Seven Wonders of Ukraine. Mykola Tomenko

Ukraine is a unique state with extraordinary nature and ancient history. Mykola Tomenko told Fashion of Diplomacy why our wonders are interesting to the world. He founded the national project «Seven Wonders of Ukraine».

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WE CAN SEE THE THINGS WHICH THE EUROPEANS READ IN BOOKS

 How did the idea of the project appear?

— I wanted to show the Ukrainians everything unique, most prominent and beautiful in the country. I understood that most citizens do not know where we have such places. But foreigners know little about our state too. Therefore, the idea was to open Ukraine as much as possible for itself and for the world.

There are not accidental objects on the list of miracles. How do the best of the best get there?

— We are taking objects from every region. Then there are several stages of nationwide voting. Then a hundred of experts select seven wonders. Our experts are leaders in various fields. They are the people who move the country forward.

We are striving to improve every project. Now we are selecting the most prominent historical cities and towns. The voting is ahead.

What does this give you?

— I study Ukraine by myself. I always wanted to form a positive image of the state here and abroad. What can show us today? Culture, history, architecture, nature, interesting projects. We are perceived as a young country. But that is not the case. We are an old state. Just restored, because we became completely independent just quarter of a century. Now it needs to be explained to Europe. And to realize it ourselves.

The “Seven Wonders of Ukraine” project has several directions. Which is the most successful?

— Each one is successful in its own way. And as for me, this is “Seven Natural Wonders”. Films about them are used at schools. Nature in Ukraine is unique. We found a lot of unexpected. We discovered raisins for both foreigners and Ukrainians.

“Seven Historic Wonders” were important for demythologization. We took such objects as Chersonese. It is not far from Sevastopol, which for some reason is called “the city of Russian sailors”. But Russia had something to do with it in the second half of the 19th century, and it had been Greek culture, Genoese before that. The British have invested a lot there. Such projects give the opportunity to destroy propaganda myths about the history of Ukraine. We try to tell the truth in an accessible form.

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Which of the wonders absorbs you most?

— Wherein is our uniqueness? We have everything — from the desert to the caves. Although now it is possible to shoot films in the canyons in the Podilski Tovtry. We managed to do the Buzkyi Gard reserved. Tourist infrastructure is developing there. Everybody comes there to go rafting.

Oleshkivski sands became a discovery for me. I consider the Bilhorod-Dnistovskyi fortress to be undervalued. For it is Akkerman. And Khotynska too. And Kachanivsky Palace. It is necessary to speak more about the Lutsk castle. It was the capital of Europe at one time. Therefore, we do not go to Europe, but come back. And there was the center of European trade in the south of our country in the 19th century. In those days, Belgians invested the city of Berdiansk. The East of Ukraine — Donetsk — was actually founded by the British. A well-known entrepreneur, Hughes from English Wales, quarried metal there. The Soviet history began later. If we had been able to show the formation of the Crimea or Donetsk correctly in due time, many stereotypes would have been removed. For now it looks like nobody lived there. There was a desert. The Russians came and life was in full swing. But that is not true.

Where do we have untapped potential?

— Huge potential is rural green tourism. It is interesting to live in the village in the old house, to taste the food, to see the culture and traditions. This is our ethnicity.

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What is interesting for Europeans in Ukraine? Why should one go here?

— Despite the pressure and destruction, the uniqueness of the state has been preserved. It is virgin nature, where you can feel the character. This is an ancient Ukrainian village and one of the most intelligent cuisines in the world. We have ritual, magic, philosophy in cooking. There is nothing like that anywhere. And what is more — rituals, songs. The old Europe and ancient Ukraine have survived in our country. What Europeans read in books can be seen in our country.

The conversation was held by Alina ARHYPOVA

 Regional Landscape Park «Granite-Steppe Pobuzhia» Seven Wonders of Ukraine. Mykola Tomenko

One of the oldest parts of the land in Eurasia. It has not sunk in the depths of the sea for 60 million years. The park occupies the valley of the Southern Bug River in six districts of Mykolaiv region. Granite rocks are sometimes 40–50 meters high.

National Park «Podilsky Tovtry»

Seven Wonders of Ukraine. Mykola Tomenko

Located in Khmelnytsky region. The Tovtry are the remnants of coastal reefs stretched parallel to the ancient coastline. There are no analogues in the world, but the UK and the USA have similar rocky ridges according to geological structures. Rocky arc-shaped ridges reach an average of 400 meters above sea level. This is the largest park in Ukraine. Since July 13, 2017, it is the part of UNESKO world heritage as one of the array of Bukovy virgin forests of the Carpathians and the ancient beech forests of Germany.

 

The Dniester Canyon

Seven Wonders of Ukraine. Mykola Tomenko

Stretches for 250 kilometers along the Dniester River in Vinnytsia, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil and Khmelnytsky oblasts. There are about 100 monuments of animate and inanimate nature of world significance in its territory. There are unique samples of subsurface rock cleavage here. These are natural monuments, like which there are almost none in the world. They have ancient fossil remains of flora and fauna, which are about 500 million years old.

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National Biosphere Reserve «Askania-Nova»

Seven Wonders of Ukraine. Mykola Tomenko

Located in Kherson region. This is the only part of the steppe in Europe that has never been touched with a plow. The reserve was founded in 1898. Now its area is more than 11 054 hectares. It is the largest on the continent. Bisons, saiga antelopes, fallow deer, Przhevalsky horses, Turkmen kulans, noble deer, Cape buffalos dwell here. There are also elands, antelopes gnu and nylghau, zebras and gayals.

 

The Marble Cave

Seven Wonders of Ukraine. Mykola Tomenko

Located on the table land of the Chatyr-Dag mountain range. Today it is the territory of occupied Crimea. According to the estimation of famous speleologists, it belongs to the top five most beautiful caves in the planet. The entrance to it is at a height of 920 meters above sea level. The length of the equipped excursion routes is more than 1.5 km.

 

Svytiaz Lake

Seven Wonders of Ukraine. Mykola Tomenko

The largest and deepest lake of natural origin in Ukraine. It is located in Volyn oblast. The area of the lake is 2622 hectares; the maximum depth is 58.4 meters. It is included in the Shatsky National Nature Park. Lake water has healing properties. After all, it contains silver, iodine and glycerin in its composition. And the skin after the bath becomes noticeably elastic.

 

Synevyr Lake

Seven Wonders of Ukraine. Mykola Tomenko

The largest and deepest mountain lake in Ukraine. It is located at an altitude of 989 m above sea level in the Transcarpathian oblast. The lake was formed in the post-glacial period about 10 thousand years ago. The folk name of Synevyr is Sea Eye. The average water surface is 4–5 hectares, the maximum depth is 19–22 meters. There are three types of trout: lake, rainbow and brook, here.