Mabel Fatokun

Eastern Europe: These 7 Presumptions Are Untrue

I’m still shocked by the amount of false information that exists concerning Eastern Europe in 2024. Let’s fix this, then!

Now is the time to dispel a few myths regarding Eastern Europe so that you can travel there without fear!

Numerous of these presumptions are false. In a broader sense, the definition of Eastern Europe is more political than geographical. lt includes the countries that embraced or were forced to adopt communism

  • Central Europe: The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, 
  • Eastern Europe: Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova and the European part of Russia.
  • The 3 Baltic states: Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia
  • The Balkans: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania
Eastern Europe: These 7 Presumptions Are Untrue

These four distinct zones are shown below. This will help you understand why certain countries are more alike if you are heading to Eastern Europe. However, we are include all of Eastern Europe in order to focus on misconceptions about the region in this post.
Furthermore, not every nation in Eastern Europe was a member of the Soviet Union! I’ll talk more about this later. However, if you get this incorrect, it’s one method to rapidly upset folks.

1. What Language do they speak in Eastern Europe

Only one nation—not counting Russia—among the 19 nations in Eastern Europe has Russian as an official language. Russian and Belarusian are the two official languages of the nation.

Does Russian serve as a second language for anyone in Eastern Europe?

Yes, they do, but you’ll discover that German was taught to the generation currently in their 40s and 60s, whereas English is more generally spoken as a second language by those between the ages of 18 and 40. Certain individuals received instruction in Russian as a second language, particularly in the nations that were a part of the Soviet Union.

2. How safe is Eastern Europe?
Every successful film that comes out appears to include some Eastern European gang. Mafia from Albania, gun traffickers from Serbia, or simply plain old folks who speak Polish. Haha. Actually, contrary to popular belief, Eastern Europe is far safer than anyone realises, including among Eastern Europeans themselves. There are just four countries from Eastern Europe and six from Western Europe when you compare the Crime Index rankings of the top ten nations here.

To be clear, there are dangers all around Europe, but I don’t believe you actually need a sophisticated plan to survive in Eastern Europe. Bear Grylls training is not necessary. Unwind.

3. What sights are there to behold in Eastern Europe?
This appears to be yet another false impression of Europe’s east. because there isn’t much to do or see for tourists.

Aside from Prague, of course. When travellers first came upon this metropolis, they were in complete awe. Are you familiar with Prague? They would say, “Isn’t it beautiful?” and I would nod. Indeed, there is a great deal to see. The finest aspect? Places that haven’t yet become the next big thing can still be visited.

4. Does Eastern Europe have any art or culture?
Indeed. Lots and lots of stuff. from colourful events like the Sziget festival in Hungary, the Pohoda festival in Slovakia, and the Exit festival in Serbia, among many more. Eastern Europe is home to a plethora of art galleries and museums. A few of my personal favourites include the Warsaw Uprising Museum in Warsaw (the audio-guided tour is highly recommended), the Alfons Mucha Museum in Prague, the Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade, and the Nedbalka Gallery in Bratislava.

5. One more myth: prices are incredibly low in Eastern Europe!
Indeed, it is more affordable if you contrast Eastern Europe as a whole with France, the Netherlands, or Switzerland. It’s likely that your lodging and transportation costs will be lower.

But in places like Prague, Bratislava, Ljubljana, or Dubrovnik, you can find yourself paying a lot for food and coffee due to the rising wages, particularly in Central Europe.

6. The food in Eastern Europe is all bland!

Right, if you imagine the food to be all based on potatoes and cabbage, you are not the only one. And while these two ingredients do feature in the cooking, there is so much more to it! 

7. Eastern Europe belonged to the Soviet Union and Russia. I hear every European from the Balkans or Central Europe moan out at some point upon hearing this. This evokes strong feelings since there is a great deal of historical context explaining why people find this offensive. It also implies that not many people are aware of their national identity, which they frequently battled so hard to get. This explains why some nations have such strong feelings about leaving the Soviet Union! They have either been overrun or have made a firm decision to break their connection:
The Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia, or what is now Czechia and Slovakia, in 1968.
Hungary was invaded by the Soviet Union in 1958.
In actuality, Yugoslavia never belonged to the Soviet Union. Only seven of the 19 nations that make up the notion of Eastern Europe (in its broadest sense)—Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova—were a part of the Soviet Union.


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