This will not come as news to people who live here, but Kyiv's women have just been rated as the world's most beautiful.
Traveler’s Digest, an online magazine, gave top marks to Kyiv women – knocking the Swedish beauties of Stockholm down a notch to No. 2 among the top 10 cities.
“Kyiv is, without a doubt, home to the world’s most beautiful women. A visit to Kyiv is truly awe-inducing. It’s almost hard to believe that women this beautiful even exist. They’re also less intimidating and more friendly than their Russian counterparts.Check out Kyiv in the summertime, when Hydropark Island on the Dnipro River becomes a hot spot for sunbathing Ukrainian beauties,” Traveler's Digest wrote.
This is Ukraine’s first appearance on the top list since the publication started ranking cities in 2006, said Hong Kong-based editor Dakota Smith. “We had not sent travel writers to Ukraine before last year, ” he said.
Ukrainian women are beautiful and quite interesting and intelligent
- Dakota Smith, editor.
The award is based on the opinions of the site’s 10 travel writers – not all of whom have been to Kyiv, but who collectively have visited 100 cities.
Smith has been to Kyiv only once, in September for a week, but liked what he saw.
“They are stunning. They are elegant. Tall. Brunettes. Blondes. Light eyes and friendly as well,” Smith raved. “I’ve studied Russian. It’s not very good, but people are willing to talk with me and have conversations.They seem much more approachable than in Moscow and a few other places in Eastern Europe.”
Even though Smith is 24 and single, he came and left without any romantic attachments. “I went to school with a girl who lives in Kyiv,” he said. “We went to dinner. That’s about it.”
Smith was smitten not only by physical beauty, but rather by characteristics that he hopes will help Ukrainian women shake an unfair reputation of them abroad as mail-order brides and as providing a destination for sex tourists, a sort of Bangkok of the north.
“People there are so educated. You can have conversations about literature, art and philosophy,” said Smith, a Canadian-American.
"Ukrainian women are beautiful and quite interesting and intelligent.”
Smith also thinks that Ukraine will hold the top spot for some years to come.
“I think Kyiv will be there [at the No. 1 position] for awhile,” Smith said. “Stockholm was No. 1 for a long time and it’s now No. 2. So there’s not a big dropoff.”
Only time will tell if this reputation leads to a tourist boom. But, considering the unfortunate ways that Ukraine makes international news - Chornobyl, corruption, fistfights in parliament, oligarchs buying up expensive real estate abroad, homeless people freezing in the streets - this is an honor worth savoring.
Kyiv Post chief editor Brian Bonner can be reached at email@example.com