Kharkiv city, Ukraine

The capital city of Kharkov oblast.

Kharkiv overview

Kharkiv (Kharkov in Russian) is the second most populous city in Ukraine located in the northeast of the country, the largest scientific center of Ukraine and the administrative center of the Kharkiv region.

The population of Kharkiv is about 1,447,000 (2016), the area - 350 sq. km.

The phone code - +380 57, the postal codes - 61000-61499.

Kharkov city flag

Kharkov city flag

Kharkov city coat of arms

Kharkov city coat of arms

Kharkov city map location


Kharkiv history

In the early Middle Ages, the territory of the Kharkov region was inhabited by nomadic tribes: Goths, Alans, Khazars, Pechenegs, Polovtsians. In the 8th century, the Slavs founded their settlement on the site of the future Kharkiv, which, in the 10th century, became known as the town of Donets. It was not only a fortress, but also a center of crafts and transit trade.

Donets was first mentioned in the chronicles in 1185. It was also mentioned in “The Tale of Igor’s Campaign”, an epic poem the Kievan Rus epoch. However, the official age of Kharkiv is not based on archaeological finds and burials, but exclusively on the first written mention in Russian official sources.

The town was ruined either by the Polovtsi in the 11th-12th centuries or by the Mongols in the 13th century. In the middle of the 17th century, the town was reborn on the elevated plateau of the watershed of the Kharkiv and Lopan rivers on the site of the old ruined fortification. At first it was a small fortress of the Moscow State protecting the borders from nomadic raids and inhabited mainly by Cossacks. In the Kharkiv Historical Museum there is a model of the first wooden fortress.

More Historical Facts…

Initially, the town was a military-defense and artisan-agricultural center. By the end of the 17th century, it became the center of numerous fairs, and gradually turned into a trade, and later an industrial center.

By 1837, in Kharkiv, there were over 70 industrial enterprises: mills, distilleries and tanneries. In the middle of the 19th century, the population was about 30,000 people. The stimulus for economic development was the construction of railways through the town: the Kursk-Kharkiv-Azov (1869) and the Balta (Odessa)-Kremenchuk-Kharkiv (1871).

In 1789, a theater was opened in Kharkiv, in 1805 - the second university in the present territory of Ukraine, in 1885 - a technology institute, in 1912 - Higher Commercial Courses (Kharkiv Commercial Institute). Public health in the town was actively developing. The Saburova dacha located on its outskirts was the largest psychiatric hospital of the Russian Empire. In 1869, the first public hospital was opened - the Alexandrovskaya hospital. In 1897, there were about 174,000 people in the city.

During the Russian Civil War, power in the city changed several times. Kharkiv became the capital of Soviet Ukraine. In 1934, the capital of the Ukrainian SSR was moved from Kharkiv to Kyiv. By 1939, the population reached 833,000 people. In terms of its economic development, the city became the third industrial center of the USSR after Moscow and Leningrad. Before the Second World War, Kharkiv machine-building produced about 40% of the output of the whole machine-building industry of Ukraine and up to 5% - of the USSR.

Kharkiv was the most populated city of the Soviet Union, which was occupied during the war. May 1, 1941, the population of the city was 901,000 people; in September 1941, together with the evacuees, it amounted to 1 million 500 thousand. In August 1943, after the liberation, the population of Kharkiv was only about 180-190 thousand people. August 23, the liberation day of Kharkiv, has become a city holiday. Today, it is celebrated as the City Day of Kharkiv.

As a result of the war, Kharkiv was one of the most destroyed cities in Europe. Dozens of monuments of architecture were destroyed. In 1946, a new general plan of the city was adopted. Ruins on the sites of destroyed buildings were reminding the locals about the war until the mid-1960s.

Kharkiv was rebuilt as a city of broad streets, large apartment blocks, imposing, often ponderous administrative and office buildings, and large industrial plants. In the second half of the 20th century, it became the main transport hub of South-Eastern Europe. In 1962, the population of Kharkiv reached 1 million people. In 1975, the first metro line was opened. Today, there are three lines.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, a significant number of industrial enterprises and universities ceased to exist. For about two decades, depopulation was observed in the city. The situation stabilized in the beginning of 2010-ies.

