Jewel of the East

By | Travel
Unique Ukrainian Easter eggs.Credit@19th.flickr.com

Ukraine has won the Eurovision Song Contest for the second time in ten years. At the event in Stockholm on Saturday evening, Ukraine’s Eurovision entry singer Jamala won significant votes from the public with her song “1944.” This pushed Ukraine to the top of the leader board overtaking top contenders Australia and Russia. Travelling onwards from Stockholm to Kiev, Ukraine is set to host the next Eurovision in 2017 and this event may attract more tourists to visit the city. Ukraine has previously hosted the 50th edition of the music contest in 2005. The motto for this Eurovision event was “Awakening” following the country’s political shifts the year before. Ukraine may continue to experience radical changes in terms of their government and economy, however the country may have rich cultural heritage and sites of attraction which may be of interest to tourists visiting Eastern Europe in the future. Hosting the next Eurovision contest may be a catalyst for increased tourist numbers to the country.

Typical Ukrainian architectural style.Credit@Michele.Ursino.flickr.com

Typical Ukrainian architectural style.Credit@Michele.Ursino.flickr.com

Ukraine borders with Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Poland and Slovakia. It is also close to the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov in the south and south east. It is the second largest country on the continent after Russia and the capital city is Kiev. A fully independent Ukraine emerged only in late 20th century after long periods of successive domination by Poland-Lithuania, Russia and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R). Due to the country’s geographical location, both Western Europe and Russia have influenced Ukrainian culture. In 2007, Ukraine was nominated by the World Travel Awards for World’s Leading New Destination. From the Carpathian Mountains to Yalta on the coast of the Black Sea, there are many places to visit in Ukraine which may offer something different to suit different tastes.

Cathedral in Kiev.Credit@Juanedc.flickr.com

Cathedral in Kiev.Credit@Juanedc.flickr.com

For those who may have a shorter trip to Ukraine, there may be lots to see and do in the capital city of Kiev alone, such as viewing art, architecture, going to theatre, visiting parks, museums and other sites of interest. The cultural life of the Ukrainian capital represents a wide range of experimental and traditional styles. It’s monuments; architectural ensembles and cathedrals are historically significant and capture the spirit of Ukraine’s colourful past. For example, the Andreevsky Spusk, or Saint Andrew’s Church, is a historic building constructed in 1749 and was designed in a baroque style featuring gold and rich decorations. There are other religious sites which have a similar style, such as the Assumption Cathedral in the city centre which is also painted gold. These cathedrals among others are some of the most visited and major attractions in the capital of Ukraine.

The Swallow's Nest in Yalta.Credit@d1mka.vetrov.flickr.com

The Swallow’s Nest in Yalta.Credit@d1mka.vetrov.flickr.com

For those who have more time in the country or wish to see a different part of Ukraine, it may be recommended tourists visit the resort towns located on the coast of the Black Sea. For example, the town of Yalta has a unique combination of natural beauty, endless sea, beaches and an abundance of architectural and historical sights. Yalta was traditionally known as a resort town for Russia’s aristocrats and emperors, and there are still members of the royal family who own villas here. Yalta’s main street is full of entertainment centres, coffeehouses, restaurants and attractions. Perhaps the most popular landmark in Yalta is the White Dacha, the House-Museum of Anton Chekhov, a Russian writer. Another point of interest for visitors to Yalta is the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, built in Old Russian style in the late 19th century. The Swallow’s Nest, a decorative castle located on top of a 40 metre high cliff is also a popular visitor attraction in the area and may be a symbol of Ukraine’s Southern coastline.

Which other Eastern European countries have hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in the last ten years?

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