You know Ukraine as the land of “the Zone,” the place where hit TV show Chernobyl is set, and as the place where the four Battles of Kharkov took place. But you can visit it for more obscure objects to see – and they’re no less interesting. So here are unusual spots in Ukraine that Skycop recommends you visit!
Biały Słoń on the peak of Pip Ivan, the third highest mountain in the Chornohora range of the Carpathian Mountains. It had been established as an observatory by the Poles a long time ago (history is complicated). Now, it remains the highest-located residential building in Ukraine. The name Biały Słoń translates to “White Elephant” due to the amazing snow cover it gets in winter. Currently, a small mountain rescue station is situated there, but you can visit it with a bit of effort.
Catacombs in Odessa
The distance between Paris (and its famous catacombs) and Odessa? About 2,200km. The length of catacombs under Odessa? About 2,500 km. Your mind can’t handle the scale, but you can join a tourist tour or hire a guide to lead you. The catacombs are quite new, having took off in 1800s, and they saw extensive use by partisans in World War II (and by criminals at any other time). They’re still being explored, but you can see some of the safer parts! Just don’t go in by yourself.
If you want to see another place that was popular with criminals, check out Mezhyhirya Residence, the former home of the former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. This extremely corrupt man fled to Russia, and his former residence is now open for tourists (to gawk at, not loot). You can see how Viktor transformed the former monastery and state residence by adding such subtle touches as a personal zoo, 3D movie theater and a restaurant shaped like a Spanish galleon.
National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War
I can’t miss the opportunity to mention this. It’s a huge museum with over 300 exhibits. Centered as it is around the 62-meter tall Motherland statue, it marks the history of World War II in Ukraine, as well as displaying a lot of military equipment, some of which post-dates the war. If you’re visiting Kiev (and why wouldn’t you), you owe it to yourself to visit this place.
Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle was first constructed way back in the 14th century, and rebuilt many times. I mean, it was defending the country from Ottomans, Tartars and even Mongols (in fact, it withstood 51 assault by the famous conquerors). However, it still remains one of the best preserved medieval castles in Europe. I guess when you can stand against the Mongol hordes, resisting the passage of time is an almost-trivial task.
Museum of Strategic Missile Troops
For better or worse, Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons after the breakup of the USSR. One of the launch sites was preserved as a museum, staffed by the people that used to serve there. Visit the command post and launch bunker to see the place that would have played a small part in ending the world, as the medium-range missiles housed there were meant to glass parts of Europe. You can also see an exhibit that includes nuclear missiles, such as SS-18 “Satan,” which, while never housed there, is a terrible weapon.
Want to learn about the Chernobyl disaster, but have qualms about seeing desperate influencers posing half naked in front of the NPP? Then go to Slavutych. The city was designed to house the people displaced by the disasters. It’s a uniquely planned city as architects from various Soviet countries were given a district to design each. Therefore, you can see some wildly different architectural styles for a purposefully built settlement. Some of the people working in Chernobyl still live here, and you can possibly meet one at the Old Tallinn restaurant.
We hope your trip to Ukraine is a pleasant one. However, if you encounter flight disruptions, cancellations or overbooking, never fear! Skycop can help you claim flight compensation. Those go as high as €600 per person, and that’s enough money to buy a second T-80 tank in Kharkiv.