In 2012, Kharkiv was one of the four cities of Ukraine that hosted the European Football Championship 2012.

On the streets of Kharkiv

Kharkiv architecture

Kharkiv architecture

Author: Andrey Kholmanskiy

Kharkiv street

Kharkiv street

Author: Gennadiy Zbuk

Kharkiv street view

Kharkiv street view

Author: Andrey Kholmanskiy


Kharkiv features and interesting facts

Kharkiv is one of the largest industrial centers of Ukraine with large machine-building and metalworking plants, as well as enterprises of power engineering, electrical industry, chemical industry.

The city is one of the largest transport hubs in the country (railways and highways, an international airport offering regular flights to Kyiv, Istanbul, Warsaw, Tel-Aviv, Minsk). Kharkiv has an extensive network of public transport: route taxis, buses, trolleybuses, trams. Kharkiv subway has 3 lines, the total length - 39.6 km.

The climate in Kharkiv is moderately continental, with mild winters and long, hot, sometimes dry summers. The average temperature in January is minus 4.6 degrees Celsius, in July - plus 21.3 degrees Celsius.

Kharkiv is the largest city of the Earth on the 50th parallel, larger than Krakow, Prague, Mainz, Ust-Kamenogorsk. In October 2010, in the Shevchenko public garden, a monument “50th parallel” was opened.

Saltovka district is the largest residential district in Ukraine, with a population of more than 400,000 people.

Barabashovo (or simply Barabashka, Baraban, Barik) is the largest in Ukraine and one of the largest in Eastern Europe industrial and clothing market occupying an area of more than 75 hectares.

Kharkiv and the Kharkiv region have the world record in terms of the number of cosmonauts. More than 30 people were enlisted in the cosmonaut detachment of the USSR and more than 20 of them flew into space. Such a large number of cosmonauts is explained by the fact that in Soviet times there were five higher aviation schools and one aviation institute in the city and the region.

The City Day of Kharkiv is celebrated on August 23.

Kharkiv coat of arms

On the green field of the shield of the coat of arms of Kharkiv you can see the cornucopia (filled with fruits and crowned with flowers) and the caduceus (a golden rod with silver wings and snakes).

Green color in heraldry symbolizes hope, joy, well-being. The cornucopia symbolizes natural wealth. The caduceus is a permanent attribute of the god of Mercury, who in the era of antiquity was considered the patron of merchants and travelers. The snakes symbolize wisdom.

Places of interest in Kharkiv

Kharkiv is rich in architectural sights of the 19th-20th centuries. There are a lot of museums, monuments, churches, parks, and other attractions.

Museums

Kharkiv Historical Museum of M.F. Sumtsov. In four departments of the museum you can see archaeological finds from excavations of settlements of the Bronze Age, things of the Old Russian period from Donets fortification of the 11th-12th century, numismatic and ethnographic collections, collections of weapons, flags, etc.

Near the museum building you can find two tanks: Mark V (English, World War I) and T-34 (Soviet, World War II). In 2012, during the reconstruction of Konstytutsii Square, a glass pavilion-gallery was attached to the main building. Universytets’ka Street, 5. Opening hours: 09:30-17:00. Day off: Monday.

Kharkiv Art Museum. One of the oldest museum institutions in Ukraine rich in unique works of art. In total, there are about 20,000 exhibits. In the department of Ukrainian and Russian art of the 16th-20th centuries you can see the works of Aivazovsky, Shishkin, Vasnetsov, Pimonenko, Surikov, Murashko, and others. Zhon Myronosyts Street, 11. Opening hours: 10:00-17:40. Day off: Tuesday.

Maritime Museum. The museum is devoted to the history of navigation in models. The exposition shows how wooden ships were built, the 17th century warships were organized, how gold was taken from sunken galleons. You can see beautiful models of ships created over the course of dozens of years, as well as navigation devices, maps, engravings, documents (partly from the archives of the Royal Society of Great Britain). Zhon Myronosyts Street, 13 (second floor). Opening hours: 10:00-19:00.

