"At the center of the universe is a loving heart that continues to beat and that wants the best for every person. Anything we can do to help foster the intellect and spirit and emotional growth of our fellow human beings, that is our job. Those of us who have this particular vision must continue against all odds. Life is for service." ~Mr. Fred Rogers

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Twenty little-known facts about Ukraine

Ukraine celebrated their 20th Year of Independence yesterday and the following article was in the KyivPost, a Ukrainian newspaper for English speakers (or in this case, readers). The information is quite interesting, so I thought I'd share. I also made a list of my Top 20 Things I love about Ukraine, and once the list is finalized, I'll post it.

Happy Birthday, Ukraine!
 The blue represents the color of the sky, and yellow
symbolizes the lush golden wheat fields of this country.

Twenty little-known facts about Ukraine

The country manufactures the biggest airplanes and champagne glasses. Police solve 90 percent of cases. Ukrainians created one of the world most popular Christmas songs - Carol of the Bells. All these are incredible and little-known facts about Ukraine that the Kyiv Post collected to commemorate the 20th anniversary of independence.

1. The most frequently used letter of Ukrainian alphabet is “п” (p). Three letters – “ф” (f), “ї” (ji) and “ґ”(g) are the least used. The “f” is interesting – the nation started using it not long ago, and only Ukrainian words of foreign origin contain it.

2. One of the world’s favorite songs – Summertime - was composed by George Gershwin after he heard the tune of a Ukrainian lullaby, Oi Khodyt Son Kolo Vikon (A Dream Passes By The Windows), performed in New York by Ukrainian National Chorus in 1929. Some argue that Gershwin even based his tune on the lullaby.

3. Near Kyiv railway station stands the third-most visited McDonalds in the world. The fast-food restaurant frequently makes it into the top 5 most crowded establishments on the planet. Last year, the McDonalds there served more than two million orders.

4. The Arsenalna metro station on Kyiv is the deepest one in the world, buried 105 meters underground. This was one the first stations built in Kyiv in 1960, next to parliament. In the tunnel going from Arsenalna there are secret shelters, built back in the Soviet times, for the Communist Party elite.

5.Ukrainians are the fifth-heaviest drinkers in the world. Only Moldavians, Russians, Hungarians and Czechs drink more. An average citizen of Ukraine (16 or older) drinks 15.6 liters of alcohol per year. That is one liter more than an Irish and two liters more than a Norwegian.

6.The Ukrainian anthem consists of only six lines – four of them couplet, and two refrain. The rest of the song, written by poet Pavlo Chybinskiy and composer Mykhailo Verbytskiy, were not approved because they contain the politically unreasonable appeal to stand up for a bloody fight for the motherland.

7. The conviction rate for crimes in Ukraine is astonishing 90 percent, comparing to 30-40 percent in Europe. Human rights watchdogs say that this is nothing to be proud of. To get the nice numbers, many difficult-to-solve crimes are not actually registered, plus fraud and tortures to obtain confessions are widely used.

8. Ukraine owns the biggest manganese ore in the world – 2.3 billion tons or 11 per cent of the planet’s deposits. The country also has plenty of iron ore, counting for 7 percent of the world’s deposits.

9.The world’s heaviest aircraft is An-225 Mriya is created by the Kyiv-based Antonov design bureau. The plane was designed to airlift space shuttles and rocket boosters, however is now carrying oversized payloads.

10. Ukrainian Cossack hetman Pylyp Orlyk in 1710 created what is now argued to be one of the first world’s constitutions. The document he published on the date of his erection as hetman was an incredible progressive document for the time. Orlyk’s constitution was a treaty between the hetman, the Cossacks andthe whole Ukrainian populations, stating rights and responsibilities, and also establishing a democratic standard for the separation of powers in government between the legislative, executive and judiciary branches.

11. The world famous Christmas “Carol of the Bells” is the Ukrainian pagan magical chant Shchedryk, adopted by composer Mykola Leontovych into a choral work.

12. When Ukraine became independent it inherited from the Soviet Union the third largest arsenal of nuclear weapons in the world. The country had more than 40 strategic bombers and more than a thousand nuclear warheads. And voluntarily gave it up. The world showed its appreciation by giving financing and security guarantees.

13. Back in Soviet times, Lenin was the subject of the most national statues, with every town and city having at least one. Now independent Ukraine gets of the proletariat chief and seems to have another monumental icon – the 19th century poet and moral authority Taras Shevchenko, with around 1,200 of his statues in the country and abroad.

14. Ukrainian Myrola Syadristy shoed a flee. His hand-made and indeed very small works, drilled in a human hair or half a poppy-seed, can be seen in the Kyiv museum of micro-miniature.

15. Ukraine does not dispose of batteries. They present a risk to human life and the environment and are separately disposed of in developed nations.

16. When Ukraine got independence, it was populated by 19.4 million pigs. Today there are two times less. And although one of the Ukrainian authentic dishes is salo, the pig fat, and the nation has a reputation of pork eaters, an average Ukrainian consumes only 18 kilos of it per year. That is three times less than an average German.

17. Ukrainian power lifter Dmytro Haladzhi is one of the strongest people on the planet, according to Guinness Book of World Records. He can bear a tractor on his chest, lift 150 kilos with his little finger and keep 30 people on his neck. His master trick is “Devil’s Forge.” With his body laid on nails, he bears concrete slabs weighing 1.5 tons on top and a blacksmith beating that with a hammer

18. The world’s most ecologically-friendly carrier rocket Zenith 3SL is made in Ukraine by the Pivdenmash company. And thanks to that Ukraine is a part of the Sea Launch program, launching commercial payloads into space from a sea platform near equator.

19. The most ancient map and old homosapien settlement are from Mezhyrych, Ukraine. They are up to 15,000 years old. The map is carved on a mammoth bone.

20. Ukrainians made it into World Guinness records with the largest flute of sparkling wine – a record of 27.5 liters or 75 bottles of champagne. So, for Ukrainian’s 20th independence anniversary, cheers!

(Full article here: http://www.kyivpost.com/news/nation/detail/111538/)

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