Ukraine Has Its Seven Wonders Too

June 24, 2019
Even though none of the Seven Wonders of the World are in Ukraine, Ukraine has its own Seven Wonders.
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1. Aktovskyi Canyon

If you associate the word "canyon" with the Grand Canyon in the state of Colorado (USA), you will be even more surprised to find out that his younger brother is located in Ukraine. Every year, not only Ukrainians, but also foreign tourists, come to Mykolaiv Region to admire this natural beauty.

The canyon occupies 250 hectares of land and is located near the village Aktove, after which it is called, right on the river with the mystical name Mertvovod. When translated from Ukrainian, the name means "dead water". It appeared not by chance. During the times of the Scythian settlements, people buried all their kings here, releasing them downstream "on their last journey". Due to the impressive size and old legends, another name has taken hold for the canyon - Devilish. Nevertheless, the canyon welcomes you with breathtaking views and rich flora, which consists of up to a thousand different plants. And when you visit don't forget to wake up early in the morning to take some scenic pictures of the dawn sky. Photo credit: Wikipedia

2. Oleshkivski Sands (desert)

Ukraine has forests, forest-steppes, steppes, mountains, lakes, rivers, seas - but it also has deserts. This desert is also one of the largest in Europe, with a total area of more than 160 thousand hectares. It is located in the south of Ukraine, on the territory of Kherson Region. So, if you so wish, you can go there from the canyon mentioned above. The trip by car takes no more than 4 hours.

Oleshkivski sands appeared because of massive cattle grazing that took place here in the XVIII-XIX centuries. Considerable damage was caused not by anyone, but by the creator of the Askania-Nova biosphere reserve, Baron Friedrich Falz-Fein. More than a million of his sheep grazed on these territories. Under the influence of the wind, sand, which was released in the absence of greenery, began to spread rapidly. In the mid-twentieth century, this process was stopped thanks to the planting of vegetation around the perimeter of the sandy territory. It occupies a total of 100 thousand hectares and is the largest artificial forest in the world. In the summer, the sand warms up to + 75-77 degrees Celsius, so don't forget to protect yourself from the sun and grab a bottle of water when visiting this place. Photo credit: Wikimedia commons

3. Tunnel of Love

If you are in Rivne Region, then be sure to go to a place near the town of Klevan. It became popular not only in this country, but also abroad, as it is one of the most romantic places in Ukraine. It is called the "Tunnel of love" and looks like an arch made of trees and bushes, surrounding the railway for nearly four kilometers. This place appeared thanks to a military base located nearby. The fact is that the said railway led to a military base, and the green areas should have acted as camouflage for it. As for the perfectly correct shape of the tunnel, everything is extremely simple: the railway is still in operation, and the train breaks off the outgoing branches when it moves. It is believed that if a couple that is in love makes a joint wish here, then it will come true.

It is interesting that the Japanese were especially fond of the tunnel: in 2014, Japanese Director Akiyoshi Imazaki filmed his romantic drama "Klevan: Tunnel of Love" here, and later the camera manufacturer Fujifilm followed suit, shooting its commercial here. Photo credit: Wikimedia commons

4. Lake Synevyr

Synevyr, the largest mountain lake in Ukraine, is extremely popular among tourists. It is located in the Carpathians and appeared more than 10,000 years ago as a result of an earthquake. Its depth in some places reaches 24 meters.

There is a beautiful but sad legend that a lake emerged from the tears of the daughter of a rich Earl who did not want her and an ordinary shepherd to be together. When he found out that they had feelings for each other, the count ordered that the young man be killed. And that order was carried out immediately. The girl cried bitterly for a long time and a lake arose from her tears. The girl was called Syn, and the young man Vyr; hence the name.

In the middle of the lake there is a tiny island called the Sea Eye due to some similarity with the pupil. It's important to remember that swimming in the lake is forbidden, but for a small fee you can float on a raft and enjoy the crystal clear water and the surrounding coniferous forest. Photo credit: Wikipedia

5. Optimistic Cave

An interesting name was given to a cave in Ternopil Region, which is considered the longest gypsum cave in the world. It reaches 260 km to date, though all of its passages have not been studied sufficiently.

Even the name of it appeared by chance: for a long time, colleagues did not take the discoverers of the cave seriously, calling them optimists. Nevertheless, they believed it would be longer than everyone expected. By the way, speleologists from Lviv discovered it back in 1966, but the cave explorations are ongoing.

The Optimistic cave is now a famous tourist spot, where you can admire underground lakes and sparkling crystals, as well as drink hot tea in a specially-equipped place. And don't be scared if you encounter a bat on the way - they sleep most of the time, and are generally benign. Photo credit: Wikipedia

6. Khortytsia Island

Khortytsia Island, the largest island on the River Dnipro, deserves special attention. The total area of the island is about 2,500 hectares, and its natural wealth is remarkable: there are coniferous and oak forests here, as well as grasslands. Among the plants, you can find a lot of plants that are rare for mainland Ukraine.

Most of all, Khortytsia is interesting from a historical point of view, because a famous Cossack settlement called Zaporizhzhian Sich was located here. It was built in 1556, and some parts of the fortifications are still preserved, so the island is now how to the eponymous historical and cultural complex. That's why this is best place to visit if you want to plunge into the atmosphere of that era and learn more about the everyday life of the Cossacks. You can get to the island by train or bus from the nearby city of Zaporizhzhia. Photo credit: Wikimedia commons

7. Apple Tree Colony

The Apple Tree Colony turned out to be the last one on our list. It is located in the city of Krolevets, Sumy Region, and is a tree (not a garden, as it may seem at first), which occupies an area of 0.1 hectares and bears fruit for more than 220 years, although the age of an apple tree does not usually exceed 60. The secret lies in the fact that the branches lean to the ground and eventually take root, so when one of the trunks dies, the other one rises to the top. This is how the tree prolongs its life.

Next to the apple tree lies the tombstone of Prince (Knyaz) Meshcherskyi. The tree is believed to have been planted during his life, and it bends to the ground, because it mourns for the prince. No scientific explanation of this phenomenon was ever found, because ordinary apple trees grow from the shoots of this tree. The study of soils did not reveal anything either. Not only Ukrainians, but tourists from other countries come to see this natural phenomenon. Photo credit: Wikipedia

Veronika Gurina for UkraineWorld

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