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10 Things You Must See in Kharkiv

28. January 2013 by Lorena 0 Comments

Kharkiv is Ukraine’s second-largest city, so, it’s not surprising that a lot of the ladies who use our site live there. Founded in 1654, Kharkiv was, and remains, a significant center of culture, science, education and industry in Ukraine. The city was the first to recognize the Soviet Union, and served as the capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic until 1934, when the capital was moved to Kyiv. 

You may see the city’s name written as “Kharkov” as well as “Kharkiv.” Why the difference? “Kharkov” is the transliteration of the city’s Russian name


1. Kharkiv Zoo

Explore the zoo from the back of a horse-drawn carriage. Treat your sweetie to some ice cream, which can be purchased on nearly every corner in the zoo. Don’t forget to get a treat for the animals, as well. Visitors can buy vegetables and animal feed to give to the animals that live in the zoo. Outside, there is a gorgeous water feature, with water coursing down a series of steps. It’s a great place to sit, chat, and get to know one another.



2. Gorky Park

Part nature park, part amusement park! The largest urban forest in eastern Europe is accessible through the park, for those who wish to get away from the bustle and enjoy nature.


For those who prefer a thrill, there are rollercoasters and other amusement park rides. There are plenty of places to sit down, get a snack, and get to know your new Ukrainian friend.



3. Kharkiv State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre

Kharkiv has long been an important spot for the performing arts in Ukraine. One of the places that epitomize Khrakiv’s cultural history best is the Opera and Ballet Theater.

Consult the calendar to find out what productions are playing while you are there. Performances range from talented child ballet dancers to Russian ballet stars performing works like Don Giovanni. Plus, there are always street performers out front breakdancing, skate boarding or putting on fire dancing shows.

Tickets are inexpensive, which makes a night of culture an affordable indulgence.



4. Botanical Gardens

Impressive flower gardens showcase a single type of flower at a time, to dramatic effect. Thousands of trees rise over the garden. Paths wind through displays of medicinal herbs, ornamental plants and wild flowers. 

Get cozy together in one of the cable cars that float above the park, giving you and your love a breathtaking view. If it’s chilly, head indoors to be immediately transported to lush tropics, or dry, warm desert.




5. Mirror Stream fountain


If you want a quiet and gorgeous place to sit and get to know one another, you can’t go wrong with the park that features the Mirror Stream fountain. Built in 1947, the fountain commemorates Ukraine’s victory against German invaders in World War II. The park is located on Sumska Street, across from the Opera Theater.



6. Kharkiv History Museum

The Kharkiv History Museum has exhibits depicting different eras of Kharkiv history. The museum is divided into four sections: primitive history, feudalism, capitalism and Soviet history. There are archeological artifacts from the Bronze age, and catacombs that date back to the ninth century. Previous visitors say that the World War II exhibits are especially informative.


The museum is a snap to get to; located in the city center, it’s easily accessible by Metro. The museum even has its own station. There is also a gorgeous monastery across the street that online travel reviewers say is worth a visit.


7. Kharkiv Circus

Looking for a whimsical good time? Take your favorite Kharkiv lady to the circus.


Circuses have been popular entertainment in the FSU for centuries. In 1826, the first Italian circus came to St. Petersburg. Tsar Nicolai, as a fan of the arts, was impressed with the artistry of the equestrians and the skills of the gymnasts. In 1847, the world’s first circus school was established, housed in St. Petersburg’s Imperial Theater. Soon, uniquely Russian performers began to graduate from the school and engage in their artistic craft.


Kharkiv’s resident circus has performed since 1930. At some point in time, all of the FSU’s best circus performers have appeared there. Attractions include daring acrobats, talented performing animals, and capering clowns. As a bonus, a trip to the circus is also an inexpensive date – tickets cost as little as 20 UAH (about $2.50 US). Before or after the performance, take a picture of you, your date and one of the performers or animals for a unique souvenir. 



8. Kharkiv Dolphinarium

Dolphins in northern Ukraine? Absolutely, if you visit the Kharkiv Dolphinarium. The dolphinarium is one of several established throughout the country to educate people about coastal Ukraine’s marine life. Seals, sea lions and dolphins put on shows. And, you can spend time in the water yourself swimming with the dolphins.


On the weekends, there is a nighttime dolphin show that visitors say is truly spectacular. The entire dolphinarium is enclosed in a large cupola which is invitingly warm during the harsh Kharkiv winters.





9. Kharkiv Art Museum

The Kharkiv Art Museum is a fantastic resource for anyone interested in the art and history of Ukraine. The museum has exhibits dedicated to pre-revolutionary Ukrainian and Russian art, Soviet era work, applied art and decorative art. The collection includes many examples of Ukrainian folk art, and even a small international collection. There is a collection of work by Serhii Vasylkivsky, who brought the Impressionist movement to Ukraine, and also of Ukrainian master Volodymyr Borovykovsky.


During its history, the museum has seen many changes, and even its share of controversy. The first Kharkiv Art Museum was founded in 1805 as part of the Kharkiv National University. The museum came to its present location in 1920. The collection originally contained only religious art. It has gone through a number of name changes over the years. At one point in the 1930s, Ukrainian avant garde work was censored by the museum; the museum closed completely for a period of time during World War II. 



10. State Natural History Museum of V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University

The State Natural History Museum is one of Ukraine’s oldest. When the university was founded, the administration sent word throughout the continent that they were collecting items for natural history education. Fossils, stuffed animals, insects, skeletons, coral, mollusks and other antiquities arrived from all over. Now, the museum is divided into four sections – Geological, the Invertebrates, the Vertebrates, Organic World Evolution and Nature Conservation – spread through 23 rooms that contain over 250,000 specimens. The museum has several dioramas with visual and audio effects, along with displays in rich cherry wood cases.


About 40,000 visitors go the museum each year. It also serves as an educational facility for students at the university. Classes are taught there, scientists and researchers get assistance, and the museum provides space for traveling exhibits.