Ukraine is a truly unique place to visit. The biggest European country, and located in its very heart, it is strikingly different from the majority of the European nations and is a real mystery for millions of tourists. Each visitor feels like a treasure hunter because he never knows what treasures he may come across. How magnificent is its natural beauty! It has two majestic rivers – the Dnieper and Dniester, which are framed by the greenest banks. You can visit two very different, strikingly beautiful seas – the Black and the Azov.

The only desert in Europe – Oleshky Sands – lies near the largest artificial forest in the world, with its ideally evenly planted trees and exotic flora. You can also visit nature reserves, where rare species of animals live and the Red Book flowers grow. Ancient Carpathian Mountains, crystal lakes, charming waterfalls, mysterious backwaters, uninhibited islands, underground caves, and amazing daffodil valleys – all this natural diversity is concentrated on Ukraine’s territory.

But, of course, the country’s main treasure is its people. The Ukrainian nation, despite its complicated history and uneasy present state, is distinguished with innate optimism, breadth of soul, and spirituality. This is probably because Ukrainians are very religious people. Ukraine is a home to many religions.

Yaremche

яремче

Yaremche is called the “Pearl of the Carpathians”. The town of Yaremche is located in the Ivano-Frankivsk region which is known for its rich culture and tradition. Yaremche was first founded in the 18th century.
Yaremche is a popular resort destination with just over 10 000 inhabitants, a number which doubles during the holiday season. Yaremche’s nickname is appropriate for a town with picturesque views from every direction and a backdrop of a wooded Ukrainian mountain range.
Yaremche provides visitors with a great number of activities throughout the year. In summer you can take advantage of the beautiful hikes and mountain climbing, which ranges from basic to advanced. In winter, sports like skiing and tobogganing are popular. There are ski lifts available for those attempting to ski down mountains.
A holiday in the town of Yaremche will be a real delight for anyone looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of every day life. There are plenty of attractions and activities, beautiful landscape, wonderful mountains, great folk architecture, clubs, stores and cafes.

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The Zolochiv Castle

золочів замок

The Zolochiv Castle is a masterpiece of defensive architecture. The town of Zolochiv is situated 60 km east from Lviv. The Zolochiv Castle was built in the first third of the 17th century as a defensive fortress. Over the centuries the castle served as a fortress, royal residence, prison and educational institution.
The history of the Zolochiv Castle is very interesting and rich in historical and romantic adventures. Nowadays the Zolochiv Castle is a museum and the department of the Lviv Art Gallery. The new castle at the place of old wooden castle was built inZolochiv in 17th century. It was designed by Italian architect. Its original purpose was a defensive fortress.
In the castle’s courtyard there are two palaces. The biggest of them is called the Grand Palace. TheChinese Palace is situated opposite the tower. The Chinese Palace of the Zolochiv Castle is a unique monument of architecture. There are only three Chinese Palaces in Europe and one of them tourists may admire in Zolochiv. The Chinese palace was renewed in 2004 and opened for tourists.
The Zolochiv Castle is also a part of the “Golden Horseshoe”, a ring of three castles in Olesko, Zolochiv and Pidhirtsi. It is a very popular tourist route. This trip includes visits to three medieval castles, each of which is similar to the previous one.
Every year thousands of tourists from different countries travel this route. The Zolochiv Castle attracts tourists by the beauty of its medieval architecture and by its art treasures. Certainly, theZolochiv Castle is an architectural jewel and the pride of the Western Ukraine.

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The Olesko Castle

олеський замок

The Olesko Castle amazes by its fantastic beauty. This is a unique monument of architecture and history of 13-18 centuries. The first historical records of the castle dates back to 1390. The Olesko Castle is located about 75 kilometers from Lviv, the main city in western Ukraine. Its walls are well seen from the road Kyiv-Lviv.
The castle was restored in the Italian Renaissance style in the 16-17 centuries. At that time paintings and mosaics were brought in to decorate the rooms of the castle. The Olesko Castle is a former castle of Polish kings. Two Polish kings Jan III Sobieski and Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki were born in this amazing castle.
In 1838 the castle was hit and partly destroyed by an earthquake. In 1892 the Olesko castle was restored. But World wars affected negatively the masterpiece of architecture. New restorations were made in 1961-1985.
Nowadays the Olesko castle displays the collections of antique art and furnishings from 16-17 centuries, sculptures, paintings, weapons and objects used in everyday life from different epochs. The Olesko castle is also a part of the “Golden Horseshoe”, a ring of three castles the Olesko, the Zolochiv and the Pidhirtsi Castles. The Olesko castle attracts tourists by beautiful medieval architecture as well as by fantastic art collections.

