The nation of Ukraine is located in Eastern Europe and is bordered by Russia, Poland, Belarus, Hungary and the Black Sea. Since gaining independence following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine has emerged as one of the powerful economic forces in the region. The official language of Ukraine is Ukrainian, but a large percentage of the population speaks Russian as well.
The capital of Ukraine is Kiev, situated in the northern region of the country along the Dnieper River. Kiev is generally considered to be one of the most important cities in Eastern Europe for high-tech industries and is home to a number of world renowned educational institutions. Despite the grand scale of the city, Kiev has a very well developed system of public transportation that makes it easy for a traveler who is new to the area to get around. Kiev is one of the oldest cities in all of Europe, and modern Kiev has a culture all of its own with music, restaurants, museums and nightlife that are known all over the world. Chess is a popular activity in Kiev, and visitors are sure to see chess players of all ages and walks of life enjoying the game in the city's many cafes and public areas.
According to the World Tourism Organization, Ukraine is the seventh most popular tourist destination in the world, boasting over 25 million international travelers per year. In addition to the many cultural attractions of Kiev and Ukraine's other major cities, there are a number of natural tourist destinations that attract travelers from all over the world. In the Carpathian Mountains, there a number of public and private parks that are perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, camping, skiing and fishing. Families have been vacationing along the beaches of the Black Sea for generations, and there are charming little villages located throughout Ukraine that beg to be explored. Some of the other natural wonders of Ukraine include the beautiful Dneister Canyon and the mysterious Marble Caves of Crimea.
One of the more interesting tourist activities that Ukraine has to offer is exploring the many wooden churches that are located throughout the country. Christians have been constructing wooden churches in Ukraine since the earliest days of Christianity, and visiting these unusual buildings is a great way to get to know the heart and soul of the country. The most notable wooden churches in Ukraine are located in the west, where the local people in each region used their own regional architectural styles in building their churches.
In recent years, a growing number of travelers have begun visiting Ukraine for dental tourism. There are a number of dental clinics located in Kiev and other cities in Ukraine that offer state of the art dental care at a fraction of the price that dentists in Russia and the United States charge, and many people chose to take a vacation in Ukraine to have dental work done that they would not be able to afford at home.
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