Kharkiv Things to Do

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    by Viktosha
  • Things to Do
    by Viktosha
  • Things to Do
    by Viktosha

Most Recent Things to Do in Kharkiv

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    The old Pawnshop, Kharkiv

    by Viktosha Written Feb 19, 2008

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    Almost across from the banks is the old Pawnshop, whose design was influenced by the motives of Old-Russian architecture (architect B. Korneyenko, 1908). The facade of the building was facing Universytetska Street (# 5) and its back was overlooking the square.

    Such lack of respect can be easily explained. At that time pawnshop’s backside was hidden from the eyes by the House of Nobility Conventions (1814), destroyed in the wartime. Today there is a small park in its place with the monument (1975), dedicated to proclaiming the Soviet power in Ukraine, in the middle.

    On the square corners there are entrances to the underground metro stations «Radyanska» and «History Museum».

    Kharkiv History Museum, located in the former pawnshop building, is worth special mentioning. Today it is one of Ukraine’s biggest museums, as well as a leading research center in the fields of country studies and museum studies. Its unique collection comprises about 250 thousand precious artifacts, including separate collections of paintings, banners, medals, weapons, genuine documents of different epochs, photographs, archeological findings and coins.

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    The Land Bank, Kharkiv

    by Viktosha Written Feb 19, 2008

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    The architectural ensemble of the square is completed by the Land Bank (28, Constitution Square), today — Kharkiv Automobile Transport College. The bank was the first joint-stock company in Russia and had landlord clients in 18 provinces. Quite naturally the facade of the building had to have a very respectable look. The two-storied building with huge arched windows had a stone parapet on top. The interior design was lavish and elegant. The building was reconstructed in 1952 by architects H. Sikharulidze and A. Leibfreid.

    The life and work of one of the biggest bankers, industrialists and patrons of the city A. Alchevskyi, whose whole family was very active in public life and charity, is connected with the Land Bank.

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    The Saint Petersburg International Bank, Khrkiv

    by Viktosha Written Feb 19, 2008

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    Further along, on the eastern side of the square there stands the building of the Saint Petersburg International Bank (architect V. Velichko, 1913), nowadays — Kharkiv Regional Office of the Open Joint-Stock Oshchadbank Company (22, Constitution Square). The building is completed in the French Renaissance style. The natural-stone Ionic columns on both sides of the main entrance look very solid as if commanding respect to the clients of the bank. The inscription in the upper part of the facade has been preserved since the pre-revolution times.

    The following three buildings were constructed by the design of the architect academician A. Beketov. They are the former Volga-Kama Bank (24, Constitution Square, 1908), today — V. Afanasiev Puppet Theatre; Trade Bank (26, Constitution Square, 1898), nowadays — The House of Science and Engineering; Land Bank (28, Constitution Square), today Kharkiv Automobile Transport College.

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    The Fraternity House of the Dormition Cathedral

    by Viktosha Written Feb 18, 2008

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    A four-storied building with protruding windows and a small tower on the corner of the square and the avenue catches one’s eye. Erected in 1849 in classical traditions by architect R. Danylov for clergy visitors, it initially used to have three floors. It was called the Fraternity House of the Dormition Cathedral and was one of the first multistoried buildings in town. In 1900 the house was overhauled by architects B. Mykhalovskyi and M. Lovtsov and got its present look. Today it houses various companies and organizations.

    Further up the eastern side of the square there starts a row of the most interesting bank buildings dating back to the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. They created a splendid architectural ensemble of the former Nikolayevska Square.

    Banks began playing a major role in the country’s economy in the second half of the 19th century. Thus their buildings, forming the business part of the city, were of primary importance for its development. It was an absolutely new architectural type emerging in the capitalism era when the rapid growth of trade, manufacture, railway roads resulted in the ever increasing demand for new buildings whose architecture and functional load were different from the more patriarchal houses.

    As architectural landmarks of a particular historical period the banks reflected its artistic tendencies. Their facades, faced with expensive stone, decorated with columns, sculptures and portals became a characteristic feature of business Kharkiv. The exteriors were emphatically monumental: solemn, secure facades were aimed to demonstrate their owners’ reliability, respectability and financial power.

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    Moskovskyi Avenue in Kharkiv

    by Viktosha Written Feb 18, 2008

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    Moskovskyi Avenue, formerly Moskovska street, starts across from the City Hall. It is one of the oldest streets that got its name from the Moskovska Tower, at whose gate it started. This is Kharkiv’s longest street that runs for 18 kilometers.

    Rapid industrial growth in Kharkiv at the end of the 19th — beginning of the 20th century determined further development of this thoroughfare and influenced the construction in the neighboring areas. Admiring the buildings at the beginning of Moskovskyi avenue we can hardly imagine that only a few tramway stops away work major industrial enterprises. Moskovskyi avenue stretches across Frunzenskyi, Kominternivskyi, Ordzhonikidzevskiy and largest in Kharkiv Moskovskyi districts.

