Kharkiv, the second-largest city in Ukraine, over the centuries of its existence, has absorbed many fragments of various architectural styles. On the streets of the city you can find the luxury of the Baroque, and the severity of modern buildings, and the monumentality of constructivism.
Kharkiv was the first capital of Soviet Ukraine (1919-1934) before Kyiv received its present status. There are quite a few things to see in Kharkiv and I would recommend you spend at least 2 full days when you are visiting Kharkiv.
Get some inspiration with our guide to things to do in Kharkiv.
Sumska Street is the main street in Kharkiv, two large city parks, the Shevchenko Garden and the Gorky Park, the largest square in Europe and the largest forest park in Ukraine, two main city landmarks adjoin the street at once. One of the oldest theaters in Ukraine is located at the beginning of Sumskaya Street. Another theater – Opera theater is located in the middle. The beginning of the street is nicely decorated with led lights.
The elegant park was founded in 1840, it is home to ancient oaks, fountains & flower beds, multiple open-air cafes and restaurants. Moreover, the oldest Zoo in Ukraine is located here too. The Zoo is under renovation at the moment, some part of it is open but the grand opening will be next year, in 2022. Dolfinarium is located nest to the Zoo and offers a unique experience with dolphin shows.
Sarzhin Yar is one of the most popular places in Kharkiv for walking, riding a bike or open air gym. Its history dates back to the eighteenth century.
Shatilovsky spring is the hallmark of Sarzhin Yar. Until the mid-1990s, there was a plant for bottling mineral water. Now there is an open and free pump room where locals can take water. Just next to the pump room there is the bathhouse, where people like to spend time both in summer and in winter.
The botanical garden of V.N.Karazin Kharkiv National University is an object of the natural reserve fund of Kharkiv. It starts almost immediately after the spring.
The botanical garden partially covers the territory of Sarzhin Yar. One of the largest collections of natural flora in Ukraine is collected here. In addition to native plants, there are also plants from tropical and subtropical latitudes.
In 2016, according to the Guardian, the Kharkiv cable car was included in the list of the 10 best cable cars in the world. Built during the Soviet era and recently renovated – is a little different from the cable cars that you can see all around the world. The ticket office is located next to the park.
There are several areas for walking dogs, an artificial lake with a bunch of bridges over it. Chairs are installed along the lake so that vacationers can enjoy all the beauty of the park. Going further, you can see an overpass for cyclists, and in general, bike paths and separate pedestrian sidewalks have been arranged across the entire territory of the park.
There is a lake you can fish and feed ducks. Large sun loungers were installed along the streams, where you can sunbathe. The coolest playground for children in the form of a hill was made near the spring too. There is a playground with various exercise machines and another one for playing table tennis nearby.
There is a kiosk where you can buy refreshments and icecream kiosk.
The Dormition Cathedral
The Dormition Cathedral, one of the oldest structures in the city built in the 19th Century, is a stunning Neo-Classical structure featuring a 90 meters free-standing Bell Tower that dominates the entire city center. The cathedral remained the tallest building in the city until the 21st century.
The Mirror Stream Fountain
The Mirror Stream Fountain is the most important landmark of Kharkiv. This romantic fountain was built in the 40s and it is a very popular place to take iconic shots. The fountain is surrounded by the small cozy park, the stunning structure of the Church of the Holy Myrrh-Bearers is next to it.
A real symbol of constructivism, the first “skyscraper” of the SRSR was built in a record three years. The building was put into operation in 1928.
Derzhprom is the main landmark in Kharkiv, located in the city center on Freedom Square, which is 5 times bigger than Red Square in Moscow.
The largest “dry” round fountain in Ukraine is located next to Derzhprom: its diameter is 36 meters, it consists of seven rings and 150 nozzles that let jets of water. It is also equipped with LED lamps with a huge number of lighting options.
Maxim Gorky Central Park for Culture and Recreation
Gorky Central Park is the best theme park in Ukraine. The park consists of several thematic zones, each decorated in its own style. The biggest Ferris wheel in Ukraine is located here as well. The park is very well maintained and it is highly recommended to take a ride on the wheel for breathtaking views.
If you have one extra free day in Kharkiv, we advise you to visit Sharovka manor and park around it, it is the only historic manor that is in good condition in the Kharkiv region, and is it nice to spend a couple of hours there, especially in good autumn day.
Manor Sharovka is situated in the Kharkiv region about 60 km from the city. This beautiful manor consists of Sharovsky park, the palace itself, a nursery for breeding pheasants, stables, greenhouses, orangery, and a house of gardeners. Sharovka manor got its final shape when the manor was acquired by a wealthy sugar producer Leopold König at the beginning of the XX century. The Manor – a white stone building in the neo-Gothic style, it is located on a hill and is the center of the complex. It is under renovation for the last couple of years.
The park around the house 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.