So, many of you already know that we live in Ukraine; however, I am pretty sure only a handful of you know our exact whereabouts here in L’viv. Frankly, I had no idea about Ukraine’s geography before I moved here and it has taken me almost two months to get a very basic bearing on our location and surroundings. In order to assist those of you who are interested, I have asked the goranimals to pose just north of our beautiful city in the subsequent photo. They seemingly have obliged.
Our city is L’viv. L’viv is on the Western edge of Ukraine and quite close to Poland (only an hour and a half to the border via train). L’viv is probably the most significant city in western Ukraine and considered by many to be the western Ukrainian cultural center. While I hope to give more info on this later, I ought to note now that there are significant cultural differences between western and eastern Ukraine, (split east to west almost right down the middle) regarding the people who live in each place, their histories, and their respective identity constructions. One of the most notable of these is language. Ukrainian dominates western Ukraine and Russian dominates eastern Ukraine. This difference has directly affected business in L’viv as we operate in Ukrainian language. More on all that later though.
To note a couple of other locations of interest, the next place most of you are going to know is the capital, Kiev, Kyiv, Kyev, etc. depending on which way you transliterate it. Kyiv has historically been a very significant city, rivaling Moscow and St. Petersburg during Soviet times, and is still tremendously significant today. Kiev is every bit a fast-paced metropolitan city and recently offers direct flights to America via Delta Airlines. Just found that out a couple of days ago.
It’s somewhat unfortunate, but the next location in Ukraine most foreigners know is Chernobyl, the infamous site of the nuclear disaster in 1986. Chernobyl is located upriver of Kiev, close to the Belarusian border and if I have my information right, it sounds like a large part of the region is still uninhabited. If your interested, I also found this link to some more recent photos with informative captions on Chernobyl.
Shannon and I haven’t been able to do any national travel yet, but we are definitely looking forward to visiting the Carpathian mountain range to our southwest and some other locations including the beautiful Crimean peninsula and the port city of Odessa to the southeast. We’re sitting tight for now until we learn some more language though. Hope that helps a little.