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Things to know about Ukraine

Capital: Kyiv


The main religion is Christianity, within which the Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic branches are recognized. Judaism and Islam are not so spread.


Official language is Ukrainian, but population of Eastern Ukraine speaks Russian. There are also national groups, which speak Hungarian, Crimean-Tatar, Polish, Romanian and other languages. They mostly live near neighbour countries.


On the most territory of Ukraine, climate is temperate continental. On the southern coast of Crimea it’s subtropical. The average temperature of July is +24°C. In winter, the average temperature is −8˚C – −12˚C. The climate in the north of Ukraine is softer, but it is colder than in the south.


Currency: hryvnia. International code – UAH. One hryvnia is subdivided into 100 kopiyok. Circulated banknotes are in denominations of 1, 2, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500, and coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25 and 50 kopiyok.


Means of payment: cash. Credit cards and traveller’s cheques can be cashed only in banks, which are located in major cities and summer resorts. You’ll find ATMs everywhere; they are located in every city.


Currency exchange: you can convert money in banks, airports and different exchange offices. Banks are open from 8:00am or 9:00am till 5:00pm. In resorts, banks are open until 7:00pm or 8:00pm, and exchange offices – till 8:00pm.


Calls to Ukraine from other countries
The international dialling code of Ukraine is +380. To make a call from a landline phone, you should dial: 8 − 10 − 380 − dialling code − phone number. To call on a mobile phone, you should dial: +380 − dialling code or number of mobile operator − phone number. For international calls, a phone number consists of 12 figures.

Calls from Ukraine to other countries
For long-distance calls, a phone number consists of 10 figures. First of all, you should dial 0 – code for long-distance calls, or number of mobile operator – then two-digit number of a region or a mobile operator number; at the end – seven-digit phone number. If you buy a sim-card of a Ukrainian company, it’ll be cheaper to call within the country. The most famous Ukrainian mobile companies are МТС, Life, Kiev Star.


Useful phone numbers in Ukraine:
Fire Department –101
Police – 102
Ambulance – 103


Time zone: UTC / GMT +02:00
Daylight saving time in summer: the last Sunday of March.
Daylight saving time in winter: the last Sunday of October.


You can bring into country duty-free goods in aggregate amount not more than 200 euro or one object worth not more than 300 euro. If bring into country pets, you must show a veterinary certificate. If you import more than 5 packs of drugs, necessary for treatment of one person, it must have the Ministry of Health permission.
You can bring in up to 10 000 U.S. dollars or its equivalent in other currency without any documents or taxes. However, all imported currency must be declared. If entering Ukraine with the amount of cash from 10 000 to 50 000 U.S. dollars, you must show a declaration, and also information of cash assets sources. Exported Ukrainian currency must be declared.


You can bring into country duty-free:
- up to 1l of alcohol beverage, 2l of wine, 5l of beer;
- up to 200 cigarettes;
- food for your own consumption, which cost about 50 euro for a person.


Groceries are open from 9:00 am to 7:00 or 8:00 pm. Some supermarkets work 24 hours a day. Markets and bazaars are widely spread in the country. Traditional Ukrainian souvenirs are goods of wooden, leather, ceramics; various ornaments made of shells and semi-precious stones, embroidered shirts and towels, Crimean and Carpathian wine, medical herbs, herbal tea, essential oils.


Transport in Ukraine


a) public transport


1. Taxi
To order a taxi, you’d better call to a special company. The average taxi rate around Kyiv is 25 UAH for 4 km; each next kilometre will cost 3 UAH. In other regions, taxi rate is a little cheaper.
2. Minibuses
Minibus is a small bus, which runs according to a special route and stops on request. The fare is 2.5-3 UAH.
3. Trolleybuses. Trams
Payment rules for trolleybuses and trams are different in every city. The average fare is 1.5-2UAH. The penalty for ticketless trip is a 20-fold amount of the fare.
4. Subway
Every city subway has its own fare. Now only Kyiv, Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovs’k have subway. In a subway, you can pay for your trip by a plastic token or a card, issued for a month, a year or for several trips. Because of turnstiles at the entrance, you can’t enter the subway free of charge. Metro stations are announced in Ukrainian. In Kyiv, the titles of metro stations are duplicated on video monitors in trains, in Ukrainian and English. In Kyiv, the fare is 2 UAH, and in Dnipropetrovs’k and Kharkiv – 1.5 UAH.