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The Pidhirtsi Castle

підгірці замок

This luxurious, heavily fortified Renaissance palace is one of the best preserved, famous, and most attractive castles in western Ukraine.
Its history began in the 17th century, when the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’s Crown Hetman Stanislaw Koniecpolski bought an old fortification in the small town Pidhirtsi and decided to rebuild it in Renaissance style. At the hetman’s request, the French architect Guillaume de Beauplan designed its unique defensive facilities, and Italian Andrea del Aqua created the luxurious two-story palace with three floor pavilions.
The castle was a wondrous combination of the elegant palace with refined terraces, and the severe bastions. It used to be considered as one of the best castles in Europe. Although it was well fortified by its powerful walls and the deep moat, enemies still dared to attack it occasionally. Yet each time it was rebuilt, the palace became more and more beautiful, and its defenses – stronger and stronger.
The 18th century was a period of great prosperity for the Pidhirtsi Castle. The famous Polish officer who owned the fort at that time greatly rebuilt it, adding an extra floor. But the biggest change was that unique art and weapon collections were gathered, and a theatre and print shop were opened. Balls and noble receptions often took place in the luxuriously decorated halls of the palace; even European kings were among the attendees.
But the situation changed drastically in the 19th century. New owners neglected the castle and sold the majority of its treasures. By the end of World War II, the castle stood in utter disrepair. During Soviet times, a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients was created in the palace, which effected considerable changes in the building’s interior. A large-scale renovation of the castle began only in 1997, and it is still ongoing. The castle’s luxurious interiors are still being restored, so its halls are closed for visiting. However, the Pidhirtsi Castle is already a wonderful landmark!
An inn, church, and park contribute to the castle’s charming architectural ensemble. The inn was built primarily to house servants, but also acted as a hotel and tavern. The Roman Catholic Church of the Exaltation and St. Joseph was built near the palace in the 18th century. This remarkable example of baroque architecture still stands today. A 300-meter (984 feet) long linden alley leads to the church. A beautiful park surrounds the palace complex. It is truly a masterpiece of landscape art, and is the only Ukrainian park created in the so-called Italian style. Perhaps, the park used to impress the castle’s guests even more than the palace!

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Khotyn Fortress

хотин

The Khotyn fortress is a large tourist attraction in Ukraine. The fortress was named one of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine. The location of the Khotyn fortress was well chosen. It stands on a rocky territory near a passage across the river Dnister. The panorama of the fortress is really wonderful. When you get close to the fortress you perceive its magnificence with its five towers and 40 meter-height.
Initially the construction of the Khotyn fortress goes back to the Khotyn Fort, which was built in the 10th century by Prince of Kievan Rus’ Volodymyr. It served as the border fortification of Kievan Rus’. Construction on the current fortress started in 1325. Major reconstructions were made in the 1380s and in the 1460s.
In 13 century Prince Danylo of Halych and his son Lev rebuilt the Khotyn fortress. In this period a half-meter stone wall and a 6-meter wide moat around the fortress were added. During 14th-16th centuries the Khotyn fortress served as a residence to Moldavian Princes which also made some reconstructions. In this period the fortress acquired the structure that it has nowadays.
Today Khotyn is one of the biggest cities of the Chernivtsi region, an important tourist and cultural center of Ukraine. The Khotyn fortress has often been chosen as a setting for movies. The fortress represented French and English castles and historical fortifications.