Other interesting museums:

  • Avec Fine Arts Gallery. Sumska Street, 72;
  • History Museum of the Southern Railway. Yevhena Kotliara Street, 15v. Opening hours: 9:00-18:00;
  • Natural History Museum of the Kharkiv National University. Trynklera Street, 8;
  • Holocaust Museum. Yaroslava Mudrogo Street, 28 (second floor);
  • Literary Museum. Bahaliia Street, 6. Opening hours: 10:00-17:00. Days off: Saturday, Sunday.

Churches

Svyato-Pokrovskiy Monastery - the oldest preserved building in Kharkiv. In the 17th century, the monastery was part of the fortification system of the Kharkiv fortress. The belltower of Pokrovskiy Cathedral (1689) has the form of a defensive tower. Universytets’ka Street, 8.

Annunciation Cathedral (1888-1901) - a magnificent architectural ensemble built in the new-Byzantine style with a 75-meter bell tower. This five-domed cathedral is distinguished by a special “striped” masonry and rich decor. Blahovishchenska Square, 1.

Assumption Cathedral (1771-1777) - a tall and slender church constructed in the style of the Ukrainian Baroque. The belfry with chimes is the tallest building in Kharkiv (89 meters). In 1986, it was reopened as the House of Organ and Chamber Music. Today, the building is partially returned to the Orthodox Church. Universytets’ka Street, 11.

St. Panteleimon Church (1882-1885) - a beautiful church built in the Russian-Byzantine style near the Kharkiv Zoo. Klochkivska Street, 94.

Catholic Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1887-1892). The building of the basilic type has a high Gothic bell tower with a spire and a round window-rosette in the second tier. Hoholya Street, 4.

Three Saints (Golberg’s) Church (1906-1915). The church in honor of three saints (Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom) built on the initiative of the merchant Gregory Golberg, who had brothers Vasily and Ivan. Highly artistic interiors are of particular value. Goldbergivska Street, 101.

Ozeryanska Church (1892-1901). The church made of red brick in eclectic forms of the Byzantine-Russian style. The facades of the building are rich in architectural details, borrowed from the ancient Russian religious architecture. The height of the four-tiered bell tower is about 40 meters. Poltavskyi Shliakh Street, 124.

Churches in Kharkiv

Three Saints (Golberg's) Church in Kharkiv

Three Saints (Golberg’s) Church in Kharkiv

Author: T.Multus

Svyato-Pokrovskiy Monastery in Kharkiv

Svyato-Pokrovskiy Monastery in Kharkiv

Author: Taras Kushnirenko

St. Panteleimon Church in Kharkiv

St. Panteleimon Church in Kharkiv

Author: Taras Kushnirenko


Architectural monuments

Gosprom (1925-1928). The complex of buildings of the House of State Industry, built in the style of constructivism, became the core of the new administrative center of Kharkiv, then the capital of Ukraine. It was the first high-rise reinforced concrete construction in the USSR (63 meters). In 1955, one of the first television towers in the USSR, 45 meters high, was installed on the roof. In the 5th entrance, you can find a museum of Gosprom. Svobody Square, 5.

Old Building of the Kharkiv University (1766-1777). Originally built as the palace of the governor-general, it is the oldest building in Kharkiv in the style of classicism. The Kharkiv University was housed in the Governor’s Palace from 1805 to 1958. Today, the building is occupied by the Ukrainian Engineering and Pedagogical Academy. Universytets’ka Street, 16.

Southern Railway Station. The first train arrived in Kharkiv on May 22, 1869. By the end of the 19th century, this railway station became one of the largest in the Russian Empire. In 1952, a new station building was constructed in the “Stalin’s empire” style. On the platform #1, there is a monument to Father Fyodor from the novel “12 chairs”. Pryvokzal’na Square, 1.

Beketov’s House (House of Scientists) (1897-1900) - an elegant mansion of the family of the Kharkiv architect A. Beketov, who designed about 40 buildings in the city and largely determined its current architectural appearance. Zhon Myronosyts Street, 10.

Parks

Maxim Gorky Central Park for Culture and Recreation - the central park of Kharkiv laid in 1893-1895. The total area is about 130 hectares. Today, it is one of the main centers of recreation and entertainment, mass celebrations and folk festivals are held here.