2) long-distance transport
1. Trains

Railway Transport of Ukraine is well-developed, though it has outdated rolling stocks. The railway network covers almost the whole country. It even has branches in the Carpathian Mountains. You can buy tickets in specialized offices or at railway stations. There are high-speed railway lines, such as Kyiv-Kharkiv, Kyiv-Dnipropetrovs’k, Kyiv-Odesa, Kyiv- L’viv and also Moscow-Kharkiv-Simferopol.
2. Buses. Trolleybuses
Between cities, most people travel by bus or trolleybus. Simferopol – Yalta is the longest trolleybus line in Europe. The journey takes you one and half hour, and the fare is 15.25 UAH. The fare is different for each city; it varies according to the distance.
3. Aircraft. The most popular flights are from Kyiv to Odesa and from Kyiv to Simferopol. Usually there are about five flights per day. Speaking about other destinations, they aren’t frequent – 1-2 flights per day: L’viv, Luhans’k, Ivano-Frankivs’k, Dnipropetrovs’k, Chernivtsi, Donets’k, Kharkiv, Uzhhorod.


Water Transport in Ukraine
There are many storage ponds in the country. That’s why many ferries run across the Dnipro and reservoirs. E.g. the ferry Nikopol-Kamianka runs across the Kakhovka Reservoir (Nikopol-Kamianka leaves at 7:00am and 3:00pm; Kamianka-Nikopol – at 8:30am and 4:30pm). The fare is 27 UAH, and for children – 13.50 UAH. The fare of car transportation is 50-60 UAH, motorcycle – 10-15 UAH.


Car rental in Ukraine
Car rental is quite expensive. The cheapest car of economy class costs no less than 100 U.S. dollars. To rent a car, you must be at least 20 years old with driving experience at least one year. You must also have a passport and an international driving license.


Hotels in Ukraine
The country has either star or state classification of hotels. However, tourist industry workers use special classification, for example: economy class, middle class and VIP-level. Resorts offer services of boarding houses, sanatoriums, hotels, tourism recreation centres, child health centres and private houses.


Tipping in Ukraine
In expensive restaurants, tip is about 5-10% of the total. As a rule, tips depend on your opinion about the service.


National Holidays
January 1 – New Year;
January 7 – Christmas;
March 8 – International Women's Day;
1-2 May – Labour Day;
May 9 – Victory Day;
June 28 – Constitution Day;
August 24 – Independence Day;
Easter, Pentecost – according to the church calendar.
According to the Code of Labour Laws of Ukraine, if a holiday concurs with Saturday or Sunday, next Monday will be a day off. However, most shops and other commercial establishments work on holidays.


Ukrainian National cuisine
Ukrainian dishes are very famous abroad. Various pampushky (beignet), halushky (dumplings), varenyky (kinds of dumplings), Ukrainian sausages and syrnyky (curd fritter) are cooked with special Ukrainian flavour. However, the most popular dish is borsch (beetroot soup). Such dishes as meatballs with garlic and bacon; stewed pork with cabbage and bacon; kruchenyky (meat rolls) are very popular too. Ukrainian cuisine also includes fish dishes, such as baked carp in sour cream, rybni kruchenyky (fish rolls), stuffed carp with mushrooms and buckwheat. Each Ukrainian dish is very substantial, so it’s enough to eat only borsch for lunch.


Electricity in Ukraine
Mains voltage – 220V, frequency – 50 Hz. Hotels have sockets of European standard.


Behaviour rules in Ukraine
It’s forbidden to smoke in public place, such as sport constructions, children playgrounds, waiting rooms of railway stations, subways, bus stops, transport and platforms. Smoking is possible in special areas. Hotels and cafes might have at least 50% of rooms for non-smoking guests.


Visa is not required for citizens of the following countries: Austria, Andorra, Armenia, Belgium, Belarus, Bulgaria, Vatican, the UK, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Georgia, Denmark, Ireland, Iceland, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Kazakhstan, Canada, Kyrgyzstan, Cyprus, Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, the USA, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Finland, France, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Sweden, Estonia, Japan. 

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