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Ukrainian History

   Ukrainian independence is three years old, but it has an ancient history.
The first state to spring up within the boundaries of the present Ukraine was Kyivska Rus (the 9th century). In fact, Kyiv Grand Princes ruled over vast territories from Baltica to the Black sea and Kuban and from Zakarpatya to the Volga. Kyivska Rus included Kyiv, Novgorod, Smolensk and later Moscow, which was founded by Kievities.

  This was a period of power and glory. In 988 Prince Volodymyr introduced Christianity as the official state religion. The christening of Kyivska Rus took place in Kyiv on Dnipro river. Two monks settled in the caves under Kyiv hills in the 11th century. Soon a cave monastery sprang up there. Now it is known in the whole world as Kiyevo-Pecherska lavra. Under Volodimir’s successor Yaroslav the Wise (1019-1054) Kyiv Rus’ rose to the peak of its development becoming one of the major political powers in Europe.


Ukrainian history : Sudak Genoese Fortress in the town of Sudak

   Kiev, as the capital of Kyivska Rus, was one of the richest and most developed cities of Europe where the arts flourished.

Kiev. Golden Gate
Golden Gate

   The high level of skills of Kiev craftsmen can be proved by the number of buried treasures found on the territory of the ancient city and by its monuments of architecture and monumental art.
Unfortunately, only a few of the monuments from the glorious past have survived but luckily among them are the great architectural creations of the eleventh and twelfth centuries: the Cathedral of St. Sophia, the Golden Gate of Kiev, the Kiyevo-Pecherska Lavra monastery.Civilisation arise, flourish and decline. It was the fate of Kiev Rus too. In 1240, Tartar Mongols captured Kiev. Thousands of people were killed and much of the city was razed. Kiev felt into a prolonged period of decline. The Tartar Mongols ruled for almost three centuries thereafter. The Kievska Rus state disintegrated and some of its territory came under the rule of Moscovia and Belorussia.

   The new Ukraine began to rise again at the end of the fifteen century, but the road to independence was a long and torturous one. In the late 16th-early 17th centuries the Cossack Republic of the Zaporizhya Sich fiercely fought for independence against the Poles and the Crimean Tartars. In 1648-1654 the Cossack armies, headed by the military header Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky, waged wars to liberate Ukraine.
Besieged by the enemies on all sides, Bohdan Khmelnytsky was forced to turn for protection to the Russian Tsar and the treaty signed at the town of Pereyaslav formalised Russian - Ukrainian relations.

   The Russian Empire puts its heavy boot on Ukraine but in spite of the domineering pressure Ukraine managed to preserve some of her political, economical, cultural and religious heritage.

Kiev. The Catholic Cathedral of Saint Nicholas
The Catholic Cathedral of Saint Nicholas

Kiev Mohylyanska Academy  

   Kiev Mohylyanska Academy, founded by the Metropolitan Petro Mohyla in the 17th century, became the first East European University.   In that period the Ukrainian people were one of the most educated in the world and almost totally literate.
There were books published in Ukraine, philosophy studied, the arts, music and literature created; there was even a first constitution written at the time of the Cossacks in 1711.But it was two centuries later, in January of 1918, that Ukraine gained independence, only to loose it shortly afterwards. The first president of the Ukrainian republic,Mykhailo Hrushevsky became the bitter witness of the rise and fall of independent Ukraine.

   The 20th century was a time of great turmoil and sufferings in Ukraine. After the Bolshevik revolution in 1917 Ukraine was engulfed in a chaotic civil war in which many different fractions and foreign powers fought for control. A Bolshevik victory brought most of Ukraine under Soviet rule.
Nevertheless the lust for freedom lived through the yeas of suppresser, famines and wars. In 1991 Ukraine became a Sovereign state and joined the world community of independent countries.


1. Ukraine means borderline. As a frontier land bridging the East and West, Ukraine was vulnerable to invaders from all sides.
2. Cossack comes from a Turkish word meaning «free man». The term was originally applied for refuges from serfdom and slavery who fled to the boarder land that was Ukraine from the 15th to the 18th century. The term later was applied to Ukrainians who went into the steppes to practise various trades and engage in hunting, fishing, bee-keeping and collection of salt.
3. The Cossacks set up democratic military communities and elected their leader, who were called «Hetmans».

Ukrainian Dating Service