A cosmopolitan Ukrainian city
The only way to describe Kharkiv would be cosmopolitan because over the centuries a wide range of ethnic groups have lived between its walls, including Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, Jews, Germans, Armenians, Greek and Latvians. Situated in the heart of eastern Ukraine, Kharkiv was founded in 1654 and has become a major centre of Ukrainian science, industry, culture and education. The city was the first capital of Ukraine for 14 years, from 1919 to 1934, and became a place where famous scientists, engineers and diplomats would meet. It can boast three Nobel prize winners: Lev Landau, Ilya Mechnikov, Simon Kuznets.
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Kharkiv, known also as Kharkov, is not just one of the largest and most populated cities in the country, with 1.5 million inhabitants, but it is also one of the most active in industrial and scientific fields and even in the area of sports - it has numerous gyms, sports fields and stadiums. It is no wonder that many of its citizens have become successful and even won Olympic medals in various disciplines: gymnastics, swimming, volleyball, athletics and cycling.

As a result of its variegated history, it features a wide variety of architectural styles, traditions and ideas, making the city an ideal destination.
The Freedom Square. Photo: Copyright ©, Shutterstock
The Freedom Square in Kharkiv
The city’s principal and rather incredible landmark is Freedom Square (Ploshcha Svobody), one of the largest squares in the world with an area of over 12 hectares, which holds solemn military parades as well as concerts and cultural and political events. Surrounding the square are numerous parks, bustling streets, scenic fountains and various picturesque open-air coffee bars.
The city’s inhabitants have a long tradition of receiving strangers so tourists from every part of the world will always find a warm and friendly welcome.
Thanks to its advantageous position and extensive road and rail network, the city of Kharkiv is connected to areas such as the Crimea, Caucasus, and the ports of the Black Sea and Baltic Sea. It is here we find high technology industries that range from power engineering to the construction of agricultural machines and from electronics to the aerospace industry: even the modern tanks, aircraft and turbines made here are sought-after throughout the world.
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Kharkiv is also known as the city of the seven wonders. In addition to the previously mentioned Freedom Square, other notable landmarks include the monument to Taras Shevchenko, the poet, writer and political figure in the country.
Zerkal’naya Struya Fountain. Photo: Copyright ©, Shutterstock
Zerkal’naya Struya Fountain in Kharkiv
Another must-see attraction is the Zerkal’naya Struya Fountain (The Mirror Stream), an important Kharkiv landmark, which was built in 1947 and is protected by UNESCO.
Instead, the monument that makes the inhabitants most proud is the solemn Gosprom building in Freedom Square, which has the reputation of being the first skyscraper made of reinforced concrete.
Orthodox Cathedral. Photo: Copyright ©, Shutterstock
The churches in Kharkiv
The city also has some very beautiful churches, in particular Pokrovsky Cathedral built in 1689, the Byzantine Cathedral of the Annunciation, the largest in Eastern Europe, and the Church of the Annunciation, monuments that testify the long history of the city and the passion of its inhabitants for art.
Historical museum. Photo: Copyright ©, Shutterstock
The museums of Kharkiv
There are also numerous museums scattered all over, many of which are dedicated to the most prosperous activities of the city, such as the interesting Software and Computer Museum, which traces the history of these technological instruments, or the Museum of History and Technology of the Southern Railway. Visitors interested in art should visit the Kharviv Art Museum, which houses nineteenth and twentieth century Russian and Ukrainian art. Even national figures have their own museums: one to visit, particularly for its atmosphere, is the House of the Russian painter and sculptor Ilya Repin.
The parks in Kharkiv
Among the many attractions in the city to visit is the Dolphinarium Nemo, a delight for all, with unique shows featuring the acrobatics of seals and dolphins to music, where you can also swim and play in the pool with the animals, and which even offers proven therapies with dolphins to strengthen and rehabilitate children with reduced mobility. Remaining on the subject of nature, at the nearby Shevchenko Park children can have fun at the Zoo, the oldest in Ukraine, founded in 1895, which has many rare animal species.
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Lastly, an inviting aroma of sweets will guide visitors to the famous Vedmedyk confectionary shop, decorated in elegant Empire style, the best-known and oldest in the city, which has been open since 1900 and has served celebrities for over one hundred years, including the Tsar of Russia.
Text by Anna Glik
Avion Tourism Magazine
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Tourism Board
Where to sleep in Kharkiv
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Kharkiv is a welcoming city and offers different possibilities for accommodation.
To find the ideal hotel and the best offers you can do a search for the stars but also for districts or landmarks.
Hotels for stars, differentiated by type of services:
Hotels in the districts
Hotels in tourist areas
Hotels near the airport
WHERE TO GO in Kharkiv
Monuments of Kharkiv
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This square is one of Kharkiv’s landmarks and one of the largest squares in the world (almost 12 hectares). The area and surrounding buildings were built at the end of the twenties/thirties of the last century. It features a rectangular-shaped area and a circular area. In the south of the square stand beautiful palaces and the Taras Shevchenko Park. In the circular area lie the three main buildings: Gosprom (Derzhprom), Kharkiv University and the Military University (today Kharkov National University Karazin).
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Situated in front of the Opera Theatre, this fountain was constructed in honour of the victory of the Soviet people in the Great War of Liberation in 1947. It is also one of the landmarks best loved by residents and visited by tourists for its spectacular setting - a romantic place to enjoy particularly at night when lit up with a thousand colours. It is a place loved by newly-weds and tourists for souvenir photos. It is one of the most important monuments in Kharkiv and is protected by UNESCO.
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A beautiful neo-Byzantine style with five domes and a characteristic bell tower of 80 metres. Superb frescoes can be found inside this vast building, which holds up to 4,000 people. It was built between 1889 and 1901 by the local architect Mikhail Lovtsov. 
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Situated on a hill above the banks of the River Lopan, this is the oldest Orthodox church in Ukraine. The very high bell tower was built in honour of Alexander I to celebrate its victory against the army of Napoleon Bonaparte. The inside is very ornate, extremely large and very striking - a typical example of Orthodox places of worship.
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A solemn construction of national importance, it includes various buildings such as a church, the bishop’s palace and seminary. The church was an integral part of the city fortifications and is built in Baroque style with Romanesque and ancient Russian motifs. Inside it houses the mid-seventeenth century Ozeryanska icon of Mother of God to whom inhabitants and tourists turn to give thanks.
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This is an artistic homage to the country’s best loved political figure, which was erected in 1935 and is considered the finest monument in the world dedicated to this man. It is 16.5 metres tall in total, 5.5 metres of which make up the bronze statue. It is situated near the park of the same name.
Museums of Kharkiv
Arranged on four floors, each illustrating different periods and subjects, this musuem houses many Soviet and Ukrainian artists as well as a large exhibition of icons from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries.  
Enthusiasts of this sector should make a visit to this unique museum which follows the history and evolution of these devices from 1930 with the first video games to the present day. It is also interesting for children, who can enjoy a hands-on experience.
This is one of the best and most complete museums in Ukraine, with models of ships and boats of the Soviet army used in the World War and during the Cold War.
Excursions in Kharkiv
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Don’t miss a visit to Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure, a favourite place for families. The Park has 9 amusement areas for all, which range from extreme sport to kids’ games, a Medieval area and French park, as well as a cable car and the largest Ferris Wheel in Ukraine.

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This is oldest zoo in Ukraine, which was founded in 1895, and one of the oldest zoos in Europe. It is found in the heart of the city and has hundreds of protected species that breed in captivity. In 2016, it was renovated and now has an oceanarium.  
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A visit not to be missed for the architecture and cetacean shows to music, worthy of a circus.
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