About Ukraine

Ukraine is situated in Eastern Europe and lies along the Dnieper River basin. The river divides Ukraine into two halves - appropriately referred to as the Right Bank and the Left Bank.

Neighboring Ukraine are the countries of Belarus, Russia, Moldova, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania.

The climate is generally temperate or continental. Only on the South Coast of Crimea, does a sub-tropical, Mediterranean climate exist. The average low temperature in January is -7Co, the average high +19Co, in July.

The area of Ukraine is 603,700 sq.km; the population is more than 51 Million.

Ukraine is home to a variety of nationalities: Ukrainians, Russians, Belorussians, Jews, Moldavians, Poles, Hungarians, Romanians, Tatars and Greeks, are the groups that are predominantly represented.

The capital of Ukraine is Kyiv. Kyiv covers more than 790 sq.km and sits on the both banks of the Dnipro River. Its population is over 3.5 Million.

Ukraine in the south is washed by the Black and Azov Seas.

International Time
Ukrainian's time zone is two hours later than Greenwich Mean Time. The country observes daylight savings time from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October by advancing clocks one hour.

State system
On July 16, 1990, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Act on the National Sovereignty of Ukraine. On August 24, 1991, the Verkhovna Rada proclaimed the Act of Independence of Ukraine. An all-Ukrainian referendum, held on December 1, 1991, confirmed this Act of Independence of Ukraine. On June 28, 1996, the Constitution, the main Law of Ukraine was passed, according to which Ukraine is a Presidential-Parliamentary Republic, including 24 administrative regions and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. The National Symbols of the State are the National Flag, the National Emblem (trident) and the National Anthem. The National Flag of Ukraine is two equal horizontal blue and yellow strips. The President of Ukraine is the Chief Executive and acts on behalf of the state. He is elected by general election by secret ballot for a five-year term. The Verkhovna Rada is the Ukrainian sole legislative authority. Executive power is exercised by the Cabinet of Ministers.

The national currency of Ukraine - the Hryvna (UAH). One Hryvna comprises 100 Kopecks.

Traveler's Checks
Traveler's checks can be cashed at banks.

Currency Exchange
You can exchange currency for hryvna at a number of locations throughout the city. Once you are in the city, we suggest that you change money into local currency at major hotels, or official exchange offices. The exchange rate is sure to change substantially by the time you read this.

Credit Cards
Some outlets will take credit cards - Visa, MasterCard, but expect nothing like the acceptance levels of the West. It is important to check with your hotel before travelling exactly what they will or won't accept.

The standard electrical voltage throughout Ukraine is 230 volts. You may need a converter as well as an Eastern European plug adapter if you are bringing electrical appliances.

Ukrainian is the official language of Ukraine. However, due to decades of Russification, you are more likely to hear Russian being spoken on the streets of Kyiv than Ukrainian. Until independence, Ukrainian was spoken almost exclusively in the villages. Russian was the language of business and education; also the language of the city dwellers. The two languages share the same Cyrillic alphabet and, if you arrive unfamiliar with either language, a phrase book or interpreter is almost essential. More and more people can speak English. Hotels, restaurants, bars will have some English speakers but not shops, kiosks, police, bus drivers or post offices.

A 10 percent service charge is often added to restaurant and hotel bills.