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About Kharkov


The features of the old Kharkov and those of today's city merge into a unique picture created by the specific architecture of its buildings, squares and streets. The most treasured pieces of architecture are in the central part of the city. In the monastery yard there stands the three-cupola Pokrovsky cathedral, the oldest stone building of the city. Not far from it there stands the renowned Uspensky cathedral built in the Russian baroque style with the iconostasis designed by Bartholomew Rastrelli. No less beautiful and attractive is the Blagoveschensky cathedral with its alternating strips of red brick and white plaster that remind one of old-Byzantine temples. The famous monument to the Great Kobzar, Taras Shevchenko, belongs to the Soviet period. One of the most widely known Kharkov edifices built in the constructionist style is the Gosprom (the House of State Industry). It was the first multi-storey building of in-situ reinforce concrete erected in the USSR. The architecture of historical Kharkov integrally merges with its modern administrative buildings, cultural, educational and shopping centers which all form a unique ensemble of the city.

Blagoveschensky Cathedral: the main Orthodox Church of Kharkov.

Pokrovsky Cathedral

Uspensky Cathedral

Gosprom (the House of State Industry) and the Square of Independence - the biggest square in Europe.

Monument to the Great Kobzar, Taras Shevchenko


  Kharkov is one of the largest centers of Ukrainian industry. Among the cities of the ex-USSR it is only second after Moscow and St. Petersburg. There are 249 big industrial enterprises in the city. The leading role in the structure of its industrial potential belongs to mechanical engineering and metalworking, electrical power engineering, and production of construction materials. Chemical, printing and woodworking industries are also well developed. The city has a high-capacity base for civil engineering. The products of Kharkov enterprises are well known in Ukraine and abroad. They are tractors and turbines, jet planes and automated machine tools, electrical motors and engines for agricultural machinery, TV-sets and electrical devices, medical equipment and pharmaceuticals. Specialists from Kharkov have greatly contributed to rocket engineering and exploration of space. The control systems for carrier rockets and space vehicles as well as several generations of rocket systems developed by researchers and engineering specialists from Kharkov are well known in the world. The systems constitute the basis of the national space program. In the city there are a number of light industry enterprises (textile, knitted fabric, tailoring, etc.).

Science and Education

    The research and development potential of the city is represented by its research and design institutes and design offices. In Kharkov there is the biggest regional center of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. Over 150 institutions of Kharkov deal with science and research work. Fundamental research scientific schools of Kharkov are the leading ones in the country. Investigations of Kharkov scientists in the field of solid-state physics, cryobiology and cryomedicine, radio electronics and radio physics, crystal synthesis, low temperature physics, genetics and selection are known all over the word. Specialists of various fields are trained in Kharkov at 24 state educational institutions including 6 academies and 10 universities. Such institutions as Kharkov State University (renamed recently into Kharkov National University), State Law Academy, Kharkov Technical University of Radio Electronics, Engineering and Pedagogic Academy are widely known and respected. There is also a growing number of non-state educational institutions. The city has more than 200 schools, lyceums and colleges.

Kharkov State University (renamed recently into Kharkov National University)

