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Seven wonders of nature of Ukraine
Following last year’s all-Ukraine public opinion poll to determine what Ukrainians thought could be called “Seven Wonders of Ukraine,” a similar pole was held in 2008, but this time it was narrowed down to “natural wonders” alone. The results were as follows:
Ascania Nova, a natural preserve in the land of Khersonshchyna
The preserve covers an area of 11 thousand hectares. It is mostly steppe overgrown with more than 400 species of grasses and flowers. In the summer the steppe is covered in smoky silver of feather grass and in grey wormwood, which undulates like waves even in the slightest breeze. The section of the preserve, known as The Park, spreads over an area of about 200 hectares and consists of several parts. There are about 150 species of trees and bushes in the park. Typical are maples, Crimean pines, pyramidal oaks, junipers, elms, fur-trees, ashes, white acacias and weeping willows that grow on the banks of the picturesque pond which is located in the center of the park. More than 60 species of birds and many species of steppe mammals inhabit the Park and the preserve. Among the birds there is a good chance to spot white and black swans, flamingos, cranes, grey partridges, and larks, even, on occasion a steppe eagle. Camels, lamas, zebras and wild horses dot the grassy landscape. Tourists can travel across certain sections of the preserve on foot, on horseback or in tourist buses. The section of the preserve known as Stara is a particularly magnetic tourist attraction.
Dnistrovsky Canyon (stretches across Vinnytsya, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil and Khmelnytsk Oblasts)
Dnistrovsky Canyon is a 250-kilometer stretch of the Dnister River from the mouth of the Zolota Lypa River to the mouth of the Zbruch River. The Dnister meanders through the canyon-like valley among amazingly impressive natural sights. Plants and animals of that area together with the rocks and river combine to make the Dnistrovsky Canyon a natural feature of true wonder that abounds in waterfalls and other scenic attractions.
In the villages located in the divinity of the canyon, one can find old churches and cave monasteries, ruins of castles and fortresses, and other man-made historical and architectural landmarks.
Svityaz Lake, the Land of Volyn
Svityaz is the biggest and deepest lake in Ukraine. In a storm, waves are hardly less impressive than on a regular sea. Svityaz is one of the Shatsky Lakes, famous for their great scenic natural beauty. Svityaz is fed by artesian springs and the water in the lake is clean and has a nice, soft taste.
The lake spreads over a territory of 2,672 hectares. Its maximum length is 9,225 meters, and its maximum width is about 4,000 meters. The maximum depth is 58.4 meters and the average depth is 6.9 meters.
Many beaches on the shores of the lake provide access to the water — you can wade in for over a hundred meters before the water reaches your chest. It makes a safe stay on the beaches for children with their parents.
Podilsky Tovtry, the Land of Khmelnychchyna
Podilsky Tovtry is a national park (it was given the status of a national park in 1996). The Tovtry is a range of low hills that stud the surrounding plain. These limestone hills are the last remaining vestiges of the reefs that once existed in what was the Miocene Sea; the reefs were formed by countless numbers of sea mollusks and their shells.
Similar geological features can be found in Great Britain and the USA.
Podilsky Tovtry are blessed with its own microclimate and the natural conditions are favorable for the growth of a number of rare plants many of which possess medicinal properties. Mineral waters of the area are known for their excellent quality.
This area includes several places in the land of Mykolayivshchyna which create a “natural wonder”, the rocky canyon of the River Pivdenny Buh being the central feature. The canyon provides a dramatic view amid the placid steppe. The river is meandering through the canyon with mighty rocks stretching across the river in several places which form scenic rapids (they also provide an excellent “extreme” sport for canoeists). The canyon has been designated as a landscape park, Hranitno-Stepove Pobuzhzhya. It is likely to be turned into a national preserve some time soon. The Island of Hard attracts tourists as a place which used to be one of the famous Cossack centers of old. Nomads and settled tribes of ancient times have left enough artifacts for the archeologists to find and examine for years to come.
Marmurova pechera (Marble Cave), Crimea
Marmurova pechera is arguably the most fascinatingly beautiful cave among other natural caves explored in the Crimean Mountains.
It is located at a plateau of the Chatyr-Dag Mountain Range. The cave has several “halls” which are connected by corridors whose explored length is over two thousand meters. The corridors run underground at the depth of sixty meters. About one kilometer of corridors and caves is open to tourists.
Speleologists are of the opinion that Marmurova pechera is one of the five most scenic caves in the world (open to tourists). Marmurova pechera is also one of the most frequented caves in Europe; in 1992 it was included into an international association of caves (with headquarters in Genoa, Italy).
Synevyr Lake, the Land of Zakarpattya (Transcarpathia)
Synevyr is the most attractive lake of the National Park Synevyr and arguably the most beautiful lake of the Ukrainian Carpathians. Its elevation above the sea level is 989 meters; its water surface is over 4 hectares; its maximum depth is 22 meters, and the average depth is over 8 meters. The lake is believed to be over 10,000 years old.
The lake is surrounded by mountain slopes overgrown with coniferous trees, many of which are a couple of hundred years old. Right in the center of the lake you can see a tiny island — its position in the blue water of the lake gave the island its local name — Morske oko (Eye of the Sea).