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Ukraine Facts

Ukrainian Easter Pysanka

Taras Grygorovych Shevchenko


Max Levchin is known all over the world as creator of PayPal-system of electronic payments; was born in Kiev in Jewish family, which in 1991 had left Soviet Union because of discriminated anti-Semitic surrounding and anti-Soviet position of Levchin's father. Family settled in USA, where Max graduated University of Illinois. Recently he occupies position of corporate director in Yahoo.

Honore de Balzak, who was standing under the origins of realism in European literature, had several times visited Ukraine, where in 1832 got acquaintance with his future wife - Evelina Ganskaya. Since 1847 to 1850 he had been living with Ganskaya in her possession at Verkhovna (nowadays - village in Ruzhyn district of Zhytomyr region, Ukraine). In 1850 Balzak and Ganskaya got married in Berdychiv Church of St. Varvara (not far from Kiev), after what they moved to France.

Anna Yaroslavna - the daughter of Kiev Prince Yaroslav Mudry [wise] and Ingegerda Swedish - was the 6th queen of France (1051-1060). She was not only beautiful woman, but also high educated. So in 1051 widowed king of France Genry the 1st Kapeting decided to get married with her. After her arrival to Reims (France) she wrote to her father: "What a barbarous country you have settled me; here, the dwellings are gloomy, the churches are ugly and the tempers are horrible". But notwithstanding the marriage had it place, and young queen with Ukrainian descent actively showed her qualification in politics and played important role in the country governing. Besides, it is considered that the Gospel of Reims is connected with the name of the queen. Following this version, Anna Yaroslavna brought that Orthodox Church parchment writing as a present to the marriage.

1618-1648 - the Thirty years' war between two coalitions: Catholic (hegemony of Habsburg's dynasty) with supporting of Austria, Spain and Poland, and Protestant - England, Netherlands, France, Sweden and Denmark. In 1619 Sigizmund the 3d, the king of Rech Pospolita, sent the elite army group to help Habsburg's forces to destroy army of Transylvanian prince Diordi the 1st Rakocy near Gumenn. After that Transylvania asked Ottoman sultan for supporting. So in 1621 the battle of Khotin had it place, where 35-thousand army of Rech Pospolita had to confront with150-thousand Turkish army and 60-thousand Tatar army. Polish government decided to appeal for Zaporozhian Kozaks, promising them to get different additional rights and advantages. Getman Petro Sagaydachny - excellent commander, wise politician, talented diplomat- was leading the army of Kozaks inside of Polish army under Great Lithuanian Getman's Yan Karol Khodkevich leadership. In the result of this battle, The Ottoman Empire got a damage and declined its European expansion plans.

1683: the Ottoman army had been sieging Vienna during 2 months. Poland king (Great prince of Lithuania) Yan III Sobesky decided to attract near 5000 of Zaporozhian Kozaks in his army. There are some evidences that the king had appreciated Zaporozhian army as the best infantry, because it was hardy, got used to the fields work, and also, Kozaks were the best in crossing the rivers and forests. As a result, the Christian forces got a victory. This battle became the decisive moment in 300s-years confrontation to The Ottoman Empire, and stopped aggressive wars against Europe for ever.

Mykola Benardos from 1870th was considered as a professional inventor in the electric equipment and electric welding was born in Mykolayv region (nowadays), Ukraine. In the beginning of 1880th he visited Germany, England, Spain and France to study techniques for realization some of his inventions, because of lack of necessary conditions in Russian Empire. In 1882 Benardos created an arc electric welding, what made him noble all over the world. Benardos method is one of the most important modern technological processes.


In 1814 Petro Prokopovych ( was born in Chernigiv region, Ukraine) invented a frame beehive, which he called "Petersburg beehive". It is worth to mention, that before Prokopovich's invention there was packed beekeeping method - the bees were euthanized during the time of a honey gathering. His method allowed to leave bee colonies alive, what had led to the growth of honey production.

Super-professional British spy Sidney Reilly wasn't British in his origin. He was born in 1873 in Odessa, Ukraine, under his real name Zigmund Rozenblum. During 1910-1920 agent Reilly held his activity in Russia and The Middle East. He organized anti-Soviet prospecting agency, several times tried to kill Lenin; was suspected to be Japanese agent too. His life story served like one of the examples for creating the prototype of James Bond.

Famous opera diva Salomiya Krushelnytska was born in Galiciya (now - Ternopil region, Ukraine) in 1872. In 1893 she started her studying in Italy, and since that moment her career of opera singer triumphantly began to grow up. Krushelnitskaya sang in such countries like France, Italy, Russia, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Austria and etc. On the 17th of February, 1904, Giacomo Puccini represented his new opera "Madama Butterfly", but the performance failed. Pucc decided to rewrite it, and called Salomiya to play the main role of Chio-Chio-San. The success was colossal. Since 1906 Krushelnytska had been singing in Milano Theatre La-Scala.

Ukrainian and American artist and sculptor Oleksandr Arkhypenko was born in Kiev in 1887, but In the age of twenty he left Kiev for Paris, where ithe exhibition with participation of Arkhypenko, Malevich, Picasso, Ekster, Derain and others was held in the Salon of the Independent (1910). Arkhypenko, is considered, was the one of the founders of cubism in sculpture what Picasso made in art, Arkhypenko made in sculpture. In 1923 he decided to emigrate to USA. Later, in 1934, Arkhypenko made out the Ukrainian pavilion for the exhibition in Chicago.

