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Kharkov facts for kids

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City of regional significance
Counterclockwise: Assumption Cathedral (big image), Kharkiv city council, National University of Kharkiv, Taras Shevchenko monument, Kharkiv Railway station, Derzhprom
Counterclockwise: Assumption Cathedral (big image), Kharkiv city council, National University of Kharkiv, Taras Shevchenko monument, Kharkiv Railway station, Derzhprom
Flag of Kharkiv
Coat of arms of Kharkiv
Coat of arms
The First Capital, Smart City
Kharkiv is located in Kharkiv Oblast
Location in Kharkiv Oblast
Kharkiv is located in Ukraine
Location in Ukraine
Country  Ukraine
Oblast  Kharkiv Oblast
Municipality Kharkiv City Municipality
Founded 1654
 • City of regional significance 350 km2 (140 sq mi)
152 m (499 ft)
 • City of regional significance 1,439,036 Decrease
 • Density 4,500/km2 (12,000/sq mi)
 • Metro
Demonym(s) Kharkivite
Time zone UTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+3 (EEST)

Kharkiv, also known as Kharkov, is the second-largest city in Ukraine. In the northeast of the country, it is the largest city of the Slobozhanshchyna historical region. The city was founded in 1654 and after a humble beginning as a small fortress grew to be a major centre of Ukrainian industry, trade and culture in the Russian Empire.

Kharkiv was the first capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, from December 1919 to January 1934, after which the capital relocated to Kiev. Presently, Kharkiv is a major cultural, scientific, educational, transport and industrial centre of Ukraine, with numerous museums, theatres and libraries.

Its industry specializes primarily in machinery and in electronics. There are hundreds of industrial companies in the city, including the Morozov Design Bureau and the Malyshev Tank Factory (leaders in world tank production from the 1930s to the 1980s); Khartron (aerospace and nuclear power plants automation electronics); the Turboatom (turbines for hydro-, thermal- and nuclear-power plants), and Antonov (the multipurpose aircraft manufacturing plant).

There is an underground rapid-transit system (metro) with about 35 km (22 mi) of track and 28 stations. A well-known landmark of Kharkiv is the Freedom Square (Maidan Svobody formally formerly known as Dzerzhinsky Square), which is currently the third largest city square in Europe, and the 7th largest square in the world.


19th-century view of Kharkiv, with the Assumption Cathedral bell tower

Archeological evidence discovered in the area of present-day Kharkiv indicates that a local population has existed in that area since the 2nd millennium BC. Cultural artifacts date back to the Bronze Age, as well as those of later Scythian and Sarmatian settlers. There is also evidence that the Chernyakhov culture flourished in the area from the 2nd to the 6th century.

Founded in the middle of 17th century by a Ukrainian cossack called Kharko, the city has had a university since 1805. During the early years of the Soviet Union, Bolsheviks established Kharkiv as the capital of the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic (from 1917–1934) in opposition to the Ukrainian Peoples Republic with its capital of Kiev.

23 August Lane Kharkov
Memorial to 23 August 1943, the end of German occupation during World War II

During World War II, Kharkiv was the site of several military engagements. The city was captured by Nazi Germany and its military allies on 24 October 1941; there was a disastrous Red Army offensive that failed to capture the city in May 1942; the city was successfully retaken by the Soviets on 16 February 1943, captured for a second time by the Germans on 16 March 1943 and then finally liberated on 23 August 1943.

Seventy percent of the city was destroyed and tens of thousands of the inhabitants were killed. Kharkiv, the third largest city in the Soviet Union, was the most populous city in the Soviet Union captured by Nazis.

Before the occupation, Kharkiv's tank industries were evacuated to the Urals with all their equipment, and became the heart of Red Army's tank programs (particularly, producing the legendary T-34 tank earlier designed in Kharkiv). These enterprises were returned after the war, and continue to produce some of the world's best tanks. Kharkiv was the third largest scientific-industrial center in the former USSR (after Moscow and Leningrad).


