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Ukraine

This large country in Eastern Europe is rich in colouful traditions and diverse experiences.  Known for its Orthodox churches, Black Sea coastline and forested mountains, Ukraine is largely undiscovered, as a tourist destination, compared to many other European countries.

If you love breath-taking architectural sites, then its capital, Kiev is a must visit, where you can explore the gold and green domed St. Sophia's Cathedral, with 11th-century Byzantine mosaics and frescoes. The baroque St. Andrew’s Church introduces you to the start of Andriyivskyy Descent, where a steep cobblestone street links upper and lower Kiev.

Overlooking the Dnieper River you'll find the Pechersk Lavra monastery complex. This Christian pilgrimage site houses the Scythian tomb relics and catacombs containing mummified Orthodox monks, as well as several gold-domed churches.  You'll also want to take a peak at The Motherland Monument or Rodina Mat. This massive sword-bearing statue sits on top of a WWII museum.  There is so much to see and do in Kiev, but don't stop there.  Make sure to take a trip to Yalta, a resort city on the south coast of the Crimean Peninsula surrounded by the Black Sea. It is said that this city is located on the site of an ancient Greek colony, founded by the Greek conquerors who were looking for a safe shore on which to land.

Other places to visit in Ukraine are Odessa, a port city known for its beaches and 19th-century architecture, including the Odessa Opera and beautiful Ballet Theatre. If you are wanting to mix with the locals then head to the cafe-lined street called Deribasovskaya and it's nearby City Garden, which are both popular gathering spots.

Just 70 kilometres from the border of Poland is Lviv. Here you will see traces of its Polish and Austro-Hungarian heritage evident in its architecture, which blends Central and Eastern European styles with those of Italy and Germany.  Head up to High Castle Park, with the mountaintop ruins of a 14th-century castle providing panoramic views of the city’s green-domed churches and the city's surrounding hills.

One thing is for sure, a trip to Ukraine may just be a trip to one of Europe's last travel frontiers.


 

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