Ballet dancer, choreographer Serge Lifar spent the most part of his life in France, but had Ukrainian descent. Also he is famous as the founder of Choreography University of Paris and Dance University. After Dyagilev's death, Lifar was suggested to head the ballet troop of Grand Opera, where he worked more than 30 years. Being a founder of new direction in ballet - neoclassicism, Lifar gave a new life to the French ballet: he had grown up 11 ballet stars, created more than 200 ballets, wrote 25 books on the dance theory.


One of the most remarkable composers of the XX century, virtuous pianists and conductor Sergey Prokofiev was born in Donetsk region, Ukraine. He was fond of music from 5 years, and had already written his first plays in the age of 9. Prokofiev had graduated Conservatory of Petersburg, and since 1908started to give the concerts with his own compositions. In 1918 he emigrated to USA. Till 1936, before his returning to USSR, Prokofiev had been successfully going on tour all around USA, Cuba, Japan and Europe. He died in 1953, being National artist of USSR, and created 11 operas and 7 ballets (several were written for Dyagilev's troop) among great quantity of his instrumental, vocal and symphonic music.

Henry Davidoff, the owner of a cigarette shop on the territory of the Podol in Kiev, dreamt his son Zinovii to become a violinist; but he decided to continue cigarette business and reached unexpectedly great results. In 1911 the family emigrated to Switzerland. From 1930th Zino Davidoff handled the management of the father's shop. Step by step, the shop transformed to a large tobacco-selling company, which had been benefiting especially after the World War II. Later the glory about cigarettes, cigars, vine, cognac, perfume and accessories of "Davidoff"-brand spread all around the world. Also Zino Davidoff is known as inventor of a humidor - the box for the cigar saving. 

Simon Kuznets, American economist, emigrated in 1922 from Kharkiv Ukraine, became Nobel Prize-winner in 1971. The scientist was a pioneer in the research of national income and its problems, economic cycles and economic growth. He was a founder of The Construction Industry Cycles Theory.

Sergey Korolyov,  the father of the space-rocket equipment,  was also born in Ukraine, Zhytomyr. Being of 17 years he had already become an author of the K-5 - project of the motorless plan; during his studying in the Bauman Moscow State Technical University Korolyov got popularity like a young talented aviation constructor and experienced glider pilot. Thanks to him, the artificial satellite was firstly in the human history launched to the Earth orbit ( 1957); later the rocket with the dogs Belka and Strelka in it departed, and in 1961 Yury Gagarin made his famous flight to space. When Korolyov was making the USSR military power stronger, other Ukrainian George Kistiakowsky worked for the USA authority - he had constructed the detonator for the first atomic bomb. Later the former Kiev-inhabitant became the adviser of president Dwight Eisenhower and vice-president of American Academy of Science.


Kiev & Ukraine Private Tour Guides


Krovianka (Blood Sausage)
Ukrainian cuisine, Krovianka KovbasaIn Ukraine, pigs were usually slaughtered several days before large holidays such as Christmas and Easter, or family celebrations, such as wedding or christening ceremonies. And it was then that the traditional Ukrainian sausages - krovianka - were made. Dating back to the pre-Christian times, the tradition of cooking krovianka has been reserved until the present, despite the Church's restrictions on the consumption of animals' blood. For it has been stated in the Old Testament: "Any Israelite or any alien... who hunts any animal or bird that may be eaten must drain out the blood and cover it with earth, because the life of every creature is in its blood ... Anyone who eats it must be cut off." (Leviticus 17:1 3, 14) Animals' blood was used only to sprinkle the sides of the altar and eating it was strictly prohibited. "No blood of any animal or bird must be eaten in your dwellings" (Leviticus 6:20, 5:9, 7:30, etc). In the Middle Ages, Christian priests strived to root out the pagan tradition of animal blood consumption among the peoples inhabiting Russ, but with no result. "Brethren, keep away from eating blood" (1 2th century). "Pursuing good deeds, abstain not only from excess meals but also from eating blood" (15th century). In another code of laws we read: "It is forbidden for all Orthodox Christians to consume strangled animals or birds and eat blood, that is sausages" (the context makes it clear that by 'sausage' the author means krovianka). Of the two biblical rules only the restriction on strangled animals and birds had been rooted out from folk traditions, while the call not to consume blood was ignored by the majority of Kyivan Russ population and is still disregarded by most Ukrainians. After an animal was slaughter, its blood was saved to cook krovianka In Belorus, there is a tradition of cooking pancakes with animals' blood. To make korvianka, thick intestines were stuffed with buckwheat groats mixed with blood. 

Krovianka Zvychaina (Basic Recipe for Blood Sausage) 
Soak the thick guts in water, wash and clean thoroughly from in- and outside. Leave to soak in salted water for one hour and wash again. Brush a skillet with grease and fry the buckwheat groats until they become of a golden tint. Remove from the burner and leave to chill. Mix with blood, milk and finely chopped larder and ham. Season with salt, pepper and other spices. Tie one end of the gut. Stuff the gut with the filling. Do not put in too much of the filling, otherwise the sausage may swell and break. Tie the other end of the intestine. Fry the stuffed sausage on both sides in an oiled and pre-heated skillet at a middle heat. Pre-heat the oven to 200° C and bake the sausages until they are done. Serve warm. Cold krovianka should be warmed up on a greased skillet.
(1 liter of fresh pig's blood, 0.5 kg buckwheat groats, 300 g lard, 200 g ham, 1 cup milk, 1-2 tablespoons grease, 4-5 thick intestines, oil for frying, salt, pepper, caraway seeds, coriander (optional))