This will be a general overview of some country statistics. More on specifics of Ukrainian culture later!
- 75% of Ukraine’s population is — surprise! — Ukrainian. However, more than 110 ethnic groups are represented in the country.
- Ukrainian was declared the official language at independence in 1991. However, Russian is the primary language spoken in large cities, while Ukrainian is spoken in most of western Ukraine and in smaller towns/villages. (I think I will be learning Ukrainian, but it might depend on where in the country I will be placed for my two years of service.)
- Folk arts are prevalent in Ukraine, including embroidery, weaving, pottery, pysanky (painted eggs), and woodcarving. There are folk traditions such as songs, dances and games. (More on this later!)
- Most Ukrainians have little knowledge or understanding of non-Christian faith. In most communities there are Polish and Greek Catholic churches and Ukrainian Orthodox churches.
- Ukraine has many natural resources, including about 70,000 species of flora and fauna. Almost 8,000 deposits of 94 commercially valuable minerals are extracted in Ukraine.
- A small part of the country is mountainous (the Carpathian Mountains & Crimean Mountains).
- Forests and steppe are scattered throughout the country. The Dnipro, Europe’s third-largest river, runs through the north part of the country.
- Most of Ukraine’s southern border is Black and Azov sea coast.