Kharkiv – Second Largest City in Ukraine

Kharkiv is a city in Eastern Ukraine close to the Russian border.  As a matter of fact, when Ukraine was a Republic of the Soviet Union, Kharkiv was the capital.  Things to do in Kharkiv;

  • Freedom Square
  • Former Lenin Statue
  • Gosprom Building (Derzhprom)
  • Dormition Cathedral
  • Annunciation Cathedral
  • Museums of Kharkiv
  • Fiddler on the Roof
  • Kharkiv Mini Eiffel Tower
  • Parks of Kharkiv

Hotels and apartments in Kharkov are decent value, there are some interesting Soviet era hotels you can stay in.

Freedom Square

Freedom Square, Kharkiv, Ukraine

Freedom Square is one of the largest city squares in Europe and the ninth largest in the world.  It’s a popular location for open air concerts, exhibitions, celebrations and demonstrations.  Queen performed a concert here which attracted an audience of over 350,000.  Queen Live in Ukraine is available on DVD.  The total area of the square is almost 12 hectares therefore it’s served by 2 metro stations.  Finally, adjacent to the square is the world’s only soccer ball sculpture.

Former Lenin Statue

Former Lenin Statue, Kharkiv, Ukraine

The center of the city was marked by a statue of Lenin but during the tensions with Russia in 2014 this was destroyed.  They are planning on building a new symbol of the city, most likely an angel with an orthodox cross.  The monument was a popular meeting point in Freedom Square, I guess now they meet where the Lenin monument used to be!

Gosprom Building (Derzhprom)

The most prominent building on Freedom Square is Derzhprom, also known as the Gosprom Building.  Derzhprom was built in the 1920’s and became the first skyscraper in the city.  When built it was the most spacious single structure in the world.  However, this changed in the 1930’s when New York started building skyscrapers.  A scary fact about the Derzhprom is that is still uses the same elevators it used when it first opened!  There is a museum located inside the building explaining the facts and history of it.  Did you know the first skyscraper in Europe was built in Rotterdam?

Annunciation Cathedral Kharkiv

Annunciation Cathedral, Kharkiv, Ukraine

The Annunciation Cathedral of Kharkiv is an identifiable orthodox cathedral due to its stripy design.  The bell tower, made in 1888, is 80 meters tall.  It’s the 2nd tallest bell tower in Kharkiv after the Dormition Cathedral.  Additionally, it’s the 3rd tallest bell tower in the Ukraine.  Lastly, the largest Orthodox Cathedral in the world is located in Moscow, Russia.

Dormition Cathedral Kharkiv

Dormition Cathedral, Kharkiv

The Dormition Cathedral is often referred to as the Assumption Cathedral.  At almost 90 meters in height it’s the second tallest bell tower in the Ukraine.  Both the orthodox cathedrals in Kharkiv make for Instagram worthy images.

Museums of Kharkiv

For museum lovers there are several options in Kharkiv;

  • Museum of Nature KNU Them. V. N. Karazin
  • Kharkiv Art Museum
  • Kharkov Holocaust Museum (Ukrainian)
  • Gosprom Building museum – the first skyscraper complex in Europe

Fiddler on the Roof

Fiddler on the Roof, Kharkiv

Located on top of a building in central Kharkiv is the Fiddler on the roof monument.  It is an example of art and he is playing an eternal melody for the city.  Have fun searching the city for it!

Eiffel Tower of Kharkiv

Eiffel Tower of Kharkiv

Located next to the French Boulevard shopping mall in Kharkiv is their very own Eiffel Tower.  Known as the mini Eiffel Tower, it’s a tiny version of the real thing (above).  The local Ukrainian girls don’t have to travel all the way to Paris for their Eiffel Tower Instagram shots!

Parks of Kharkiv

Parks of Kharkiv, Ukraine

Kharkiv has its fair share of parks which is perfect if you’re traveling to Kharkiv with kids.  In Peremohy Garden Square you’ll find Zerkalʹnaya struya fountain which is a UNESCO site.  The following are park options in the city;

  • Maxim Gorky Central Park
  • Botanical Gardens
  • Sarzhyn Jar
  • Feldman EkoPark
  • Peremohy Garden Square

Kharkiv Zoo is another option for visiting Kharkiv with kids.

How to get from Kharkiv to Kiev by bus

Bus from Kharkiv to Kiev, Ukraine

The bus from Kharkiv to Kiev takes less than 8 hours.  You can take this journey with Ecolines bus company.  The view from the bus is not so great therefore I recommend you take something with you to keep yourself entertained on your journey.

Kiev to Moscow by train

2019-01-02T21:42:41+00:00September 10th, 2017|Eastern Europe, Ukraine|26 Comments


  1. Samantha Sparrow September 11, 2017 at 5:41 am - Reply

    Kharkiv looks amazing – I’m super interested in visiting the Ukraine and Eastern Europe in general, particularly the former soviet area. Did you feel safe? The dome on the cathedral is breathtaking!

    • James Smith September 11, 2017 at 7:12 pm - Reply

      Yes, it’s very safe, just a little difficult with the language barrier.

      • Kate and Kris September 13, 2017 at 1:04 pm - Reply

        I’d agree. We live in Kyiv right now and were in Odessa for two years and feel very safe here. It’s a very interesting place to visit and changing so fast.

  2. Barry September 11, 2017 at 9:39 am - Reply

    Your pictures on Kharikiv are so vibrant and colorful just like those on your Instagram account. Ukraine is a country I’ve never considered going to having seen it in the news for the wrong reasons. I need to start visiting off the beaten track destinations instead of typical tourist spots.