On the territory of the park you can find an amusement park, a movie theater, a children’s railway “Malaya Yuzhnaya”, a cable car, tennis courts, etc. The children’s railway is open from May to late October (in May and September-October - only on weekends). Opening hours: 10:00-17:00. Days off: Monday, Tuesday. Sumska Street, 81.

Shevchenko Garden. The oldest park in Kharkiv, it is one of the favorite places for locals and visitors of the city. The park was laid down by the founder of the Kharkiv University V. Karazin in 1804. The best monument to Taras Shevchenko is located here. You can find the main entrance to the Kharkiv Zoo (1895) near the concert hall “Ukraine”. Sumska Street, 35.

Sobornyi Public Garden. On the upper terrace, you can admire the beautiful panorama of Kharkiv, the Annunciation Cathedral. Sobornyi Descent.

Water Park “Jungle” - a large modern indoor water park the interior of which is stylized under the jungles of South America. There are 7 pools with 11 water rides. The complex also includes a hotel, restaurant, bars, sauna and massage, solarium, billiards. Kyrhyzka Street, 19B. Opening hours: 12:00-22:00.

Kharkiv views

Kharkiv architecture

Kharkiv architecture

Author: Altukhov Andrukha

Kharkov marketplace

Kharkov marketplace

Author: Taras Kushnirenko

Part of the monument to Taras Shevchenko in Kharkiv

Part of the monument to Taras Shevchenko in Kharkiv

Author: Dana Jensen


Other sights

Svobody (Liberty) Square. The central square of Kharkiv, it is one of the largest squares in the world (11.9 hectares). Various political actions, fairs, festivals and concerts are often held here.

Taras Shevchenko Monument (1935). It is considered the best monument to the poet. The multi-figure sculptural group personifies the people’s struggle for freedom. Sumska Street, Shevchenko Park.

Kharkiv Zoo. Founded in 1896, it is the oldest zoo in Ukraine and one of the favorite places of leisure in the city. Sumska Street, 35. Opening hours: 8:00 - till the end of daylight hours.

Kharkiv National University named after V. Karazin - one of the oldest and largest universities in Eastern Europe, founded on the initiative of the scientist and educator V. Karazin in 1805. This university became the center of Ukrainian national cultural revival, played an important role in the development of modern Ukrainian science and culture. It includes the Botanical Garden, the Nature Museum, the Museum of Archeology and Ethnography, the University Museum. Svobody Square, 4.

Planetarium. Kharkiv Planetarium named after Yuri Gagarin was opened on the initiative of the Soviet astronomer N. Barabashov in 1957. There is a museum of cosmonautics and ufology with such unusual exhibits as four-meter figures of aliens, models of flying saucers. Kravtsova Lane, 15.

Cableway. The aerial cableway with double cabins runs from the Botanical Garden (Otakar Yarosh Street) to the Gorky Park (Sumskaya Street). The overall length is 1,385 meters, the height - up to 26 meters. One way journey takes about 18 minutes. The cableway is open in the warm season. Sumska Street, 81. Opening hours: 11:00-20:00 (Tuesday-Friday), 10:00-21:00 (Saturday, Sunday, holidays). Day off: Monday.

Cascade Fountain. This fountain in the form of a cascade descends the steep slope from the Shevchenko Park in the direction of Klochkivska Street. It was built on the site of the destroyed pre-war park staircase in 1954.

Mirror Stream. The rotunda of this fountain located in Peremohy Public Garden opposite the Kharkiv State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater is considered one of the symbols of Kharkiv. Sumska Street.

Kharkiv Choral Synagogue. The building of the synagogue was constructed in the neo-Gothic style with elements of Moorish style in 1913. It is the largest synagogue in Ukraine that can accommodate up to 1,000 people. Pushkins’ka Street, 12.

Best hotels in Kharkiv

There are a lot of different hotels in Kharkiv. The following hotels located in the central part of the city offer the best level of service according to visitors’ reviews.

