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City of beauties: Kharkiv

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

kharkiv ozgur

Kharkiv or in Russian Kharkov, located in the northeast of Ukraine, is the second largest city in the country with a population of over 1.5 million inhabitants. Thanks to the European Football Championship in 2012, which was hosted by Poland and Ukraine, the city has a modern reconstructed airport and the city has Cyrillic and English signs in the city center.

kharkiv airport

How to get Kharkiv?

Kharkiv International Airport (HRK), located 12.5km south-east of city center is the easiest way to arrive the city. There are daily flights to/from Kiev, the capital and two weekly roundtrip flights to Odessa.

fly kharkiv

Although international air traffic is disrupted with the start of last year’s political disruption, life returns normal. Austrian Airlines resumes its flights between Kharkiv and Vienna. From April 2015, daily flights between Kharkiv and Vienna will be operated regularly. Turkey’s Pegasus Airlines already flies between Istanbul and Kharkiv. Currently the flights in HRK are served to/from such countries as: Armenia, Austria, Bulgaria, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Montenegro, Russian Federation, Turkey, UAE (United Arab Emirates).

History of Kharkiv

There are several versions of the appearance of the name of the city as “Kharkiv”. Some of historians think that Kharkiv is a transformed name from Sharukhan, the cumin capital which was located on these lands, the others connect it with the name of the leader of Ukrainian settlers Kharko (Chariton) in the middle of the XVII century. Most of the specialists consider that the city got its name from the river Kharkiv. For the first time this name was mentioned in “The Book of Great Schedule” which was composed in 1627. The name of the river is still a hydronimic enigma.

The city was founded in 1654 and was a major center of Ukrainian culture in the Russian Empire. Kharkiv was the first city in Ukraine to acknowledge Soviet power in December 1917 and became the first capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic until January 1935, after which the capital was relocated to Kiev. Kharkiv is the administrative centre of Kharkiv Oblast and the surrounding Kharkiv district.

Education

Kharkiv is the second biggest educational center in Ukraine and this city is known as the city of students and youth. There are 38 higher educational institutions in Kharkiv, including state and private universities, academies and specialized institutes. About 300 000 students study and live in Kharkiv and about 12 000 out of them are foreign students. Higher education possibilities are very versatile in Kharkiv and students can get bachelor, specialist, master or post-graduate degree training in various fields of studies, such as medicine, engineering, law art etc.

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What to see?

Kharkiv is a major cultural, scientific, educational, transport and industrial center of Ukraine, with 60 scientific institutes, 30 establishments of higher education, 6 museums, 7 theatres and 80 libraries.

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The Freedom (Svobody) Square is the main square of Kharkiv and an architectural landmark. It is the second largest city-center square in Europe and the ninths in the world. It is the place of every possible events such as concerts, demonstrations, fairs, meetings. The total area of the square is 11.9 hectares, the length is from 960 to 750 meters. Two metro stations are located under the square: station Universitet of Saltivska line and Derzhprom of Oleksiivska line. Derzhprom (or Gosprom) is the central object of the round part of the Freedom Square. This architectural landmark was built in 1920s and became the first skyscraper in whole country. From the right side of Gosprom you will see famous old University named after Karazin.

Derzhprom

Derzhprom: Among all city planning decisions made in Kharkiv in 1925-1936, the most interesting one is the ensemble on central Freedom Square. It represents the whole era of Soviet architecture development which is now called the era of constructivism. It had being built from 1926 to 1928. Right after it was built, the building was the highest skyscraper in the USSR and, as some sources state, even in Europe. It still impresses even now: the height of Derzhprom is 63 meters, and together with TV tower installed in 1955 - 108 meters. Useful space is about 60 square meters. Derzhprom building was built as a “floating formwork” and de facto is a one-piece array of concrete. This is why the building is so strong. For example, during German occupation in the World War II when they tried to blow up the building, its monolithic reinforced concrete constructions didn’t even crack.

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The fountain “Zerkal’naya Struya” (The Mirror Stream) is one of the most outstanding architectural constructions in Kharkiv and is under protection of UNESCO. This arbor and fountain is located on Sums'ka street in the Victory park in front of Kharkiv National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre and is considered as the one of the symbols of Kharkiv. It was built in 1947 by architect Korzh in honor of the Victory in World War II. Behind the fountain there is a small park which is very nice to walk in, sit on its benches, have a date or a business meeting. Visit at night, and enjoy the stream of lights illuminating the fountain.

