The USSR was a communist state and federal union of 15 national republics spanning Eurasia from 1922 to 1991. These republics included Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. All formed independent states by the dissolution of the USSR in 1991.
Bulgaria in the Balkan Peninsula is one of the last members of the European Union (2007), a big geopolitical change for this former socialist republic. Traveling there is a step back in time with folklore, ancient sites and older architecture eclipsing modernity. You can also step in time in traditional group dances and smell the roses that abundantly grow in this southeastern European country.
Kyiv, Ukraine was a golden child of the Golden Age then was destroyed twice, most recently, during World War II. But it rose like a phoenix, becoming an important city of the USSR then the capital of independent Ukraine. Today it’s a hub for glorious churches, coffeehouses and clubs, turning its ashes into golden dust.
When Johann Strauss entitled his famous 1866 waltz “The Blue Danube,” he must have been wearing blue-tinted glasses or simply drunk. This river is no more blue than I can waltz. However, its banks are lined with magnificent buildings, charming villages and three European capitals. It also unites a formally divided continent.
Moldova, a former USSR country between Romania and Ukraine, is caught between political idealism and economic reality. But in the middle are friendly, humble people.
Noah’s Ark purportedly landed in the Caucasus, a region between the Black and Caspian Seas where the Caucasus Mountains divide Eastern Europe and Western Asia. The latter in the South Caucasus includes Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, where fire, earth, water and air are “biblical.” No wonder the ark survived.
While Easter has been a Christian celebration for centuries, it began as a non-religious spring festival. And the Easter bunny hopped to America from another country. Moreover, the first Christian state in the world was in West Asia. Discover a basket of “eggs-cellent” facts …