Old steam mill - Kharkiv 01
Old steam mill - Kharkiv

During the Soviet era Kharkiv was the capital of industrial production in Ukraine and one of the largest centres of industry and commerce in the USSR. After the collapse of the Soviet Union the largely defence-systems-oriented industrial production of the city decreased significantly. In the early 2000s the industry started to recover, now there are more than 380 industrial enterprises concentrated in the city, which have a total number of 150,000 employees.

Char T-34
The T-34 used in World War II and many others was produced at the Malyshev factory

Industrial giants, such as Turboatom and Elektrotyazhmash own 17% of the heavy power equipment construction (e.g., turbines) market worldwide. Multipurpose aircraft are produced by the Antonov aircraft manufacturing plant. The Malyshev factory produces not only armoured fighting vehicles, but also harvesters.

Hartron is the leading designer of space and commercial control systems in Ukraine and the former CIS.


Historical population
Year Pop.
1660 1,000
1788 10,742
1850 41,861
1861 50,301
1901 198,273
1916 352,300
1917 382,000
1920 285,000
1926 417,000
1939 833,000
1941 902,312
1941 1,400,000
1941 456,639
1943 170,000
1959 930,000
1962 1,000,000
1976 1,384,000
1982 1,500,000
1989 1,593,970
1999 1,510,200
2001 1,470,900
2014 1,430,885

According to the 1989 Soviet Union Census, the population of the city was 1,593,970. In 1991, it decreased to 1,510,200, including 1,494,200 permanent residents. Kharkiv is the second-largest city in Ukraine after the capital, Kyiv. The first independent all-Ukrainian population census was conducted in December 2001, and the next all-Ukrainian population census is decreed to be conducted in 2020. As of 2001, the population of the Kharkiv region is as follows: 78.5% living in urban areas, and 21.5% living in rural areas.


Ethnic group 1897 1926 1939 1959 1989 2001
Ukrainians 25.9% 38.6% 48.5% 48.4% 50.4% 62.8%
Russians 63.2% 37.2% 32.9% 40.4% 43.6% 33.2%
Jews 5.7% 19.5% 15.6% 8.7% 3.0% 0.7%


Dormition Cathedral, Kharkiv - 04
The Assumption or Dormition Cathedral.
Blagoveschensky Cathedral - 01
The St. Annunciation Orthodox Cathedral is one of the tallest Orthodox churches in the world. It was completed on 2 October 1888.

Kharkiv is an important religious centre in Eastern Ukraine.

There are many old and new religious buildings, associated with various denominations in Kharkiv. The St. Assumption Orthodox Cathedral was built in Kharkiv in the 1680s and re-built in 1820s-1830s. The St. Trinity Orthodox Church was built in Kharkiv in 1758–1764 and re-built in 1857–1861. The St. Annunciation Orthodox Cathedral, one of the tallest Orthodox churches in the world, was completed in Kharkiv on 2 October 1888.

Recently built churches include the St. Valentine Orthodox Church and the St. Tamara Orthodox Church.

Kharkiv's Jewish population is estimated to be around 8,000 people. It is served by the old Kharkiv Choral Synagogue, which was fully renovated in Kharkiv in 1991–2016.

There are two mosques including the Kharkiv Cathedral Mosque and one Islamic center in Kharkiv.

Science and Education

Kharkiv National University of Radioelectronics 01
Kharkiv National University of Radioelectronics

Kharkiv is one of the most prolific centres of higher education and research of Eastern Europe. The city has 13 national universities and numerous professional, technical and private higher education institutions, offering its students a wide range of disciplines. Kharkiv National University , National Technical University, Kharkiv National Aerospace University are the leading universities in Ukraine.

The city has a high concentration of research institutions, which connected are with the universities. In addition to the libraries affiliated with the various universities and research institutions, the Kharkiv State Scientific V. Korolenko-library is a major research library.