The Monument to Taras Shevchenko is considered as one of the best monuments of Shevchenko in the world. It’s one of the main attractions to see the monument of this outstanding Ukrainian poet and writer, artist Taras Shevchenko. The monument is located in the city center, in the garden that has the same name – Shevchenko Garden. The monument is the original architectural spiral with triangular column with Shevchenko on a pedestal, around which there were placed in a circle 16 frozen in the movement statues, representing the working people in the fight for their rights and freedoms.

Kharkiv Zoo is one of the biggest, oldest and most famous in Ukraine which was founded in 1896. It’s located in the very center of the city in Shevchenko Park. The Zoo occupies the territory of 22 hectares, where 6810 animals of 385 species found their home. Among them 103 species are considered as rare and are under protection. Shevchenko Park also houses city’s most wonderful fountain of Kaskad. This is a very romantic place, especially in summer when the fountain is functioning. The only dolphinarium in Kharkiv – “dolphinarium Nemo” also locates in the Shevchenko Park.

Close to the zoo, at Spusk Passionarii, you may want to walk on the “bridge of lovers”. Maybe it is not so romantic because it is located over a road (not a river), but many lovers of the city follow the tradition to put a lock with their names upon the bridge. Although it is not the bridge of lovers, you will be able to see similar locks on the pedestrian bridge over the river at the city center, near circus.

Children's railway which usually works from May, 1 till October, 31, is one of the most favorite places of young citizens of Kharkiv. Children Small Southern Railway is not only entertaining children and their parents but also serves as a center of education, where future railway workers are brought up. Here school boys and girls have a possibility to learn main railway professions such as conductor, engine-driver's mate, assistant station-master, yard-master and machinist.

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Kharkiv Historical Museum, founded in 1920, is recently renovated. The museum has 4 departments: primitive society, feudalism, capitalism and soviet period. There is rich collection of archeological findings: from settlements of bronze era, of Saltovskiy catacomb burial grounds dated back to VIII-X centuries, set of objects from Donetsk site of ancient settlement. Moreover, the museum has numismatics, ethnographical collections, weapons and flag collections. Outside the museum you will see tank T-34 and four cannons which were used by the Red Army in 1941—1945.

Nearby

Manor Sharovka situated in Kharkov region about 60 km from city. This beautiful manor consists of Sharovsky park, the palace itself, nursery for breeding pheasants, stables, greenhouses, orangery, house of gardener and several outbuildings. Sharovka manor got its final shape when the manor was acquired by a wealthy sugar producer Leopold König in the beginning of XX century. Sharovsky Palace- white stone manor house in the neo-Gothic style, it is located on a hill and is the center of the complex.

Manor Sharovka

The park is the work of well- known landscape architect Georg Kufaldt, the creator of Kadriorg Park in Tallinn. For spectacular prospects in the park he used the height difference up to 32 m. About a hundred species of rare ornamental plants were planted in the park.

During the Soviet times sanatorium for tuberculosis patients was established in the complex, but after it was closed in 2008, restoration work carried out in small volumes.

Berezovskije Vody Resort, founded in 1862, is one of the oldest resorts in Europe. It is the sources of health. “The main natural treatment factor of the resort is the unique spring potable water Berezovskaja. But we use two more valuable mineral waters of the Berezovskij deposit , extracted from the depth holes, for treatment – highly-mineralized iodide-bromine brine and low-mineralized water of the cretaceous layer, and also imported Saki and Slavjansk treatment mud, Boryslavl mineral wax, Poltava bishofite and many others. Exactly this defines the specialization of our Resort: health-resort treatment and early medical rehabilitation of the patients with the diseases of the organs of digestion (gastroenterology), metabolism (endocrinology), kidneys and urinary tract (urology)” says Aleksandr Ivanovich Serdiuk, Head Doctor, MD, Professor.

Churches and Cathedrals

While having tour to Kharkiv you can see and visit Blahovishchensky Cathedral which is the most famous among the numerous memories of Kharkiv. Behind it you can see Uspensky Cathedral Belfry. The Blahovishchensky Cathedral is a place full of decorative splendor — marble, murals, icons and relics combine to awe both the curious and the faithful.

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Another prominent — the five-domed Uspensky (Assumption) Cathedral that dates from 1777. It took only six years to build and decorate it — construction of churches of such a size often took decades, if not centuries. In the 1930s, the Uspensky Cathedral was turned into a concert hall. Opposite to Belfry, the square with the observation platform spreads. Little further Svyato-Pokrovsky Cathedral with golden domes is situated.

