Monday, 23 May 2016

Kharkiv – the Eastern capital of Ukraine

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One of Kharkivs main symbols – the fountain of the mirror beam. One of Kharkivs main symbols – the fountain of the mirror beam. Photo: Nataliya Pecherska.

Kharkiv – one of the largest cities in Ukraine, which is located in the northeastern part of the country.

Kharkiv – the city with more than 360 years of history, which harmoniously coexists the unique historic architecture and the modern metropolis inovation style. The capital of the Kharkiv region is among the largest cities in Ukraine.

The town stands on the "four pillars" – Udy, Lopan, Kharkiv and Nemyshlya rivers.

Geographical location

Kharkiv is located in the northeastern part of the country – 470 km from Kyiv and 40 km from the Russian border. The city covers an area of 320 square kilometers and is the second in a series of the largest cities in Ukraine.

The capital's ambition

In fact, from 1919-1934, Kharkiv was the capital. But not the capital of Ukraine, but the capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (Ukrainian SSR) created and led by the Bolsheviks. The first capital of Ukraine (then the Ukrainian People's Republic, UFR) in 1917 was, as now, Kyiv. Although many Ukrainians still with some pride call Kharkiv «the first capital».

Population: The seventeenth largest city in Europe

Kharkiv is the second largest city in Ukraine and seventeenth in Europe in terms of total population – 1.5 million people. The city is home to more than 80 nationalities –  Ukrainians (70.7 %), Russians (25.6 %), Belarusians (0.5 %), Jews (0.4 %), Armenians (0.4 %) and others.

Transportation options

The city has an extensive network of public transport – trolleybuses, buses, taxis, trams. Since 1975 there has been Kharkiv Metro, which consists of three lines with a total length of almost 40 km. In the city there is also International Airport Kharkiv located.

curiousua com Ukraine Kharkiv Railway Station photo Nataliya Slynko

Railway Station.


The city includes nearly 400 industrial companies. The leading industries are mechanical engineering, metallurgical, electrical energy. The best-known industrial giants are Kharkiv Tractor Company, Kharkiv Malyshev Plant (military industrial enterprises), Kharkiv State Aviation Enterprise, Scientific Production Association «HARTRON» (space and nuclear electronics), turbine manufacturer «Turboatom» (steam and water turbines), Kharkiv Electrical Engineering Factory «Ukrelectromash» and others.

Science and education

Not surprisingly Kharkiv is also called a student city. After all, in the former capital 69 universities with an enrollment of about 200,000 students, including 12,000 students from abroad are concentrated. Of higher education institutions there are Kharkivs National University of Karazin, Kharkivs Polytechnic University, Kharkiv National University of Radio Electronics, Aviation University, National Law Academy of Yaroslav Mudry.

curiousua com Ukraine Kharkiv Monument of Independence photo Nataliya Slynko

Monument of Independence.

Kharkiv's culturel life

Kharkiv – one of the largest cultural centers of Ukraine. The city has rich cultural traditions. There are 6 state theaters and 19 non-governmental theater associations, seven public and 13 private museums, 8 art galleries, 80 libraries. The real stars in the cultural life of the city is Kharkiv National Opera and Ballet Theatre of Lysenko (HATOB), Kharkiv State Academy of Ukrainian Drama Theatre of Taras Shevchenko, Kharkiv State Academy of the Russian Drama Theatre of Pushkin, Kharkiv Historical Museum, Kharkiv Art Museum, Gallery «AVEC» Cultural Center of Nicholas Roerich, Center for Contemporary Art «Ermilovtsentr» and of course Kharkiv State Scientific Library of Korolenko.

Ukraine Kharkiv Opera and Ballet Theatre photo Nataliya Pecherska

Kharkiv National Opera and Ballet Theatre of Lysenko.

Attractions that can not be ignored

«Tourist countdown» in the city can start with the main symbol of Kharkiv, which spreads in the middle of the city with almost 12 hectares – Freedom Square. It has a strange shape: a rectangular upper part of the square adjacent to one of the oldest streets – Sumska, the lower part has a rounded shape, in its center is a park. If one looks at the area of the bird's eye view, one can see that the space has the shape of a pear, or a magic lamp. Freedom Square is the twelfth largest in the world, the sixth in Europe and the largest in Ukraine.

curiousua com Ukraine Kharkiv the beginning of Sumska street Nataliya Slynko

The beginning of Sumska street.

Then when you walk further along the main street in Kharkiv, Sumska, you will meet Central Gorky Park. This green area is the perfect place for a cozy cultural relaxation. There are many attractions, sculptures of children, fountains, dozens of colorful flower beds, various kinds of trees and a lake with permanent residents – ducks and swans, the largest Ferris wheel in Ukraine and a cable car with a length of 1,387 meters.

Also on the street Sumska is another of the city's business cards – the fountain «The mirror Beam» (Dzerkalniy Strumin in Ukrainian). At night it is illuminated by different colors in seconds, so it seems like the rainbow arch. It is a favorite place for Kharkivs residents and guests, as well as a popular place for taking pictures of newly-married couples. The mirror Beam has even got some legends. It is said that if you one night stands under the arches of the glowing dome and formulate a wish, it will come true.

curiousua com Ukraine Kharkiv Gorky park photo Nataliya Slynko

Gorky park.

It is necessary to see the monument to Taras Shevchenko, because it is considered the best among more than 250 monuments of the poet in the world! The sculptors have created a real work of art: a statue of 16 meters surrounded by 16 smaller sculptures, which are the heroes of the written works of Shevchenko.

curiousua com Ukraine Kharkiv Annunciation Cathedral photo Nataliya Slynko

Holy Annunciation Cathedral.

Not less attention should be on cathedrals unique architecture. There are four cathedrals in Kharkiv – three Orthodox and one Roman Catholic. For example, Kharkiv Holy Annunciation Cathedral – the only Orthodox cathedral in the world, which is built in neo-Byzantine style. This cathedral is unusual for the Slavic eyes, but is also attractive to atheists.

A feature of the Cathedral of the Assumption is in its geographical location. The cathedral is located on a hill on the banks of the river Lopan and is visible from any point in the city center. It has a height of 90 meters! Prior to the 21st century, the Cathedral was the tallest building in the city.

By Nataliya Pecherska,
student of Donetsk National University,
journalist line

Translation by Joergen Deleuren

Read 3211 times Last modified on Tuesday, 24 May 2016

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