Euro 2012

How to not get lost in Ukraine

26.03.2012 | By Lev Kamenev

One of the most important tasks faced by Ukrainian host cities of EURO 2012 is overcoming the language barrier of street signs

The Cyrillic-based Ukrainian language is foreign to the majority of foreign visitors who will attend the EURO 2012 championships. The only country that has a common alphabet with the Ukrainian language is Russia, whose national football team drew to play in Poland by some strange twist of fate


In order to make guests to Ukraine feel comfortable while traveling throughout the country and staying in other cities hosting the championships, a project for putting up road signs in English has been developed. It will be jointly implemented by UEFA and the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine at the national level and at the municipal level in each of the host cities. The ministry will begin putting up road signs in English starting April 5 with planned completion by May 30.

180 signs will be put up in Kyiv for the convenience of foreign visitors. This will allow football fans to find their way around without the help of local passersby by following directional signs in English. The places where such signs will be installed and their design have been approved by the city planning authority.

More than 3,000 signs bilingual and in English with the names of the central streets of Kyiv will be mounted on the facades of the citys residential buildings.

The lines of the Kyiv subway system will be numbered especially for foreigners that are expected to attend EURO 2012. The Svyatoshyn-Brovary (Red Line) will be labeled No. 1, the Kurenivka-Chervonoarmiyska (Blue Line) No. 2 and the Syrets-Pechersk (Green Line) No. 3. The stations on each of the lines will be numbered in compliance with international standards of enumeration of subways stations.

In addition to that, maps of Kyiv in three languages Ukrainian, Russian and English will help foreign visitors from find their way around Kyiv without getting lost. Prior to the start of the championships similar maps will be printed in German, French and Polish.

900 signs in English will be put up in Donetsk at all the main routes that football fans from abroad will be traveling. Head of the Department for Preparations to EURO 2012 in the Donetsk City Council Serhiy Repin said the installation of these signs began on December 15.

New signs along roadsides with the names of streets and objects in English have already been installed in downtown Donetsk and are currently being installed along streets outside the city limits. Two weeks before the championship kickoff, 1,700 temporary signs specially designed with UEFA logos will be installed throughout the city 1,000 on means of public transport and 700 along pedestrian routes. They will have directional indicators of traffic and commonly recognizable symbols: food stands, fan zones, stadiums, first aid infirmaries, etc.

Immediately after the championship ends the signs will be taken down and foreign guests attending EURO 2012 matches in Donetsk will be handed out a map of the city to help them find their way around and easily find hotels and key places of interest.

The local authorities in Kharkiv calculated that the number of UEFA signs designated for the city will be insufficient. Upon our own initiative we are producing road signs for passengers of public transport and pedestrians, particularly at the exits of subway stations with directions showing their way to the stadium, First Assistant Mayor of Kharkiv Oleksandr Kryvtsov noted.

In addition to that, in March signs will be installed in Kharkiv with street names in Ukrainian and English. A year ago 1,070 bilingual street signs and indicators of places of interest for tourists were installed in the historical center of Lviv and at the entrance to the city.

Finally, by the end of April bilingual information signs about EURO 2012 will be installed in the railway stations in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lviv and Donetsk. In every station an English-speaking clerk will be behind one of the ticket windows.

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