Probably the earliest surviving architectural landmark is the Pokrovksy Cathedral that belonged to the Pokrovsky Monastery. It was built in 1689 within the walls of the fortress into which the early settlement had morphed. The cathedral is a fine example of what is called Ukrainian Baroque. Architecturally, it is an eclectic creation — but a very impressive one.

Where to eat?

The city offers a wide choice of cuisines. Besides traditional Ukrainian cuisine, you have a selection of restaurants and cafes offering Italian, Japanese, Russian, European, and Caucasian cuisines.

Puzata Hata

I had my first dining experience in Kharkiv at The Puzata Hata. Since that time, whenever I visit Kharkiv, I dine here at least one time. Founded in 2003, Puzata Hata is the largest chain of colorful Ukrainian cuisine restaurants found in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and in Ukraine’s other major cities. Here you will be able to taste choices of Ukrainian cuisine. Puzata Hata offers delicious high quality dishes at reasonable prices. It locates at 2 Sumskaya St., opposite to the Kharkiv Historical Museum. Ukrainian borsch soup, Chicken Kiev or kiyevski, Vareniki, pancakes are just some of those famous Ukrainian dishes you can eat here. For more information, http://www.puzatahata.com.ua/

il tartufo

Osteria Il Tartufo, listed as the number one restaurant in Kharkiv at TripAdvisor, is a great place to eat Italian food. I was lucky enough to meet its Italian chef Salvatore who served us their specialty dish of homemade pasta with truffle. It is not so big place, better to reserve your table before. Although it says Osteria; Italians use this term for a place serving wine and simple food, it is not such a simple place. It is a fine dining restaurant. For more information, http://iltartufo.com.ua/

IMG 2998Pasta Project & Umami are two restaurants in same location at Dufy shopping center – 3rd floor. As you may understand Pasta Project is another Italian restaurant and Umami is for lovers of Asian cuisine. Each table has its own personal waiter - Electronic Touch Screen, the screen which displays the menu by section, information on upcoming events, festivals and events. Touch Screen - allows to study the menu, see the photos selected dishes and their detailed descriptions. One tap of the screen you send the order directly to the kitchen or bar in the restaurant. In addition, at any time, you can see the amount of the bill or using a special button "to call the waiter." For more information, http://foodgood.com.ua/

Barbaris is the address for European and Asian food. It features ‘After Shopping Café’ format. It was created specifically for fans to shop and just walk around the shopping center and give a break at Barbaris. Dufy, French Boulevard, Magellan shopping centers and "University" metro are the locations of Barbaris. For more information, http://www.barbarisbar.com.ua/

Skiing

You can ski in Kharkiv. Kharkiv Switzerland (Kharkovskaya Shveytsariya) is located at the very north of the city. It has 2 track for 300 meters, 2 ski lifts, trails tubing, training slope for beginners. The complex has a ski school for learning to ski and snowboarding for children and adults, extreme park, rental equipment (skis, snowboards, boots - children and adults kits).

switzerland kharkiv

Alpine valley (Alpiyskaya dolina) mountain-ski resort was founded in 2003. It gets covered with an artificial snow in December and the skiing season opens on time regardless of the weather. During summer time the territory of the alpine valley is a great place for nature retreat. Also you can rest in a cozy café, fish, play paintball, make shashlyk etc. It locates in Zmievskoy district, near Borovaya village, in 15 km from the city.

Nightlife

Kharkiv has also the most beautiful women in Ukraine. On January 25 Miami hosted the contest "Miss Universe 2014". Although the winner was a 22-year-old Colombian, 20-year-old Diana Harkusha from Kharkiv is the 2nd Runner-up. She is also selected Miss Ukraine Universe 2014.

Nights in Kharkiv are very alive. You may find those beautiful ladies at Kharkiv’s clubs. Some of those clubs are Misto, Panorama, Bolero, Radmir.

The best way to go to clubs is to take a taxi but it would be great to agree on the price with taxi. Better to have some numbers to order a cab from a taxi company. The ones that you see around may charge double or more.

For city tours, my advice would be walking and taking metro. Metro is the fastest and easiest way of getting around.

Where to stay?

Kharkiv Palace Premier Hotel is a real 5-star hotel of Kharkiv. Click here to book your room.

For all other hotels, click here.

If you prefer to stay not in a hotel and an apartment, you can visit Airbnb.com

Source: kharkovinfo.com, hrk.aero, wikitravel.org

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