Ukraine is a sovereign state in Eastern Europe. Including Crimea, Ukraine has an area of 603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi), making it the largest country entirely within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world. It has a population of about 42.5 million, making it the 32nd most populous country in the world.
The territory of modern Ukraine has been inhabited since 32,000 BC. During the Middle Ages, the area was a key centre of East Slavic culture, with the powerful state of Kievan Rus’ forming the basis of Ukrainian identity. Following its fragmentation in the 13th century, the territory was contested, ruled and divided by a variety of powers, including Lithuania, Poland, the Ottoman Empire, Austria-Hungary, and Russia. A Cossack republic emerged and prospered during the 17th and 18th centuries, but its territory was eventually split between Poland and the Russian Empire, and later merged fully into Russia.
In 1991 Ukraine gained its independence from the Soviet Union in the aftermath of its dissolution at the end of the Cold War. Ukraine has maintained its independence as a sovereign state ever since.
Ukraine has long been a global breadbasket because of its extensive, fertile farmlands and is one of the world’s largest grain exporters. The diversified economy of Ukraine includes a large heavy industry sector, particularly in aerospace and industrial equipment.
Ukraine’s 2010 GDP (PPP), as calculated by the CIA, is ranked 38th in the world and estimated at $305.2 billion. Its GDP per capita in 2010 according to the CIA was $6,700 (in PPP terms), ranked 107th in the world.
Ukraine occupies 8th place in Europe by the number of tourists visiting, according to the World Tourism Organisation rankings, because of its numerous tourist attractions: mountain ranges suitable for skiing, hiking and fishing: the Black Sea coastline as a popular summer destination; nature reserves of different ecosystems; churches, castle ruins and other architectural and park landmarks; various outdoor activity points. Kiev, Lviv, Odessa and Kamyanets-Podilskyi are Ukraine’s principal tourist centres each offering many historical landmarks as well as formidable hospitality infrastructure. The Seven Wonders of Ukraine and Seven Natural Wonders of Ukraine are the selection of the most important landmarks of Ukraine, chosen by the general public through an Internet-based vote.