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    The City Hall, Kharkiv

    by Viktosha Written Feb 14, 2008

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    There is an administrative building dating back to the second half of the 19th century on the other corner of the lane. It used to be the City Duma, nowadays it is the City Hall (7, Constitution square).

    For a certain period of time only the governor’s palaces had been classified as administrative buildings, though in the second half of the 19th century, due to the development of more sophisticated forms of social life, the list of administrative buildings was expanded. At first state and public organizations used to rent their premises. As their functions and tasks abounded, the necessity for special-purpose administrative buildings emerged.

    The issue of erecting the building for the City Duma was raised in 1874. The construction design project competitions had taken more than ten years. The facts from the Construction Weekly, on whose pages these projects were discussed, testify to the zeal with which «the city fathers» had been selecting the winner.

    The construction started in 1885 and went on so fast that by April 1886 the five-storied monumental construction had been completed. It perfectly fitted the existing architectural ensemble of Nikolayevska Square by dominating its western side.

    In 1931–1932 the building was reconstructed (architects V. Trotsenko, V. Pushkarev, V. Peti), but burned down during the Nazi occupation of Kharkiv.

    Its post-war reconstruction is, in fact, a new building, in which its authors (architects V. Kostenko, Yu. Chebotarev, engineer V. Kharlamov, 1947–1954) preserved the style of an administrative building, but also emphasized its national character. A specific coloring is provided by the tower, which looks like the successor to medieval town halls and magistracies. The national style is seen in the relief bands with the elements of Ukrainian patterns.

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    De-Lux shopping mall for women, Kharkiv

    by Viktosha Written Feb 14, 2008

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    Behind the Palace of Labor there is a De-Lux shopping mall for women (the former hardware store owned by merchant Ryzhov) built in 1899 in the Baroque style. In the 1950s two upper floors with apartments were added to the building. Behind it, on the corner of Radyanskyi (former Shlyapnyi) Lane, a dwelling house is located. The lane opens another view of the Dormition Cathedral and its belfry. There is an administrative building dating back to the second half of the 19th century on the other corner of the lane. It used to be the City Duma, nowadays it is the City Hall (7, Constitution square).

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    Constitution Square, Kharkiv

    by Viktosha Written Feb 14, 2008

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    Constitution Square, also called at different periods Yarmarochna (Fair), Nikolayevska, Tevelev, Soviet Ukraine, appeared at the same time as the fortress. In the 17th century it was the site of annual fairs, in winter it was used for sledge riding. In the early 19th century the buildings of the Nobility Conventions and the police station were built here and thus started the development of this part of the town. The first All-Ukrainian Congress of Soviets, which proclaimed the Soviet power in Ukraine and Kharkiv as its capital (in 1934 the capital was transferred to Kyiv), was held in the Nobility Conventions building.

    The building housed a concert hall with choir galleries, which made it suitable for concerts, artistic exhibitions etc. In the «capital» period of Kharkiv history numerous governmental and administrative bodies used to be located here. After the capital had been transferred to Kyiv, they opened the Palace of Pioneers, the first one in the USSR, in the building. It provided a lot of leisure activities for children in numerous sections, one of which was even supervised by the famous children’s writer M. Trublaini.

    Unfortunately, those building have not survived the war.

    In 1925 the buildings of the New Passage (a department store) and the Stock Exchange were built on the western side of the square.

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    The Palace of Labor, Kharkiv

    by Viktosha Written Feb 14, 2008

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    The whole block on the other side of the square is occupied by a single huge — even by modern standards — building, known as the Palace of Labor (the former tenant house of the All-Russian Russia Insurance Society (architect I. Petro, 1916). This is one of the many tenant houses, typical for Kharkiv, in which residential and trade premises were combined. Such houses were usually erected in trade squares and adjacent streets and usually fulfilled a certain style-forming function.

    The building of the Russia Insurance Society completed the western side of former Nikolayevska Square (nowadays 1, Constitution Square) and set the construction scale for Pavlovska Square (Rosa Luxembourg Square) next to it. The six-storied trapezium-shaped neo-classical building, in addition to the street-facing sections, also had two other ones forming inner yards. Residential premises on the upper floors had a corridor-section type of layout with convenient landings in the corners and in the middle of each section in the side yards. The central yard aimed for the passage-type department store had no entrances to the stairwells. The central yard served as a passageway to Kvitka-Osnovyanenko street.

    Functionally the building hasn’t changed much: there are still shops on the lower floors, the upper ones are being occupied by the regional offices of trade unions, Boards of Directors of Research and Technology groups and office premises.

    The Palace of Labor connects Rosa Luxembourg Square and Constitution Square. The latter used to house almost all financial and bank establishments of the city.

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    Former Merchants’ Bank and the Astoria Hotel

    by Viktosha Written Feb 14, 2008

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    Among these buildings there is a former Merchants’ Bank and the Astoria Hotel at 10, Rosa Luxembourg Square (architects N. Vasiliev and A. Rzhepishevskiy, 1910–1913). Today the building houses the Prominvest Bank. This unique architectural landmark (one of the first multistoried buildings with a concrete frame in the city) is a vivid example of Northern Modernist style. The unusual rhythm of multilevel bow windows, restrained by the massive pediment, an unusual form of the mansard roof, the square blocks of granite setting give the building its romantic flare.

