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Kharkiv is home to 1.5 million people making it the second most populous city in Ukraine after the capital Kyiv. The city is located in Northeastern Ukraine, approximately 40 km from the Russian border. Kharkiv was named the first capital of Soviet Ukraine in 1919 after the 1917 Russian Revolution. At that time, Ukrainian SSR consisted of only the Eastern part of Ukraine. After the whole country was taken over by the Soviet rule, the capital was moved to Kyiv in 1934. People in Kharkiv still refer to the city as “The First Capital”. This nickname can sometimes be seen in media or when fans are cheering for the Metalist, Kharkiv's professional soccer team.
Kharkiv is a scientific, industrial and educational center of Ukraine. The industrial production in Kharkiv was the highest in USSR during the Soviet era. Plane, tank, tractor, and turbine factories of Kharkiv used to produce machinery for most of the Soviet Union. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, these factories had to adjust to market needs and are operating today with a lower output.
Kharkiv is one of the most prolific centers of higher education and research in Eastern Europe. There are numerous scientific research institutes in the city concentrating in physics, biology, astronomy, and other fields. Kharkiv is home to 13 national universities and over 30 professional, technical and private higher education institutions. It is a very vibrant and modern city with over 150,000 student population, including 9,000 foreign students from nearly 100 different countries.
Kharkiv is called a green city for its abundance of parks. There are always plenty of things to do for any taste, including visiting museums, theaters, movie theaters, bars/clubs, sporting events, restaurants and more.
Kharkiv has four seasons and a temperate climate. The average winter temperature is -7 °C (20 °F), and the average summer temperature is 21 °C (73 °F). The average rainfall totals 513 mm (20 in) per year, with the most in June and July.
Interesting Facts About Kharkiv
1) Kharkiv is the largest city among those which the 50th parallel runs through: it is larger than Krakow, Prague, Ust-Kamenogorsk and Maintz; 50th parallel passes exactly through the central Shevchenko Park in Kharkiv.
2) In Kharkiv, for the first time in the world, Lithium atom was split, which led to the beginning of the nuclear age.
3) Kharkiv is one of the youngest cities in Ukraine by the average age of its population. Every year almost 20,000 students graduate from higher education institutions in this city.
4) Kharkiv Freedom Square is the fifth largest square in Europe. It takes 11,6 hectares of space.
5) Barabashova Market is the largest industrial/clothing market in Ukraine. It takes more than 75 hectares of space and is the largest in Eastern Europe, while being the 14th in the list of the largest markets of the world.
6) City of Kharkiv (and Kharkiv region) is the world’s leader by the number of astronauts originated from it. More than 30 people from Kharkiv and Kharkiv region were assigned to USSR astronaut teams. By April 2008, twenty one of them were in space.