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Every culture and heritage has its own folklore and mythology, passed down through decades or even centuries, and the myths of Ukraine are no exception. Rooted in what bears a strong resemblance to contemporary ideals of religion, as well as paganism, there are origin stories and myths alike that have vibrant lives in Ukrainian imaginations to this day.
“Horilka” is the Ukrainian term you’ve never heard for something you might have frequently—Vodka. There are several anecdotal tales of regional twists on vodka (like horilka) that go back centuries. The term “Horilka” comes from the Ukrainian verb hority, or “to burn.” It seems logical to assume that this would refer to the burning sensation of the drink, or even the spiciness commonly found in horilka (flavored as it is with red pepper), but in reality, it refers to the fact that alcohol literally burns when lit on fire.
Unless you’ve already spent significant time underground or deep inside a cave, you cannot imagine total darkness as described by those who have toured the Odessa Catacombs. Many of the world’s major cities have underground tunnels that have endured over centuries—carved out for purposes of transit or battle, and remaining at least partially intact today. But the most expansive, fascinating, and deadly catacombs in the world exist under Odessa.