Hotel “Premier Palace Hotel Kharkiv”. This modern 11-story hotel is located in the very center of Kharkiv, next to the complex of the Gosprom. There is a SPA-center with sauna and pool. The hotel has an underground parking for 54 cars. 180 rooms with air conditioning, satellite/interactive TV, Wi-Fi. “Sky Lounge” restaurant offers panoramic views of Svobody Square. “Pacific Rim” restaurant offers exotic cuisine. Nezalezhnosti Avenue, 2. Contact phone: +380 57 766 44 00.

Hotel “Reikartz Kharkiv”. The hotel is located in the historical center of Kharkiv. 76 single and double rooms with air conditioning, Wi-Fi. There is a restaurant (European and French cuisine). Sadova Street, 4. Contact phone: +380 57 728 13 52.

Hotel “Park Hotel” - a new modern hotel located near the business and cultural center of Kharkiv. 55 spacious rooms of different categories, Wi-Fi. One of the floors is reserved for non-smoking guests. There is also a room for people partially or completely disable. There is a restaurant (European and Slavic cuisine, a wide choice of specialties from the chef). Additional services: laundry, ATM, tours, transfer, car rental, taxi, parking. Shevchenka Street, 79. Contact phone: +380 57 730 17 17.

More Hotels…

Hotel “City Club”. The hotel is located in the vicinity of the historical center, 10 minutes drive from the international airport and the central bus station. 40 rooms, Wi-Fi. The restaurant offers European and traditional local cuisine. Its SPA-center combines traditional Russian banya, Finnish sauna and Turkish sauna. Haharina Avenue, 145. Contact phone: +380 57 730 17 00.

Hotel “Viva” - a four-storey building located near the historical part of the city. There are spacious apartments for leisure and business travelers, Wi-Fi, parking, car rental, transfer. There is a cafe on the ground floor (European cuisine). Haharina Avenue, 10/2. Contact phone: +380 57 784 07 90.

Hotel “Victoria”. The hotel is located close to the city center. 28 rooms of different categories with air conditioning, Wi-Fi. There is a non-smoking floor and a restaurant of Ukrainian cuisine. Additional services: taxi, transfer, car rental, parking, laundry, pool, sauna. Prymerivska Street, 23. Contact phone: +380 93 362 32 44.

Kharkov city, Ukraine photos

Kharkiv sights

Peter and Paul Church in Kharkiv

Peter and Paul Church in Kharkiv

Author: Sergey Donryansky

Assumption Cathedral in Kharkiv

Assumption Cathedral in Kharkiv

Author: Sergey Vasilchenko

Annunciation Cathedral in Kharkiv

Annunciation Cathedral in Kharkiv

Author: Ivan Grab


Explore the streets of Kharkiv yourself - the Annunciation Cathedral


The questions of our visitors

David asks: How far is it from east Ukraine border to Kharkiv?
Expert's answer:
If you mean the distance from Kharkiv to the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine (parts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions), it is about 260 km. The distance to the Russian border is about 35 km.
John asks: What is the distance from Kharkov to the Russian border?
Expert's answer:
The distance from Kharkov to the Russian border is about 40 km.
Ester asks: Hi, I was always very curious to visit Ukraine and Crimea. Is it safe to visit Kharkov now? Is there any war tension?
Expert's answer:
It is not a good idea to visit Crimea now. As for Kharkov, it is pretty safe to visit it. The conflict zone lies further on the south-east (in more than 300 km from Kharkov).

The comments of our visitors

Lynn
Kharkov
I think this page is very informative, I'm so surprised how beautiful Kharkov is, I imagined so different. I have friends there and I do hope I will be able to visit one day. Thank you!

Anne (Canada)
Kharkiv

What a beautiful city! Gorgeous scenery and the metro stations are unbelievable.

I looked it up as it was in a news story about the President of Ukraine today. I would love to come and visit someday.


Dooey
Kharkov
I visited Kharkov twice already and really enjoyed the city. The first time visiting Kharkov, I was a little scared not knowing the language and the city. After getting to know the city, I felt confident traveling using the Metro by myself. The first visit I celebrated New Year's Day in the city and saw the show at Liberty or Freedom Square. The second visit I went for Euro 2012. It was a wonderful experience both times.

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