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Bakota

bakota

Bakota is a historic submerged settlement of the Rus Kingdom, modern-day Khmelnytskyi Oblast (province) in western Ukraine. The village lies beneath the Dniester River and is located in the historical Podillia region.
Bakota has an ancient Orthodox cave monastery, which includes ancient frescoes and paintings dating back to the 12th-14th centuries, as well as preserved remains of monks. Local legend has it that the Bakota Cave Monastery was founded by Saint Anthony of Kiev, who also founded the historic Kiev Pechersk Lavra in 1051, now in Kiev, Ukraine. A Paleolithic archaeological site is also located near the village. Bakota is currently part of the National Environmental Park “Podilski Tovtry”.
Bakota was first mentioned in the Hypatian Chronicle in the year 1240. When the town was first settled, the town was part of the state of Kievan Rus’, until the middle of the 12th century when it became a part of the Halych-Volhynian Kingdom. In the 13th century, Bakota served as the political and administrative center of the Dniester Lowland (Ponyzzia), which was at the time part of Halych-Volhynia. The chronicle also mentions the rule of the Koriatovych dynasty over the area in 1362.
After being ruled by the Koriatovych dynasty, the town was controlled by Algirdas, a monarchof the medieval Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Lithuanian Chronicle of 1362 mentions that a functioning cave monastery exists within the town. This motivated the construction of fortifications, to protect the town from Crimean Tatar raids. In 1431, Bakota was located and shared between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland. Bakota’s inhabitants later started a revolt and proclaimed their independence, which was crushed by Poland within three years. The town’s fortifications and castle were also destroyed.
In 1893, in place of a formerly standing church, a new wooden one was constructed, founded by the Episcop of Podillia and Bratslav Dmitry. The church was destroyed in 1960. On October 27, 1981, the village of Bakota was flooded when the New Dniester Hydroelectric Station was built. The village’s inhabitants were moved from the area and re-settled not far away. In 1996, large portions of Bakota’s rocky hills broke off and buried most of the village’s ancient caves.

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Tunnel of Love

тонель любви

Tunnel of Love is a beautiful spot in Klevan, Ukraine. A three kilometer railway section leads to the fibreboard factory.
The train goes three times a day and delivers wood to the factory. However, the trees make a green corridor, which attracts many couples, as well as photographers for its eye catching avenue.
It is said that if you and your beloved come to the Tunnel of Love and sincerely make a wish, it will come true. This might be a new romantic place to discover.

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Chernobyl

чернобыль

Chernobyl, which brought Ukraine tragic fame, is a contentious place to visit. However, since Forbes magazine called Chernobyl’s nuclear power plant the most exotic place to visit on Earth, seeing the city and its surroundings became extremely popular (though, admittedly, mostly in extreme traveling circles).
Before heading to the site of the 20th century’s largest man-made disaster, even the most experienced thrill-seekers think about possible risks. The power plant’s tour operators confirm that all tours are planned in a way to prevent any kind of radiation exposure. Besides, the amount of radiation that tourists must come in contact with is the same as crossing the Atlantic by plane. Still, all visitors are allowed to use their own radiation detectors to ensure that they feel safe at all times; there is no need to wear any special protective clothing during the tour.
The daylong tour to Chernobyl’s nuclear power plant begins with an information session about the disaster that happened on April 26, 1986 and its aftermath. After that, you go on an excursion around Chernobyl, stopping at the monument to the People who Saved the World, dedicated to the 29 firemen who first went in to help victims of the disaster and died a week later of radiation poisoning. After that, the tourists are taken to the power plant’s 4th reactor, buried under a massive sarcophagus, where the disaster broke out. Nearby is the “technology cemetery,” where lie helicopters, fire trucks and other machines used to contain the accident.
One of the most shocking parts of the tour is a visit to the ghost-city Prypiat, which stood three kilometers (2 miles) away from the reactor. All its citizens were evacuated immediately after the tragedy occurred, leaving behind houses, books, furniture, toys… The city’s amusement park, preparing to open on May 1st that year, is especially impressionable.
Another eye-opening experience is communicating with the city squatters, who have returned to their homes after the accident, despite being forbidden to do so. Who else but they can give a truly personal account the heart-wrenching events of that day?