  3. Bernadette September 11, 2017 at 11:19 am - Reply

    I’ve learnt a lot about Kharkiv, a city I hadn’t heard of. The Fiddler on the Roof is an interesting monument / piece of art! The cathedral architectures are stunning, I have never seen an orthodox cathedral before.

  4. Lisa September 11, 2017 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    Another great post on a city I’ve never heard of, and may never get to see! Kkarkiv looks stunning, especially with all the colour and interesting monuments in the city. I know little about the Lenin era, but would really like to know more and its influence on the country. Very cool about the mini Eiffel Tower, who would have thought!

  5. John September 11, 2017 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    I have only been to Poland in Eastern Europe but I would love to visit Ukraine, the next country after Poland. I’m planning a trip through Lviv to Kiev, I may keep going all the way to Kharkiv now after reading about it. The cathedral with the stripes is so unique!

  6. Gareth September 11, 2017 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    It’s interesting to read about the orthodox cathedrals in Kharkiv. I think this type of cathedral is the most beautiful kind. I would have oved to have seen the Queen concert on Freedom Square!

  7. Lois Alter Mark September 11, 2017 at 10:14 pm - Reply

    Wow, so many interesting sights to see here! I would love to see the Fiddler on the Roof statue. And I had no idea that Kharkiv had the only soccer ball sculpture and its own mini Eiffel Tower!

  8. Milena September 12, 2017 at 1:35 am - Reply

    Still on my list! So far, I’ve only been to Lviv in Ukraine, but it was awesome. And Ecolines is a good transport company, never had any problem with them across Poland or Germany 🙂

  9. Pete September 12, 2017 at 2:50 am - Reply

    Were there any interesting characters on the bus?

    Apart from yourself, of course!

    Is the Fiddler on the Roof statue associated with the stories of Sholem Aleichem – which served as the basis for the popular eponymous musical.

  10. Abigail Sinsona September 12, 2017 at 4:30 am - Reply

    I’ve had Kiev on my travel bucket list but Kharkiv is new to me. Thanks for introducing me yet again to another tourist gem. The architecture is breathtaking and your photos do a great job at showcasing its beauty.

  11. Shibani September 12, 2017 at 5:41 am - Reply

    Kharkiv seems a wonderful place to me. And a place with its own (mini) Eiffel Tower surely have an edge. Being an architecture admirer, this place is my kind of place 🙂

  12. Ania September 12, 2017 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    No idea that there was an actual monument of Fiddler on the roof, I just thought that was a made up story lol. Pretty cool about the mini Eiffel Tower too. This sounds like a city with so many things to do and see.

  13. Milo September 12, 2017 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    Mini Eiffel Tower here too??!!! There’s one in Belgium and one in Macau. What seems to be the obsession, I wonder!!!!!!!!!
    The city centre squares are listed according to their size? I didn’t know that. I should check out that list…
    The Annuciation Cathedral looks so colorful and interesting!!

  14. Kate Storm September 12, 2017 at 5:09 pm - Reply

    I had never heard of this place before, but it looks very interesting! The dome on that cathedral is amazing. Eastern Ukraine seems to have tons of hidden gems!

  15. Kate and Kris September 13, 2017 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    I’d agree. We live in Kyiv right now and were in Odessa for two years and feel very safe here. It’s a very interesting place to visit and changing so fast.

  16. Paula September 14, 2017 at 11:02 pm - Reply

    Very interesting! The Annunciation Cathedral Kharkiv looks absolutely beautiful and I had never heard of the local Eiffel Tower they have there either. Hopefully I get to visit the city myself one day.

  17. Christie September 15, 2017 at 4:17 am - Reply

    Haha omg that Eiffel Tower pic! For a second I thought you had attached the wrong image until I read the blurb about it. It looks so much like the real thing. That’s crazy! Great info as always. Very informative

  18. Mariella September 15, 2017 at 8:29 pm - Reply

    Hi James! What an interesting read, specially the Eiffel Tower fact haha i’ve never had the opportunity to visit Ukraine but I am definetely looking forward to one day explore this area 🙂 I wanted to ask you about the overall safety? As a female solo traveler this is always on my mind. – Mariella

    • James Smith September 16, 2017 at 8:01 am - Reply

      Hi Mariella, yes Kharkiv is safe – the most difficult part is the language barrier!

  19. Marlies September 17, 2017 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    i have never heard of Kharkiv but it looks really nice! I was wondering about safety as well, nice to read in the other comments and it is! Maybe one day 🙂

  20. Yukti September 20, 2017 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    Kharkiv is wonderful place though many people don’t know about it. Fiddler on the roof, depicting he is playing melody for the city is such an interesting part of this city. This city sounds so melodious too. Local Eiffel tower is looking like real though a mini version. Good to know Freedom Square is largest in Europe.

  21. Lolo October 13, 2017 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    The Kharkiv Annunciation Cathedral is beautiful!!! I’d go for just that, but then you should be a mini Eiffel Tower! That’s awesome!

  22. Carmen Baguio October 18, 2017 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    I’m going to have to check out that Queen concert. I bet it was amazing! The Annunciation Cathedral of Kharkiv must have been amazing to photograph. I must get to this part of the world soon!

  23. Shona @ October 20, 2017 at 11:32 pm - Reply

    Love the detail and colour poured into the Annunciation Cathedral, so much work! I’m going to have to look more closely at the girls from Ukraine I follow on IG to determine which Eiffel Tower they’re actually in front of. LOL. Thanks for the tip 😉 I’m also going to check out the Queen concert. 350,000, now that’s an audience!

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