Kharkov is the second largest city in Ukraine. It is one of the Ukrainian region centres, rightfully carrying the title of a Ukrainian megalopolis, a giant of the national industry, a big educational and cultural centre, and the biggest transport node of the Country of Ukraine.
The town is situated in the northeastern part of Ukraine, on the border of two landscape belts - forest-steppe and steppe, near the junction of the Lopan and the Udy rivers, which flow into the Seversky Donets.The territory of the town is a slightly rolling plane, grooved with river beds, clefts and valleys. The town sits on five hills and five vales.
Kharkov is situated a long way away from oceans, however the sea air is often brought here with westerly and southwesterly winds, which make its climate temperate continental, with prolonged, but not severe winter, which characteristically has frequent thaws. The summer is warm, sometimes hot. According to the Kharkov meteorological service data collected over many years: the average yearly t° is 6.9°C; the coldest months are January (-7.1°C) and February (-6.7°C); the hottest months are July (20.5°C) and August (19.4°C).
Kharkov’s population number is the second largest in Ukraine, and it is now close to 1.5 millions. The huge level of housing and industrial construction, the increase of Kharkov population, caused by its swift development as an industrial and cultural centre during the Soviet period, have led to a considerable extension of the town borders. Nowadays the town takes up 303 square km. Well-developed town transportation network (the underground, trams, trolley buses, buses, shuttle taxi) makes any part of the town easily accessible.
The town is divided into nine administrative units - districts: Dzerzhinsky, Kiyevsky, Kominternovsky, Leninsky, Moskovsky, Oktyabrsky, Ordzhonikidzevsky, Frunzensky, Chervonozavodsky.
Kharkiv is a big centre of science and culture in Ukraine. There are more than 60 scientific research institutes, more than 170 secondary education schools, more than 150 educational centres and special secondary education schools, the number of private and state higher education institutions has now reached 80. About 20,000 students graduate yearly from Kharkiv higher education institutions. There are 49 cultural centres and institutions, including 5 museums, the city art gallery, and six major theatres. There are more than 80 libraries in the town.
The Kharkiv Osnova International Airport is the international airport that serves the city. Railway trains and electric trains help people move form one city to another. Kharkiv Metro, trolleybuses, taxis, tramways and marshrutkas are the main pubic transportation facilities in the city.
The high-class service and tasteful food are the specific features of Kharkov hotels. Cosmopolit Hotel, Best Eastern Kharkiv Hotel, Airport Hotel, Hotel Mir, Hotel National, Buymerovka Pine-Spa Resort 1936, Chichikov Hotel and Plaza Hotel are the well-known hotels in the city.
The city possesses many sights, which are often visited by tourists from everywhere all around the world.
The Freedom Square is the largest square in Ukraine and the third largest in Europe. The square is approximately 750 meters long and 125 meters wide, it was used to land planes on during the World War II. Nowadays, Freedom Square hosts carnivals, live music concerts, fairs, rallies, meetings, and other events. The central part of the square is occupied by the Gosprom, the Military University, and the building of the Kharkiv National University named after Vasiliy Karazin. A monument to the University founder V. Karazin is located nearby on the side of the Shevchenko City Garden. There is also a monument to Lenin on the square.
The Shevchenko Gardens, located just to the south of The Freedom Square (Ploshcha Svobody), is the oldest green-area in Kharkiv. There is a beautiful chestnut tree alley leading from the Lenin Statue to the Taras Shevchenko Monument. . There is the astronomical observatory of the Kharkov National University on the territory of the Shevchenko Gardens where astronomers study solar processes and monitor planets of the Solar system and satellites. Besides this, there is a Cinema and Concert Hall “Ukraina” situated here, famous for its excellent acoustics.
The Pokrovsky Cathedral, which was built in 1689, is the most ancient religious building in Kharkiv and part of the Svyato-Pokrovsky Monastery. The Cathedral is located west of the Constitution Square and is almost always open for services. Its external decoration has elements of Russian architecture giving evidence of the confluence of Russian and Ukrainian cultures.
The Uspensky Cathedral is located in the central part of the University Hill. The Cathedral was built in 1771-1777 in the Russian Baroque style. The 19th-century bell tower of the Cathedral is the tallest building in Kharkov rising 89.5 meters high. Now the Cathedral serves as a concert hall where you can listen to the prominent performance of chamber and organ music, which is possible thanks to the place’s good acoustics.
