Perhaps not as well known as other popular cities in Ukraine, such as Kiev, Lviv or Odessa, Kharkiv is a great alternative for those seeking to explore the country in more depth. An underrated city with a lot of hidden gems, Kharkiv is home to some of the most beautiful landmarks and attractions in the country. With its population over 1.4 million people, it’s also one of the biggest cities in Ukraine. If you’re interested in visiting this charming city, keep reading for our ultimate guide to Kharkiv!

History of Kharkiv

Kharkiv was founded in  18th century, when Russian Empress Catherine the Great expanded her empire to the east and included the city in the newly formed Kharkiv Gubernia. In the 19th century, the city grew in importance due to the railroad, which ran through it, connecting it with the rest of the Russian Empire. During the 20th century, Kharkiv was an important city in Ukraine as it was the capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic between 1917 and 1934, and again from 1940 to 1991 after the city of Kiev was occupied by German forces.

The city was also the site of the Ukraine’s first university, which opened in 1816. During the Second World War, the city was a major battleground between the Axis Powers and the Red Army, and it was occupied by the Germans for most of the war. During the Soviet period, Kharkiv was one of Ukraine’s most important cities, and it was the second largest in the country after the capital Kiev. It was home to many important cultural and scientific institutions, and it was once called “the Capital of the Ukrainian Culture”.

Today, Kharkiv is Ukraine’s second-largest city, and it is the country’s most important cultural and economic center east of Kiev. The city is home to many universities and research institutes, and it is the center of Ukraine’s aerospace, IT and energy industries.

What to see in Kharkiv

The list of must-see attractions in Kharkiv is extensive. Here are some of the highlights –

- The Opera and Ballet Theater: This iconic and beautiful building is one of the city’s landmarks and sits proudly in the Kharkiv skyline. Inside, the theater is home to the Kharkiv State Opera and Ballet Theater, as well as the Kharkiv Philharmonic. If you visit during the opera season, you’ll have the chance to watch a show here.

- The Freedom Square: In the heart of Kharkiv sits Freedom Square, which is one of the most important and iconic landmarks in the city. Here, you’ll find the Freedom Tower, which was built in memory of the soldiers who died during the revolution of Kharkiv in 1917.

- Kharkiv Oblast Art Museum: The Kharkiv Oblast Art Museum is the city’s main art museum, and it is home to over 45,000 pieces from artists from across the world. The museum is split into five buildings, which are all located in the center of Kharkiv.

- The Kharkiv State Nature Museum: Nature lovers should head to the Kharkiv State Nature Museum, which is one of the largest museums of its kind in Eastern Europe. Located in the city’s south, the museum is home to over 80,000 specimens and artifacts, with many being rare and even one-of-a-kind items.

- The Kharkiv Zoo: If you want to see a wide assortment of animals from across the globe, head to the Kharkiv Zoo. This zoo is home to over 2,500 animals, including some very rare and unique creatures. - The Central Park: One of the largest and most popular parks in Kharkiv sits in the city’s center. Central Park is home to everything from ponds, fountains and ball courts. If you visit during the summer months, you can even take part in open-air concerts and festivals.

How to get to Kharkiv

The best way to get to Kharkiv is to fly to the city’s airport, which is located in the city’s southwest and handles domestic and international flights. The city’s airport is connected to many major cities in Europe, as well as Asian destinations like Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul, Tokyo and more. The airport is connected to the city by a bus that runs every 10 to 20 minutes and takes about 30 minutes to get from the airport to the city center. You can also take a taxi from the airport, which will take approximately 20 minutes and costs around UAH300.


Kharkiv is a city that many people don’t think of when planning their trip to Ukraine. However, it’s an excellent destination that offers culture, history, nature, and a vibrant nightlife. If you visit this city, make sure to visit the Opera and Ballet Theater, Central Park, and the Kharkiv Oblast Art Museum. Now that you know what to see in Kharkiv and how to get here, it’s time to start planning your trip. Visit this amazing city and discover what makes it so special!

Rating 5 from 2 voted Kharkiv