Ukraine (Ukrainian: Україна, translit. Ukrayina; Ukrainian pronunciation: [ukrɑˈjinɑ]), sometimes called the Ukraine, is a country in Eastern Europe. Excluding Crimea, Ukraine has a population of about 42.5 million, making it the 32nd most populous country in the world. Its capital and largest city is Kiev. Ukrainian is the official language and its alphabet is Cyrillic. The dominant religions in the country are Eastern Orthodoxy and Greek Catholicism. Ukraine is currently in a territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. Including Crimea, Ukraine has an area of 603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi), making it the largest country entirely within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world.

The territory of modern Ukraine has been inhabited since 32,000 BC. During the Middle Ages, the area was a key centre of East Slavic culture, with the powerful state of Kievan Rus’ forming the basis of Ukrainian identity. Following its fragmentation in the 13th century, the territory was contested, ruled and divided by a variety of powers, including Lithuania, Poland, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Russia. A Cossack republic emerged and prospered during the 17th and 18th centuries, but its territory was eventually split between Poland and the Russian Empire, and finally merged fully into the Russian-dominated Soviet Union in the late 1940s as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1991 Ukraine gained its independence from the Soviet Union in the aftermath of its dissolution at the end of the Cold War. Before its independence, Ukraine was typically referred to in English as “The Ukraine”, but most sources have since moved to drop “the” from the name of Ukraine in all uses.

Stage Notes

Poland long-distance cyle routes.

Stage2Tarnow1Stage 2 (Poland) to Pilzno a small town. You cross the Vistula river and go through Tarnow which is worth a visit as the old town is well preserved.

Stage03Rzeszów2Stage 3 (Poland) to Przeworsk. You pass through Rzeszow, a large city, on the way. Almost every place along this route will have a Holocaust history: 14,000 Jewish people lived here before WW2 and only 100 survived.

Rzeszow centre

Ukraine Cycle Routes.

Stage 4 to Yavoriv – in Shklo nearby are hot sulphur springs. The Poland/Ukraine border is at Korezowa, it’s just a village, but this is where you leave the EU.

Stage 5 to Yaktoriv – pass through the regional capital of Lviv which is a tourist centre with a notable main square. Close by Lviv is the Roztochya Biosphere Reserve

Stage 6 to Zbarazh, famous for its siege in 1649 by Cossacks and its castle. You’ll cross the Seret river today: a major front in World War 1.

Stage 7 to Mali Orlyntsi, little information about this day. You will pass the Manachynskyi Hydrological Reserve: a mystery.

Stage 8 to Lytin, no information about this town but on the way you ride alongside the Buzhok river and the Molomolynetsivskyi Hydrological Reserve and afterwards the Pivdennyi Buh River and the Bashta Hydrological Reserve. These appear to be flat marshy floodplains.

Stage 9 to Orativ, which is a small regional centre – still a small village. It seems to be on the Zhyva river. Atrocities took place here in World War 2. You’ll pass through the larger city of  Vinnytsia and cross the Bug river.

Stage 10 to Zvenyhorodka – not a lot to remark on – seems to be more wetlands.

Stage 11 to Nova Osota – much the same …

Stage 12 to Oleksandriya, a larger town as you approach the Dneiper river valley. This is one of Europes largest rivers and you might want to see if the proposed cycle route down it is ready and usable yet.

Stage 13 to Novomykolaivka – now you arrive at the famous Dneiper river and join the Amber route as it was known in antiquity. Not much known about this town.

Stage 14 to Velyke Lake – you finally cross the river north of the Dnipro, a huge city (4th largest in Ukraine). It’s going to be flat and wet.

Stage 15 to Slov Yanka – not much information about attractions.

Stage 16 to Pantaleymonivka which is just south of Horlivka. Nothing much of note – it appears to be a coal-mining area – open-cast – except this is the area of conflict to do with pro-Russian separatism.

Stage 17 to Antratsyt – basically it’s named after Anthracite! This is the region which is not controlled by the Ukraine government. Most people here speak Russian not Ukrainian.

Stage 18 to Shakhty in Russia – a large city. You cross the border at Dolzhans kyi.