Kharkiv is one of the main cultural centres in Ukraine. It is home to 20 museums, over 10 theatres and a number of art galleries. Large music and cinema festivals are hosted in Kharkiv almost every year.


Драматичний театр
The Kharkiv Ukrainian Drama Theatre

The Kharkiv National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre named after N. V. Lysenko is the biggest theatre in Kharkiv.

Kharkiv Ukrainian Drama Theatre named after T. G. Shevchenko is popular among Ukrainian speaking people

The Kharkiv Academic Russian Drama Theatre named after A.S. Pushkin was recently renovated, and it is quite popular among locals.

The Kharkiv Theatre of the Young Spectator (now the Theatre for Children and Youth) is one of the oldest theatres for children.

The Kharkiv Puppet Theatre (The Kharkiv State Academic Puppet Theatre named after VA Afanasyev) is the first puppet theatre in the territory of Kharkiv. It was created in 1935.

The Kharkiv Academic Theatre of Musical Comedy is a theatre founded on 1 November 1929 in Kharkiv.


Pushkin Theater in Kharkіv (08)
The Kharkiv Academic Drama Theatre

In the 1930s Kharkiv was referred to as a Literary Klondike. It was the centre for the work of literary figures such as: Les Kurbas, Mykola Kulish, Mykola Khvylovy, Mykola Zerov, Valerian Pidmohylny, Pavlo Filipovych, Marko Voronny, Oleksa Slisarenko. Over 100 of these writers were repressed during the Stalinist purges of the 1930s. This tragic event in Ukrainian history is called the "Executed Renaissance" (Rozstrilene vidrodzhennia). Today, a literary museum located on Frunze Street marks their work and achievements.

Today, Kharkiv is often referred to as the "capital city" of Ukrainian science fiction and fantasy. It is home to a number of popular writers, such as H. L. Oldie, Alexander Zorich, Andrey Dashkov, Yuri Nikitin and Andrey Valentinov; most of them write in Russian and are popular in both Russia and Ukraine. The annual science fiction convention "Star Bridge" (Звёздный мост) has been held in Kharkiv since 1999.


Academic Chorus of Kharkov Philharmonic
Academic choir of Kharkiv Philharmonic named after V. Palkin and chief leader of choir, prize winner of the all-Ukrainian choir masters contest, Andriy Syrotenko.

There is the Kharkiv Philharmonic Society in the city. The leading group active in the Philharmonic is the Academic Symphony Orchestra. It has 100 musicians of a high professional level, many of whom are prize-winners in international and national competitions.

There is the Organ Music Hall in the city. The Organ Music Hall is situated at the Assumption Cathedral presently. The Rieger–Kloss organ was installed in the building of the Organ Music Hall back in 1986. The new Organ Music Hall will be opened at the extensively renovated building of Kharkiv Philharmonic Society in Kharkiv in November 2016.

The Kharkiv Conservatory is in the city.

The Kharkiv National University of Arts named after I.P. Kotlyarevsky is situated in the city.

Kharkiv sponsors the prestigious Hnat Khotkevych International Music Competition of Performers of Ukrainian Folk Instruments, which takes place every three years. Since 1997 four tri-annual competitions have taken place. The 2010 competition was cancelled by the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture two days before its opening.

The music festival: "Kharkiv - City of Kind Hopes" is conducted in Kharkiv.

From Kharkiv comes also black metal band Drudkh.


From 1907 to 2008, at least 86 feature films were shot in the city's territory and its region. The most famous is Fragment of an Empire (1929). Arriving in Leningrad, the main character, in addition to the usual pre-revolutionary buildings, sees the Gosprom - a symbol of a new era.

Film festivals

The Kharkiv Lilacs international film festival is very popular among movie stars, makers and producers in Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Western Europe and North America.

The annual festival is usually conducted in May.

There is a special alley with metal hand prints by popular movies actors at Shevchenko park in Kharkiv.

