Ah, Ukraine. I dabbled in Ukraine. That’s not a euphemism, by the way. I did a manmade wonders of the country, before. This time, it’s the natural beauty under the spotlight. It is a great country. When they declared independence, they had the third largest arsenal of nuclear weapons in the world, and they gave them up voluntarily. 1,000 warheads given to Russia because they didn’t want any more violence. How wonderful. Not sure what Russia did with them, though. But there’s more. Ukraine made the largest glass of champagne in history. It held 12 gallons. Presumably, this was in celebration of the huge wad of cash they got from the UN for the disarmament deal. It’s what I’d do. Ukrainians are famous for being more generous than they can afford to be. In Kiev, they have a Statue of Liberty. Sitting down. Can’t blame her. I’d be worn out too after walking all that way. They love bread. They’d marry it if they could. Can they? I don’t know. They have the fourth largest number of IT professionals of any country on Earth. And 77% of the population have never been outside of the country. Here are some reasons as to why…
The Seven Natural Wonders of Ukraine (Сім природніх чудес України), is ‘a selection of the most popular and unique natural landmarks in Ukraine’. There are so many parks and reserves on this list that I simply have no choice but to break my rule of not picking anything that there’s more than one of on a list. But Ukraine is worth it.
There’s something you need to know about me. I’m terrified of caves. I mean, I can’t swim, I get claustrophobic and I’m afraid of dark spaces. It’s beautiful, but I’ll rule out Marble Cave (Мармурова печер). Zoos don’t agree with me. I’ve had many zoo animals look at me with a look of pure hatred. If I went to the Askania-Nova (Асканія-Нова) biosphere reserves, knowing my luck, I’d be mauled by everything. Almost all of their animals have super-horns. I’m looking at a photo of the biggest buffalo I’ve ever seen. I’m just – no. Just, no. Svitiaz (Світязь) is a beautiful lake, which I’d normally like. I mean, I can’t swim but if I fall in, fair enough, someone will see me and call for help. This lake, on the other hand, is remote. And it’s the deepest in Ukraine. 65 yards deep. I’d just stay away from it. Because I’d never be seen again. For me, it’s just as scary as the caves.
The remaining four are all spectacular. I just cannot rule out any of them. So the one I’ll go for is the one that most impressed me. The one that took the most of my breath away. So out goes the Granite-steppe lands of Buh, National Environmental Park Podilski Tovtry (Націона́льний приро́дний парк Поді́льські То́втри), and Synevir (о́зеро Синеви́р).
I’ll go for Dniester Canyon. It’s a regional landscape park that covers 42 square miles with a stunningly beautiful river carving through it. The combination of geological, botanical, archaeological and hydrological sites is unique to this location. It’s one-of-a-kind. Rare plants and exotic trees. The home of hundreds of species of birds. It’s so wonderful. It really does take one’s breath away. It is truly spectacular, one of the best wonders I’ve ever seen. A true treasure of Ukraine.
The Dniester Canyon. My favourite natural wonder of Ukraine.
Photos: The Dniester Canyon
Note from the Author: This post was written several weeks ago before the troubles in Ukraine started. I decided to publish the post despite the violence because I feel that Ukraine is a wonderful country that shouldn’t be defined by what we see on the news. I think it’s important during these times to show what Ukraine has to offer and to remind people it isn’t a country of hate but a bright and magnificent place that is going through what I think we all hope is only a brief hardship. Ukraine is a wonder in itself, and it’s important to keep that image in our minds whilst praying for an end to the unrest. Thank you.
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