Country Welcomes U.S. Travelers
Political headlines have catapulted Ukraine into the spotlight, but there is a whole other side to the country, reports Sophia Kulich, owner of Sophia’s Travel. Kulich, a Ukranian native whose company specializes in travel to former Eastern bloc countries, says that Ukraine as a destination is open for travel and welcomes Americans.
“Most Americans know little about the Ukraine as a travel destination, says Kulich, who notes that the country is rich in culture, history, architecture and scenery. “It’s a country of domed Orthodox churches, the Black Sea coastline, forested Carpathian mountains, and home to 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites,” she says.
In fact, more than 14 million travelers visited Ukraine in 2018, with a growing number of Spanish and British travelers discovering the country. While the Russians have annexed the Crimean Peninsula in the east, Crimea is some 400 miles from Ukraine’s capital city, Kyiv, notes Kulich, pointing out that Ukrainians are friendly and that the country represents good value for the dollar.
Traveling to Ukraine
Kulich, who arranges trips for individuals and small groups who want to discover the country, recommends the following:
- Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, is one of Europe’s largest cities, offering domed churches to café culture. Main attractions are golden-domed St. Sophia Cathedral and Kyiv Pecharsk Lavra, or Monastary of the Caves. Also nearby are the infamous killing grounds of Babi Yar, where the Nazis massacred 150,000 local Jews and prisoners.
- Lviv in the west, some 44 miles from the Polish border, was founded in the 13th century. The city boasts an elegant opera and ballet theatre, ornate Catholic and Orthodox churches, a Jewish and Armenian quarter, the Golden Rose Synagogue complex– a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating to the 16th century– coffee cafes, and a bustling market square.
- Odessa by the Black Sea, combines international influences in culture and architecture including Greek, French, and Italian traditions. Among sights are the legendary Privoz Market, the impressive Potemkin Stairs, the Baroque Opera House, tree-lined Derybasivska Street with its many cafes and restaurants, Ptimorskyi Boulevard which leads to the port, and the catacombs–some of the longest in the world–used by Soviet Partisans during World War II
- Carpathian Mountains range from forested hills to high peaks. The area is home to native Hutsul people, known for their traditional crafts such as decorative wood carving, pottery and ornamental weaving.
For information on Sophia’s Travel 2020 small group tours and individual travel to Ukraine and beyond, contact Sophia’s Travel, phone (727) 254-4373, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded in 1993, Sophia’s Travel provides cultural heritage tours for small groups, as well as specialized services including independent travel arrangements and shore excursions of Jewish interest.