Visual arts

Kharkiv has been a home for many famous painters, including Ilya Repin, Zinaida Serebryakova, Henryk Siemiradzki, and Vasyl Yermilov. There are many modern arts galleries in the city: the Yermilov Centre, Lilacs Gallery, the Kharkiv Art Museum, the Kharkiv Municipal Gallery, the AC Gallery, Palladium Gallery, the Semiradsky Gallery, AVEK Gallery, and Arts of Slobozhanshyna Gallery among others.


Вид на будівлю Харківського історичного музею з майдану Конституції
M. F. Sumtsov Kharkiv Historical Museum
Art Museum
Railway museum in Kharkiv 02
Railway museum in Kharkiv

There are around 147 museums in the Kharkiv's region. Museums in the city include:

  • The M. F. Sumtsov Kharkiv Historical Museum
  • The Natural History Museum at V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University was founded in Kharkiv on 2 April 1807. The museum is visited by 40000 visitors every year.
  • The V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University History Museum was established in Kharkiv in 1972.
  • The V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University Archeology Museum was founded in Kharkiv on 20 March 1998.
  • The National Technical University "Kharkiv Polytechnical Institute" Museum was created in Kharkiv on 29 December 1972.
  • The National Aerospace University "Kharkiv Aviation Institute" Museum was founded on 29 May 1992.
  • The "National University of Pharmacy" Museum was founded in Kharkiv on 15 September 2010.
  • The Kharkiv Maritime Museum - a museum dedicated to the history of shipbuilding and navigation.
  • The Kharkiv Puppet Museum is the oldest museum of dolls in Ukraine.
  • Memorial museum-apartment of the family Grizodubov.
  • Club-Museum of Claudia Shulzhenko.
  • The Museum of "First Aid".
  • The Museum of Urban Transport.
  • The Museum of Sexual Cultures.


Of the many attractions of the Kharkiv city are the: Dormition Cathedral, Annunciation Cathedral, Derzhprom building, Freedom Square, Taras Shevchenko Monument, Mirror Stream, Historical Museum, Choral Synagogue, T. Shevchenko Gardens, Zoo, Children's narrow-gauge railroad, World War I Tank Mk V, Memorial Complex, and many more.

After the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea the monument to Petro Konashevych-Sahaidachny in Sevastopol was removed and handed over to Kharkiv.


Altana - Kharkiv Gorky Park
Gorky park is one of the main family attractions in Kharkiv.
Shevchenko Garden, Kharkiv 2020 -07
Fountains in Taras Shevchenko's garden

Kharkiv contains numerous parks and gardens such as the Gor'ky park, Shevchenko park, Hydro park, Strelka park, Sarzhyn Yar and Feldman ecopark. The Gor'ky park is a common place for recreation activities among visitors and local people. The Shevchenko park is situated in close proximity to the V.N. Karazin National University. It is also a common place for recreation activities among the students, professors, locals and foreigners.

The Ecopark is situated at circle highway around Kharkiv. It attracts kids, parents, students, professors, locals and foreigners to undertake recreation activities. Sarzhyn Yar is a natural ravine three minutes walk from "Botanichniy Sad" station. It is an old girder that now - is a modern park zone more than 12 km length. There is also a mineral water source with cupel and a sporting court.


Kharkov Freedom Square
Kharkov Freedom Square

Some of the many tourist attractions of the Kharkiv city include the: Derzhprom building, Memorial Complex, Freedom Square, Taras Shevchenko Monument, Mirror Stream, Dormition Cathedral, Militia Museum, Intercession Cathedral, T. Shevchenko Gardens, Annunciation Cathedral and the Children's narrow-gauge railroad.

Kharkov is the unofficial capital of Ukrainian Science fiction and Fantasy. It is the home to popular writers like H. L. Oldie, Alexander Zorich, Yuri Nikitin and Andrey Valentinov. Annual science fiction convention "Star Bridge" has been held in Kharkiv since 1999.

Notable people

Nobel and Fields prize winners

Images for kids

See also

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