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History and Culture in Kamianets-Podilskyi

With the Smotrych River running through it, the city of Kamianets-Podilskyi is set in very picturesque surroundings. Although some historians are of the opinion that the city is built on the location of a settlement founded by the Dacians who inhabited the area in the 4th century BC, the first historical mention of the settlement was as a Kievan Rus town in 1062. It was destroyed by Mongol Tatar invaders in 1241, and was annexed by Polish King Casimir III in 1352, becoming the capital of the administrative division Podole Voivodship. At this time the existing fortress was extended under orders of the Polish king to defend Poland against Ottoman and Tatar invasions from the southwest, and continued to be added to and fortified by subsequent kings and rulers. Today, the Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle is one of the city’s most prominent landmarks, towering over the Smotrych River from its elevated position on a canyon.

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GogolFEST Contemporary Arts Festival in Kiev

Established in 2007 by the President of DAKH Contemporary Art Center in Kiev, Vlad Troitskyi, GogolFEST was initiated by a group of Ukrainians who wanted to bring all aspects of the country's contemporary art scene to their fellow Ukrainians and to the world. GogolFEST is the first, and indeed the only, multidisciplinary arts festival held in Ukraine, presenting to the public a wide variety of contemporary arts, including audiovisual installations, visual arts, contemporary music and dance, experimental theater, film screenings and literary discussions. The Festival provides a platform for both leading artists and new names to present their work to a wide audience.

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Aqua-Entertainment in Kiev

Located on the third floor of Kiev's Dream Town shopping and entertainment center, Dream Island Waterpark takes visitors back to the time when dinosaurs roamed the earth - but with every modern convenience for comfort and enjoyment. Opened in 2011, the waterpark features as many as fourteen different waterslides, three stream pools, nine different types of steam baths, two wave pools, a Jacuzzi and a bar nestled in a sheltered lagoon. A large area of the Jurassic-themed waterpark is dedicated to children, allowing parents to indulge in some time-out while their offspring are entertained.

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Remarkable Recovery of Nature at Chernobyl

Following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster on April 26, 1986, pine trees in a ten square kilometer area around the power plant turned a ginger-brown color and died as a result of the absorption of excessive levels of radiation, resulting in the area becoming known as the Red Forest. Tens of thousands of people were evacuated in a 30 kilometer radius of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, with the understanding that the area, including the city of Pripyat, would never be habitable again. During the cleanup operations the pine trees of the Red Forest were bulldozed and buried in trenches referred to as 'waste graveyards'. These trenches were then covered with a thick layer of sand in which young pine saplings were planted and managed to grow, albeit initially more as shrubs than trees.

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Classical Music Thrives in Kiev

The National Philharmonic Society of Ukraine is housed in a distinctive 19th century building located at the end of Khreschatyk Street. The building features two adjacent concert halls which have long been venues for quality music in the city of Kiev. Renowned composers who have presented their creative genius to appreciative audiences in these concert halls include Alexander Scriabin, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, with opera singers including the legendary Feodor Chaliapin and Leonid Sobinov.

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Explore Ukraine's Largest Open-Air Museum

Situated on the outskirts of Kiev, the National Museum of Ukrainian Architecture and Culture, more commonly referred to as Pyrogovo or Pyrohiv, is one of the largest open-air museums in Europe and offers fascinating insight into Ukraine's past. Occupying an area of more than 1.3 square kilometers, the museum features more than three hundred historical architectural specimens from around the country, as well as over 70,000 household, cultural and religious items. Guides and workers dressed in authentic costumes as they go about demonstrating ancient crafts enhance the old-world charm of the museum which offers an entertaining and educational day's outing for the entire family.

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Delve Into Cossack History at Mamajeva Sloboda

Located in Kiev, just seven kilometers from the city's famed Khreschatyk, the open-air museum of Mamajeva Sloboda covers an area of more than nine hectares with an authentic replica of an historical Cossack settlement. Surrounded by wattle fences, the settlement consists of numerous buildings in a village setting, with the Cossack three-domed wooden church being the centerpiece. Called the Church of the Most Holy Mother of God, this interesting building was constructed as a replica of churches in the times of Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky, known for leading his Cossacks during the seventh century War of Independence.

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Ukraine's Forest Dwelling Deer

With its numerous national parks and wildlife reserves, Ukraine is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, and nature-loving travelers will not be disappointed when exploring these conservation areas. Species of birds and animals are as varied as the habitats that support them, with the country’s forest zone being home to mammals such as elk, roe deer, red deer, squirrel, wild boar, brown bear, lynx, beavers, wolves and foxes, as well as wood grouse, starlings, cranes and blue titmice, to mention a few. Forests in Ukraine consist primarily of fir, beech, spruce, hornbeam and ash trees, and fill an essential role in counteracting climate change in an increasingly industrial world.

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