people belong to the Orthodox Christian religion.

Food
Ukrainian cuisine includes soups, stews, sausages, smoked meats and rye bread. Beef, lamb, pork, poultry and fish dishes are eaten with vegetables and salads.

Borscht, a thick vegetable and meat soup, and stuffed cabbage are favourite recipes. Salo, salted pig's fat, is a traditional food which can be used in a variety of ways. Dumplings are a Ukrainian speciality and have many fillings such as potatoes, meat, cottage cheese and berries.

Favourite desserts are pancakes, cakes and fruit: blueberries, cherries, plums and strawberries. Honey is used as a sweetener and dairy products, such as cream, cottage cheese and eggs, are part of the Ukrainian diet.

Vodka is the traditional alcoholic drink. Beer, juices and mineral waters are produced locally. Tea is a favourite and coffee is also popular.

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