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My trip to Ukraine — cars, food, real estate

Today marks my first week in Ukraine. So far I have been enjoying my trip. I have met several of my old friends and everyone is glad to see me. I promised last time I would write about entertainment but then I decided I will wait till after the wedding party. Today I will go over some interesting observations I made while browsing the city with my friends.

What normal people eat in Ukraine

Typical food in UkraineI wrote to you about the restaurant we stopped by on the way from Kiev to Kharkiv. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures back then except for the folklore composition with a couple of Ukrainians.

When I met one of my friends this week we went to a cafeteria which many University students frequent during the lunch break. The food we ordered was potato & liver, mushroom crepes, marinated pickles, jello & fruits, and hot tea with lemon. The entire meal was around $4. I would call this a normal lunch meal at a typical price. Alright, the jello was extra. I couldn’t resist. ;-)

Cars in Kharkiv

New Russian LadaWhile most of cars in Ukraine are Russian made, Kharkiv is a little different. The level of income is definitely higher here than overall in Ukraine and the variety of cars you can find on the streets is astonishing. Often the parking near administrative buildings or some expensive shops is full with SUV’s from Porsche, BMW, and Lexus. To the left is a new model from the leading Russian automaker which is arguably the first Russian car that challenges western automakers as equal.

Old Russian LadaFor comparison I have taken a picture of the old model which some of my friends sill drive. The car on the photo is around 35 years old. Many medium to low income Ukrainians have these.

There are no motorcycles on Kharkiv streets. The roads are probably too dangerous for them. However I see many scooters — a kind of transportation that didn’t exist several years ago. Scooters are getting popular because they don’t require a license to operate according to Ukrainian laws.

Space saucer on top of Mayer’s building

Space saucer in Kharkiv, UkraineCentral square in Kharkiv is the largest in Europe by footage. The city administration building is facing it from the south. “Gasprom”, the first building in Ukraine built using concrete mono blocks, is facing the square from the north. Last year a private company built an offices building behind the city administration offices that by design was supposed to have the same number of floors as city administration. Somehow they were able to sneak in two extra floors and if you look at the Mayer’s office from the square you can see a sort of “space saucer” on the roof. This story made a lot of noise in the news last year.

Real estate in Kharkiv

Store front ad boardsThe economy is booming raising the demand for housing in Ukraine. The cities are affected the most. An average price for a 1-bedroom apartment in Kharkiv suburbs is somewhere around $60,000 which is double of what it was 3 years ago. A similar apartment in the city center can easily cost $80,000 or more depending on location. This is a price for a typically sized (appx. 500 sq. feet) apartment in a high-rise built around 60-70’s. New construction is usually larger in size and is incredibly expensive with prices approaching US levels.

As I was walking the central street I met a guy from my school. He is running a small shop selling windows. According to him an apartment on the first floor converted to an office facing the central street costs $2000 a month to rent. Ukraine didn’t have private owned shops when most of the housing was built and many of the small shops you can see on the streets are former apartments. To the right is a store front of one of these shops that caught my eye.

Military academy becomes University building

University building (former Military Academy)Two more big buildings facing the central square are Kharkiv University and Military Academy. Yesterday I found out that the academy is no more. With all the budget reductions on military, the academy building was given back the University which it originally belonged to when built. Pictured is the building in subject.

This will be it for today. Tomorrow is the wedding parting and I will be taking a break. See you later!


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8 Responses to “My trip to Ukraine — cars, food, real estate”


  1. 1 Dean Jun 22nd, 2007 at 10:24 pm

    Awesome insider information, this is why your blog rocks. I love the pictures.

  2. 2 Alex Jun 25th, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    Interesting. Ukraine trip posts generate more interest than deals/coupons posts. Yan, you need to start TravelSmart blog. ;)

  3. 3 Yan Jun 25th, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    Yeah, I wish I could travel and live in different countries to write about them. I was born in Ukraine and lived there half of my life – thus the insider information. It is impossible to learn even third of what I write over a short vacation trip, especially if locals speak language you don’t know.

  4. 4 emmanuel Jul 28th, 2007 at 5:24 am

    hello sir/madam

    i’m emmanuel obeni from nigria, i will like to study at ur military academy and i need want to no what it will take or cost me to get the addmission.Thanks and God bless you

  5. 5 philip Aug 3rd, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    This info is great with pictures i am planning to visit ukraine soon. Maybe catchup with you there and have jello together if u are still around.

  6. 6 Great insight Mar 27th, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Thanks for the info. Going there , Kharkiv in May 2010, any places which are secure , clean and cheap ( i am on a low budget. Thanks for any help. Frankie

  7. 7 Pearly Nov 19th, 2010 at 11:53 am

    The article was good. It tells some about Ukraine. The pictures are excellent. I like this because it gives you an idea of the real Ukraine. The Ukraine that most people will live in. Would like to know what it is really like.

  8. 8 stasia Dec 22nd, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    uhmm the info was good except there is one problem. I was born and lived almost whole life so far there moved away from there at the age of 11 and therefore have been in a different country for almost 5 years already. Ukraine is awesome ones u get used to it. It is not always so great though. The bad sides of it are the stupid government, homeless ppl/animals everywhere,high prices and much more. It is still great though. it takes a while for someone who didnt live there to get used to it but eventually u will. U might not like it though. I miss it. planning on going in 2012 with my best friend to show where i lived almost my whole life. Hopefully she will like it.

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