The history of the city of Kharkov

1654 - That year is considered as the year of foundation of Kharkov. What is the origin of the city's name? There is a legend about it. Long ago, there was a farmstead of a rich peasant in this place. His name was Khariton, but people called him Kharko, and the place where he lived was called Kharkov (it means Kharko's) farmstead. After that the whole place was named Kharkov. But most probably, the city received its name after the river Kharkov, which is flowing through it. The other river, which is flowing through Kharkov, is the Lopan. A settlement was organized in the place where both rivers flow together. The first settlers were Ukrainian peasants and Cossacks. This place was well protected. From three sides there were swampy banks and from the fourth side a vast forest backed it.
1655 - The first written document about the city was "The Name list of the citizens of Kharkov". It included 587 grown-ups who served in Kharkov Cossack regiment.
1656 - There appeared an edict of Russian tsar Alexei Mikhailovich about Kharkov. Voin Selifontov was assigned to Kharkov as the leader of local administration.
1659 - Kharkov fortress for defense against the Crimean Tatars was built. A double oak wall 1 km long, with ten towers, a deep moat and rampart surrounded the town. Two underground passages to the rivers Kharkov and Lopan were made from the center of the fortress.
1665-1680 - The suburbs Zalopansky, Goncharovsky, Panasovka and others appeared around the fortress. Handicrafts such as pottery, leather-processing, shoemaking, the work of blacksmiths were developed in these suburbs.
1689 - The Pokrovsky Cathedral was built. It is the oldest stone building in Kharkov, which is in the safety now. It was built in Ukrainian style and used as a watchtower.
1724 - There were 61 streets and 1,301 houses in the city.
1726 - Slavonic-Greek-Latin school moved to Kharkov from Belgorod. It was transformed in Kharkov Collegium in 1727. The Collegium became a center of the education in the Eastern Ukraine. Famous Ukrainian poet, philosopher and humanist G.S. Skovoroda taught there.
1761 - A library was opened in Kharkov Collegium. It was the first library in Kharkov. Nine brick factories, four brewery factories worked in Kharkov at that time.
1768 - A public specialized school for noblemen's children was opened in Kharkov Collegium. Such subjects as mathematics, drawing, artillery, languages were taught.
1775 - The first printing house was opened in the city.
1791-1796 - The first theatre was working in the city.
1794 - Kharkov had the area of 20 sq.km. Its extension was 6 km from north to south, and 11km from west to east. There were 1,807 houses and 11,000 inhabitants.
1796 - Kharkov became a center of the Slobodskaya Ukraina province.
1805 - Kharkov Imperial University was opened on the 17th of January. It was opened by the famous scholar and educator Vasiliy Karazin.
1812 - The institute of noble girls was opened thanks to G.F. Kvitka-Osnov'yanenko. The first Kharkov newspaper "Weekly" was started.
1855- 17 factories and a lot of enterprises were working in Kharkov.
1861 -50,301 inhabitants lived in Kharkov.
1869 - The railroad was built in Kharkov. The first train arrived in Kharkov on the 22nd of May. The Alexander City Hospital was opened.
1872 - The opera house was opened. The first gas lightings appeared on the central streets and squares of the city.
1881 - The first water supply line was opened.
1886 - The city public library was opened. Now it is Korolenko scientific library. It was founded by the public funds. At first there were 1,700 books. In 1901, the present day building of the library was built after the project of A.N. Beketov. A city industrial art museum was opened. Now it is the Museum of History.
1897 - The first electric power station with 400-kilowatt power generator was built.
1906 - The first electric tram was put into operation.
1917 - The population of Kharkov was 382,000 people. The Soviet government was created here after the October's upheaval.
1917-1919 - There was a civil war in the former Russian empire. The city was captured by the Red army (Russian communists), White army (Russian monarchists) and Directory army (Ukrainian national army, which fought for the independence of Ukraine). The Russian communists won this war.
1919-1934 - Kharkov became a capital of Soviet Ukraine. At that time there was a great anti-religious propaganda. Many churches were destroyed In Kharkov. For example, today there is a small park "Zerkalnaya struya" (mirror stream) opposite the new opera house. Before, there was the Nikolsky Cathedral, where the notable citizens of Kharkov were buried. The Pokrovsky cathedral was turned to a storehouse. There was a cinema in the Polish-Roman-Catholic church.
1930 - Kharkov airport was built. In May, the construction of Kharkov Tractor Industry started. 23 higher educational institutions with 27,000 students were working.
1932-1933 - In Ukraine, a famine was organized by I.V. Stalin and his subordinates. They wanted to kill rich peasants and to drive others in the Kolkhozs (Communist collective farms). In those years, from 5 to 11 millions people died. Many peasants went to Kharkov in order to save themselves, but most of them died.
1937-1938 – In the U.S.S.R, there were the years of repressions. A lot of innocent citizens were arrested. One part of them was shot, other died in the hard labor camps in Siberia and in the north of Russia. Just few of them returned home 10-20 years later.
1939 - The first trolleybus line was built. The population of Kharkov was 833,000 people.
1940 - 46 Research Institutes worked in Kharkov. There were 36 higher educational institutions with 42,000 students. There were 14 theatres, 304 libraries.
1941 - The Soviet-German war began. On the 20th of October the city was captured by the German Nazis. In 1942-1943, the city was captured twice by the Soviet Army and twice by the German Nazis.
1943 – On the 23rd of August the city was finally liberated from the Germans by the Soviet Army. 70% of the city was destroyed; more than 50,000 inhabitants were killed or died of hunger.
1945 - The population of the city was 453,000 people. The city industry reached the level of 1940 only in 1950.
1955 - TV broadcasting station began operating.
1957 - The Kharkov planetarium was opened.
1959 - The population of Kharkov was 930,000 people.
1962 - One-millionth inhabitant was born. 727 trams, 204 trolleybuses, 270 buses worked in the city. There were 18 bus lines.
1967 - The Kharkov Tractor Industry produced one-millionth tractor.
1974 - The Kharkov Circus was built. It had 2,300 seats.
1975 - The first line of metro was opened. There were eight stations.
1976 - There were 21 higher educational institutions with 127,000 students, 193 schools with 167,000 children, 6 theaters, 3 publishing houses, 21 cinemas, 900 libraries, 3 museums, and 65 hospitals. The population of Kharkov was 1,428,000 people.
1991 - When the U.S.S.R. disintegrated, Kharkov found itself in the new state - Ukraine.
1995 - The third line of metro was opened.

Kharkov metro

Kharkov Train Station at night

Constitution Square

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