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Kharkov, Ukraine: Europe's Far East

Kharkov, a city known for its magnificent women


Kharkov (Russian name, the one most commonly used in English and French) or Kharkiv (Ukrainian name) is in Northeastern Ukraine, 413 km southeast of Kiev.

Kharkov is the second largest city in Ukraine, as well as a cultural, scientific and academic hub for the country. It is also a major industrial centre. Kharkov has a population of about 1.5 million. It was the first capital of the Ukrainian SSR from 1917 to 1934.

Compared to Kiev, Kharkov is an extremely calm Ukrainian city. This is part of why the city'€™s visitors appreciate it so much. The risk to your person is low - certainly less than in Europe's largest metropolises.

During the Soviet era, it Kharkov was the third largest academic centre in all of the ex-USSR, after Moscow and St Petersburg. For this reason, you will still encounter highly-educated beautiful young Russian and Ukrainian women on the city streets.

Kharkov'€™s population is roughly 50% Russian and 50% Ukrainian, not to mention a few minorities from other former Soviet Republics. Russian in the native language of nearly all of its inhabitants. The people's mindset however is more Ukrainian than Russian, and so more similar to Western culture.

Kharkov is a multinational, multifaith city. It is home to gorgeous Orthodox churches (St Intercession Monastery and Annunciation Cathedral), the Catholic Dormition Church, and a synagogue. There are a total of 40 working churches and 3 working monasteries in Kharkov. Its seminary reopened in 1996, and 29 Sunday schools are now in operation.

Kharkov has a slightly continental climate. Its winters are cold, and its summers are hot. Snow covers the ground an average of 92 days a year. Rainfall is moderate and relatively uniform throughout the year, with the summer being a little wetter.

In this large metropolitan city, you can find virtually any type of cuisine in the city centre, ranging from Italian pizzas to Japanese sushi by way of American fast food. But for a little local flavour, stop instead in a traditional restaurant and savour a beet-based borscht soup, some blini (little pancakes topped with meat) or syrniki (pancakes garnished with fromage frais, raisins and sour cream).

You can also enjoy modern leisure centres of European standing, encompassing restaurants, casinos, bowling alleys, pool halls and night clubs, as well as trendy cafe serving great food in a pleasant atmosphere with live DJ concerts.

When it comes time to unwind, there are a large number of spas (including Russian saunas or banyas), a water park, a skating rink and even a dolphinarium.

You can visit the city many theatres, the Philharmonic, the Art Museum, the Natural History Museum, or the Historical Museum.

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