Top cities to visit in Ukraine

November 13, 2012

IT was a country that remained an enigma to the rest of the world.

It was largely undiscovered; a country many placed the word “the” in front of and a place dominated by outdated stereotypes.

But Ukraine has come of age.

Ukraine turned 21 in 2012 and finally appears to be shaking off the ghosts of the Soviet Union, this year also marked the country sharing hosting right with neighbors Poland for the Euro 2012 UEFA European Football Championship – the world’s third-largest sporting event.

The eyes of the sporting world turned toward Eastern Europe as the continent’s top 16 national teams battled in the four-week football festival. But it was away from the soccer pitch that Ukraine won hearts.

Largely overlooked and undiscovered by tourists, that looks set to change as the world is beguiled and charmed by this country set in the center of Europe.

Here are Ukraine’s top cities.

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In the shadow of Chernobyl

August 10, 2012

FIVE hundred days from Japan bringing the world to the brink of nuclear apocalypse and as the world watches and waits for the final impact of the Fukushima nuclear disaster to be tolled Booked.net visits a site where it all happened before.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster is a series of technological failures, meltdowns and radioactive releases following the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.

As the analysis of that disaster continues – there is one place that set a precedent a quarter of a century earlier.

Chernobyl.

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Euro 2012 in Ukraine – the final analysis

July 2, 2012

Fireworks erupt above Kiev’s Olympiyskiy (Olympic) Stadium to conclude the 2012 European Football Championship – Photo By GLEB GARANICH/REUTERS

THE sport and, of course, the party that was Euro 2012 is over.

Euro 2012 kicked off in Warsaw, Poland and came to an end three weeks later in Kiev, Ukraine on Sunday. The final match for the European Football Championship title saw Spain rightfully claim the title of best team in Europe (and the world) in a 4-0 drubbing of Italy at Olympiyskiy Stadium.

Now, comes the dissection of the tournament.

It was the largest event to be hosted in Eastern Europe since the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Much has changed since then, the “Iron Curtain” fell, the map of Europe has been redrawn several times, what hasn’t changed is traditional East/West bias.

Months of warnings, perpetuated by the British and European media, proved groundless and largely overblown with the tournament hailed as a success.

The criticism of Ukraine was particularly harsh. Mass media alleged Ukraine’s hosting of the Euro 2012 would be marred by racist violence and organizational chaos.

Instead, Ukraine is enjoying the success of an event that has, for now at least, transformed its image.

Booked.net has followed the championship since it was in its’ preparation stages, here’s our thoughts.

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Last-minute Euro 2012 hotel booking a lottery

June 21, 2012

ENGLAND’S progression to the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 has led to an army of Lions fans desperately trying to get to Ukraine, but accommodation is a “lottery” Booked.net says.

Airlines are heavily booked and competition for accommodation among the 500,000 foreign fans expected in the Ukrainian capital Kiev is fierce.

England next plays Italy in the knock-out phase of the UEFA European Football Championship at Kiev’s Olympiysky Stadium on Sunday, June 24.

According to online reservation website http://www.booked.net/ there are rooms available in the city if fans act fast.

Booked.net chief communications officer Jared Morgan said a quick search of the site’s data bases revealed a handful of rooms were available in the city in the lead-up to Sunday’s quarter final.

“Admittedly, it’s a lottery, my guess is last minute fans are simply looking for a bed for the night,” he said. “So, if location isn’t an issue, then by all means take the gamble.”

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The world will be watching Ukraine – Euro 2012

September 1, 2011

IT is a nation commonly associated with hot women, Chernobyl and political upheaval. Yet, after 20 years as a state, the world still doesn’t know much more about Ukraine, but this is a country poised to emerge onto the world’s stage for Euro 2012.

The massive scale of the redeveloped Kyiv Olimpiysky Stadium. Click for larger image. Photos by Alexander Iashchuk

In April 2007, Ukraine and Poland were announced as co-hosts of the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, becoming the easternmost host nations in the European Championship’s 14-year history.

The massive initial celebrations were tempered by the fact both nations had to move fast to bring stadiums up to scratch as the eyes of Europe and much of the football-watching world looked to them to see if they were up to the challenge of hosting the coveted tournament.

Fast-forward three years and it seems both nations are more than capable of meeting the test – less than a year out from the beginning of Euro 2012.

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