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Chernihiv

чернигов

To visit Chernihiv – one of the most ancient and beautiful cities of Ukraine – is just the same as making an exciting journey back through time. This amazing city, which used to be the second capital of Kyivan Rus, is well known today outside the country for its many unique historic sights. One fourth of all Old Russian architecture in Ukraine is here! Such a luxurious cultural heritage provided the city with special atmosphere, for which come not only history buffs, but also thousands of tourists from all over the world.
The history of Chernihiv starts in the 7th century, when the settlement of an Eastern-Slavic tribe appeared at the joining of two picturesque rivers – the Desna and Strizhen. The future city grew out of this village. After only two centuries, Chernihiv, a rich and defensible city, became a part of Kyivan Rus. Thanks to the efforts of Old Russian princes during the following 300 years, it grew and developed with great speed. But the period of prosperity ended in 1239, when the city was sacked by Mongols and destroyed.
After that, Chernihiv changed hands several times: it was a part of the Grand Dutchy of Lithuania, the Muscovite territories, and (in the 17th century) Poland. Under the Poles’ rule, the city experienced its second period of growth. Chernihiv continued this prosperity in the 19th century, when it came into possession of the Russian Empire.
Even though each era influenced the appearance and atmosphere of the city, it was the Old Russian period that had the most lasting effect. The majority of its unique monuments are concentrated today in the historical center of Chernihiv – within the territory of the Stronghold, where more than a thousand years ago a prince’s citadel and a chain of fortified installations were situated. At some point, there were administrative buildings, boyar’s houses, markets and temples beyond the protective walls. One of these landmarks – the Saviour Cathedral – has survived until today and it is a fascinating example of Old Russian architecture. Its foundation was laid in the 11th century, making this majestic temple one of the most ancient churches in all of Ukraine. Both it and the neighboring Boris-and-Gleb Cathedral, built in the 12th century, amaze with their majesty and intricacies. Today, a museum of architecture occupies its building. On the territory of the bank there is another of Chernihiv`s landmarks, the 12 Cast-Iron Cannons. As legend has it, they were a present from Peter the Great for the courage shown by Chernihiv’s Cossacks during the war against the Swedes.
From the eastern part of Stronghold, one can enjoy impressive views of the city and the golden cupolas ofCatherine’s Church, recognized as one the most beautiful in Ukraine. Not far from it is the heart ofChernihiv – its administrative and cultural center – the Red Square. It has nothing in common with its “namesake” in Moscow: its name is translated as “beautiful” and the square does justice to that name with its splendid architectural ensemble. The most remarkable buildings surrounding the Red Square are those of the National Bank of Ukraine and the Chernihiv Regional State Administration. But the square’s standout crowd-pleaser is the Pyatnytska Church, built in the 12th century. It is named after Saint Paraskeva Pyatnytsia – a trader’s patron saint (there used to be a bazaar on the square).
The most precious of Chernihiv’s Kyivan Rus-inherited treasures are the main shrines of the region – the Eletsky Monastery and Monastery of St. Elijah and the Holy Trinity. On the territory of the former, which was founded in the 11th century, the Assumption Cathedral, ancient caves, and the 36-meter belltower will draw your attention. And the Monastery of St. Elijah and the Holy Trinity is famous for its Caves of Saint Anthony. This unique 315-meter underground complex was founded by the “Head of All the Russian Monks,” Anthony Pechersky almost a thousand years ago.
Chernihiv is full of such priceless monuments of history! Due to their proximity, the city takes its guests back to hundreds years ago and lets them “touch” history. At the same time, it reveals its secrets making us want to come back again and again in search of new stories and legends

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Bukovel

bukovel

Despite being relatively young, Bukovel is known as one of the most famous and ultramodern ski resort in Ukraine. This recreational haven owes its enormous popularity among both Ukrainian and foreign lovers of outdoor activities to its climate, endless comforts, and plenty of well-equipped skiing trails.
Bukovel is situated in one of the most beautiful places of the country, the Ukrainian Carpathians, at an altitude of 920 meters (over 3000 feet). Because snows fall early in the year, and stay for a long time, from November to April the resort has ideal skiing and snowboarding conditions. The resort has 16 ski lifts, ranging from 650 meters to 2000 meters (2130 to 6560 feet) long, which make it one of the biggest ski resorts not only in Ukraine, but all of Eastern Europe.
Bukovel is especially proud of its excellent ski trails, which, in total, are over 50 kilometers (30 miles) long. They are spread out across five mountains, on specially prepared slopes. Each visitor can choose a track to his or her experience level: there are difficult trails for professionals, and easier ones for beginners; they even have slopes for children. All the trails are equipped with snow canons and are constantly maintained, so they always stay in perfect condition. Bukovel’s slopes are also lit up, so they stay open in the evening. These high-grade trails attract not only skiers, but also those who are fond of snowboarding and riding snowmobiles.
Those guests who have never put on a snowboard or skis, but dream of conquering the Carpathian slopes, can enroll in classes. Highly experienced instructors give both group and individual lessons. And those who are not ready to master skiing can enjoy a hot beverage at the base camp and admire the absolutely stunning views of the Carpathians.
The comforts of this resort are only enhanced by various hotels, entertainment centers, cottages, cafes, and restaurants, which offer hearty Ukrainian meals.
But even after the last Carpathian snows melt, Bukovel continues to attract tourists. Alpinists, mountain climbers, river explorers, and mountain bikers (the best bike park in Ukraine is here) all come here in spring and summer. And in recent years, due to its mineral springs, Bukovel has shown itself to be an excellent place for health improvement. Today, several sanatoriums and spas operate here.
Location: Bukovel is 100 kilometers (60 miles) away from Ivano-Frankivsk. You can also reach it from Lviv,Ternopil and Chernivtsi.

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