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Ukraine is a former Soviet country located in Western Europe, with 603,700 sq km of total area (a little smaller than Texas) and 43. 3 billion population (CIA, 2008). It is located in geographical center of Europe and its landscape mostly consists of plateaus and plains, as well as mountainous regions to the west (Carpathian) and to the south (the Crimean peninsula). The country has 2,782 km coastline of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. The climate is temperate continental and Mediterranean in the Crimean peninsula.
Winters are usually cold with average temperature in January varying from 32F in Crimea to 20F in Kiev. Summers are quite hot with average temperature in July 64-73F (DeLong, 2007). Therefore, advantageous geographical position and climatic conditions of Ukraine are perfectly appropriate for the development of tourism. Another important factor which stimulates the flow of tourists to Ukraine is its unique ancient culture and local traditions. Nevertheless, Ukrainian tourism infrastructure is very underdeveloped and the country welcomes any investors who want to construct new facilities for foreign tourists.
Also, Ukrainian government is making some determined steps directed on attracting more overseas tourists to the country, including a recent decision about abolishing visas for the citizens of many European countries (Mliugina, 2006). The eastern and central regions of Ukraine, including Donbass, are heavily industrialized. Therefore, overwhelming majority of tourist attractions are concentrated in the western part, in Crimea and in the capital, Kiev. The Carpathian region is a famous tourist place, which can offer facilities for rehabilitation in summer and comfortable ski resorts in winter.
Such cities as Lviv, Uzhhorod, Kolomyya, Mukacheve, Kamyiants-Podliskiy, are popular with their beautiful European architecture, numerous medieval castles and cathedrals (The Columbia Encyclopedia, 2007). Tourists also enjoy the opportunity to participate in traditional ceremonies and customs of the Carpathian region. Another important tourist attraction of Ukraine is the Crimean peninsula with its beautiful mountainous landscapes, unique climate and sunny beaches. This region has rich history and for long time it was a part of the Ottoman Empire.
That is why in such Crimean cities as Bakhchisaray and Sudak there are numerous monuments of Ottoman architecture. Chufut Kale is a mountainous area covered with caves and fortifications preserved from the times of Crimean Khanate. In Sevastopol it is possible to see the monuments of the Greek and Byzantine epochs. Such cities as Yalta, Alupka and Eupatoria are known summer resorts which offer the tourists such attritions as botanical gardens, architectural monuments, vine festivals, as well as swimming, hiking, mountain climbing, etc. (The Independent, 2004).
Finally, the country’s capital Kiev is the most popular place to visit in Ukraine. Kiev is one of the most beautiful European cities with more than 15 centuries of history, which was the center of the development of Slavic Civilization. The most important historic monuments of Kiev include a great number of churches and cathedrals (Kiev Pechersk Lavra, St. Andrew’s Church, St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral, etc. ), palaces, museums, gardens and Kiev Zoo. Another popular attraction is classic art, numerous concerts and ballet performances. In Kiev visitors can enjoy proper accommodation, transportation and communication networks.
Other important tourism centers of Ukraine include Odessa, Kharkiv, Poltava, Chernigiv, Zhytomyr, and many others (Go2Kiev, 2008). In conclusion, it is necessary to underline that Ukraine has a great potential for becoming a destination for millions of foreign tourists. But there are certain problems which must be immediately solved by Ukrainian authorities. In addition to the necessity to improve the country’s infrastructure, there is also a problem of safety. Despite quite moderate crime rates in Ukraine, foreigners frequently become the victims of pickpocketers, thieves, robbers and other offenders.Other dangers are connected with AIDS prevalence and high radiation level as a result of the Chernobyl Accident in 1986 (Edwards, 2001).
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