Kharkov is located to the east of Ukraine, and is the second largest city in Ukraine, both in size and population. Perhaps “second” is not the right definition for Kharkov, because its citizens prefer using “first”, “the biggest” and “the best” when they describe their city. Kharkov is the city of contradictions where cosiness competes with the spirit of the megalopolis and scientific potential competes with business possibilities. In Kharkov, strict constructivism architecture competes with the romantic architecture of the old city center.
We invite you to a little on-line excursion that will definitely make you fall in love with the second largest populated city in Ukraine that is really the first by all the other criteria.
Kharkov was founded in 1654. Traditionally, the foundation of the city is linked with the foundation of the entire region, which used to be called “Wild Field”. This included Poltava, Sumy and other settlements. Together they have formed the Slobozhanshina region. This is named after “sloboda”, which means “small settlements”. Many other cities including Kharkov have been founded by free people at what were at the time barely inhabited places. These people did not feel related to any state so for a long time Kharkov was neither part of Russian Empire nor of Ukraine. In earlier times, Kharkov was a fortress. The city got its brand new status after the foundation of the University.
It is historically important that the founders of Kharkov were not serfs but free people. This fact had a great influence on the mentality, spirit and historical memory of the city.
After the difficult historical events at the beginning of the 20th century, Kharkov became the Capital of Ukraine from 1918 till 1934. In a sense, these years were the catalyst of the striking growth of Kharkov as a political, educational and industrial center. Years later the capital posture is still prominent, and while walking down the city you can still feel the architecture and special spirit of those years.
The striking growth of Kharkov included both territorial expansion and the population growth. The population size has increased dramatically. This was due to a rise in the birthrate and the migration inside the country. Everyday Kharkov has welcomed new citizens.
One of the biggest imprints of the Capital period was the constructivism architecture style, which was formed at that time and was considered innovative. The young capital was а fresh start for many architecture experimenters who have implemented their architectural projects in Kharkov and have formed the new face of the city – simple, laconic and strict. Today's city remains the pearl of this style with a large variety of projects representing these schools of thought.
Gosprom is certainly the symbol of the city and the symbol of this architecture style. Located at the Independence Square that is the biggest in Europe, this magnificent building was the first monolithic concrete skyscraper in the country. This building was advanced for those times, both by architectural and engineering means. Due to a lack of serious technique, builders were bringing in concrete by hand trucks.
This big city has witnessed many love stories and its quiet streets in the old city center are the perfect scenery for romantic walks. Of course the famous fountain “Mirror Stream” is the symbol of Love in Kharkov. This small monument is located in the heart of Kharkov, and contains the famous city love legend. For many decades it has been a perfect background for all wedding photo shoots.
The “Mirror Stream” was built in 1947, and legend says it was a present from one of the city executives to his beloved mistress. The legend tells how the lady had seen a similar gazebo during her vacation in Kislovodsk and fell in love with it. It became the prototype of the “Mirror Stream” in Kharkov.
Kharkov is full of life, both at day time and during the night. There are many theaters, museums and art exhibitions in the city. At night, when the city turns on the lights, the night life begins and night clubs and discos welcome the guests. During the last years the citizens and the guests of the city have fallen in love with the newly renovated Gorky Park. It consists of several zones where you can find amusements, tennis and sport courts, cinema and beautiful alleys.
The History of the park wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Ferris wheel, which is the biggest in Ukraine. You can enjoy a fascinating panoramic view on the city while taking a ride on it. Of course it is especially appealing to see the panorama view of the evening Kharkov when all the city lights are on.
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