The Blagoveschensky Cathedral Cathedral is one of the symbols of Kharkov; it was built in the period from 1888 to 1901. It is the biggest active church in Kharkov with a capacity of 4,000 people. The Cathedral is well-known by its polychromatic facade made of horizontal lines of brickwork alternating with plastered strips, resembling ancient Byzantine buildings. The interior of the Cathedral is beautifully decorated with 29 splendid icons painted by A. Danylevsky and M. Mykhailov.
The Mirror Stream, also known as s Glassy Stream, is a fundamental part of the cityscape of Kharkov. It is a favorite meeting point of couples, as it is believed that lovers who kiss here will have a happy life together. It is located on the Victory Square, opposite the Opera House, and it was built as the Victory Monument in 1947 to commemorate the Soviets’ Victory in the World War II, but a romantic legend says that a lover constructed the fountain in honour of his beloved.
Eating and Drinking in Kharkiv:
In Kharkov, as well as in any large city in Ukraine, you will find many nice restaurants, cafes, and fast foods. Prices are very reasonable; although, there are also some expensive places of course. Some restaurants are the parts of recreation centers, so you will also find entertaining shows, billiards, sauna, and even hotel rooms there. Most restaurants open at 11:00 a.m., and close when the last customer leaves. Tips are usually included in the bill and it is about 5–10% of the total.
You will find lots of good restaurants around Petrovskoho Street, for example, Adriano, which serves Italian food, and Parizh serving French dishes. Other cuisines you may find in the city are European, Uzbek, Caucasian, and East-Asian. Restaurant Pushka is a nice and romantic, though very expensive place. Rafinad is a very original restaurant with great variety of dishes. Zhuly Buly is a cafe with a nice atmosphere and reasonable prices. Cafe Dikan'ka offers good Ukrainian food. Restaurant Metropol is located in front of the Taras Shevchenko monument.
Kharkov is a wonderful place to experience the local cuisine which is unusual and tasty.
Alcoholic drinks in Kharkov are cheap and easy to buy in many stores, kiosks, bars, restaurants, markets, and in specialized shops. In bars and restaurants drinks are more expensive.
The city of Kharkov is an excellent location to seek and buy interesting goods. There are many multilingual seasonal fairs where you can buy exotic traditional handicrafts. There are numerous modern shopping malls and plazas too.
Barbashoya is probably the largest outdoor market in Europe; it is located in northeast part of Kharkov. You will find here lots of goods being sold by people of many nationalities. Here you can buy almost whatever you want by fair prices: food, all kinds of brand-name clothes, jewellery, cosmetics, and other fancy items. Choose carefully, there are lots of fake goods being sold. You will find also lots of stalls and little shops surrounding Barbashoya.
Most shops usually start working at 9.00 a.m. and close at 07.00-08.00 p.m., with a dinner break at 01.00-02.00 p.m. or 02.00-03.00 p.m., generally stores are closed on Mondays.
You can buy beautiful works of art at Sumskaya Street; famous shops on this street include Maestro Gallery, San Marco, and Dibrera.
Kharkov is a home to six major theatres, four of them have the status of academic theatres, being the most famous the Lysenko State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre, which hosted performances of renowned singers and dancers. The theatre season in Kharkov lasts from October to June.
You can acquire a ticket within half an hour before the beginning of the performance; you may also purchase tickets at the ticket offices located at the Radyanska and Istorychnyi Muzey Metro Stations, which are open from 9.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. each day.
If you want your night to be more exciting, don’t worry, Kharkov houses lots of entertainment establishments from cafes, pubs, and bars to nightclubs and cabarets. Most Kharkov night clubs usually play pop and disco music, some clubs also offer shows with guest DJs.
Churchill's is one of the best live music’s clubs in Kharkov. Argus Club works as a casino, bowling, disco, billiard, night club and a coffee house. Split offers varied entertainments, such as restaurant, billiard, etc. Oscar Club is a bar and a dancing club; it is also an eating place. Zhivot Club has become almost a cult, there is always something to discover in Zhivot, and also you can see alternative films on Sundays. Bolero is a night club providing splendid diversion for more than 7 years. Misto is a great entertainment complex, which has a casino, a dance floor, restaurant, bowling alleys and more. Olimp club is another popular entertainment complex.