    The Merchant’s Bank used to be located on the lower floors of the building, numerous offices — on the middle ones, and the hotel — on the upper floors. The artistic impression of the building is augmented by the skillfully chiseled large masks above the doors, powerful atlantas and unusual figures on the sides of the entrances.

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    The Central Department Store, Kharkiv

    by Viktosha Written Feb 14, 2008

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    Leaving behind the building of the Central Department Store, erected in 1932 by architect A. Linetskyi (reconstructed in 1954 by M. Moshovich), at 1/3, Rosa Luxembourg square, we find ourselves among very interesting buildings — the true gems of Kharkiv. Their history dates back to the late 19th and early 20th century. At that period our city turned into a major industrial and trade center of the Russian Empire, partially due to its favorable geographical location close to Donbass coal mines and to Krivyi Rih iron ore. It was then that the powerful industrial base of the city was laid. Foreign businessmen used to massively invest into Ukrainian industry, concluded concessions, and established joint stock companies.

    Architecture responded with the creation of the types of buildings which were new to the country: a railway station, a department store, a bank, a pawnshop, a tenant house etc. Built mainly in Sumska street, which became the main one in the city, and in Nikolayevska Square (nowadays Constitution Square), these buildings formed a type of Kharkiv’s «City» — its business center. The designs were developed by talented architects from Saint Petersburg: R. Golenishev, F. Lidval, N. Veryovkin, I. Pretro, R. Genrikhsen, A. Dmitriyev, D. Rakitin, N. Vasiliev, A. Rzhepishevskiy and others.

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    Rosa Luxembour Square, Kharkiv

    by Viktosha Written Feb 14, 2008

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    The view of Rosa Luxembour Square opens from the University hill. At different times it was called Lobna, Nahorna, Narodna, Torhova, Pavlovska. It was also the site of the fair held on the Dormition and Holy Shroud days. The Mile Post — a stone obelisk, crowned with the metal two-headed eagle, which indicated the distances from Kharkiv to other gubernatorial towns was erected in the square. Here the governmental decrees were read out and public executions were held. Another attraction of the square was the Post-Office on the southeast corner of Universytetska street, not far from the Mile Post and the executions site. In the 19th century the square was built up with one- and two-storied buildings used predominantly for trade purposes. There used to be a big shop, owned by merchant Pavlov, the building that stood out among the others, and which was later rebuilt as a hotel. It was destroyed during World War II.

    The square acquired its current name in 1919 in the memory of Rosa Luxembourg (1871–1919) — one of the founders of the Communist Party of Germany. The Mile Post was taken away in the 1920s as it blocked the traffic.

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    University building, Kharkiv

    by Viktosha Written Feb 14, 2008

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    Across from the Governor’s House, built in the style of late Baroque, there used to be another University building (25, Universytetska Street). It was built in 1831 by the design of Ye. Vasiliev as an example of austere classical forms. It housed the domestic Church of Saint Anthony, an assembly hall, an observatory and a library.

    The elegance and sophistication of the former Governor’s House architecture is in contrast here with the laconic six-column ionic portico with the pediment raised on the broad stairs. The columns stand out vividly against the background of the shadowy loggia, and the walls devoid of decoration emphasize the grandeur of the entrance to the temple of knowledge and science.

    The choir singing in the church was the best in town. It comprised both professors and students. The church was decorated with the icons painted by V. Borovikovskyi and A. Venetsianov, as well as by amateur painters from the faculty. Though the church was a domestic one, meant for the needs of the University, it was favored by parishioners from different parts of the town.

    The building, reconstructed after the World War II by the design of architect O. Okulich-Karazin, nowadays houses Kharkiv’s Yunost (Youth) Ukrainian Cultural Center (a former duplex Yunost cinema) and the stacks of the University library.

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    The Governor’s House, Kharkiv

    by Viktosha Written Feb 14, 2008

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    The Governor’s House, which later became the main building of Kharkiv University, was erected in 1767–1776 (architects M. Tikhmenev and A. Vilyanov). But the construction works were completed by P. Yaroslavskyi, a graduate of Kharkiv Collegium, the fact that proves that at the end of the 18th century the city had its own talented architects.

    The University building is mentioned in the traveler’s guide of 1915 as one of the best 18th century landmarks in Kharkiv. This was the place where Catherine the Great stayed with her court during her famous journey from Saint Petersburg to the Crimea.

    In the 20th century the Nobel Prize (Physics) winner L. Landau worked here. Among the Presidents of the University were the famous Ukrainian writer P. Hulak-Artemovskyi, the most prominent historian of Slobozhanshchyna D. Bahaley. Among University professors were many well-known Polish, German, British and Italian scholars and scientists, such as Alexander Mitskievich, brother of the famous Polish poet Adam Mitskievich, German philosopher I. Schad and others.

    The emergence of the Kharkiv literary school in the first half of the 19th century is also connected with the University.Due to it Kharkiv of that time became a major cultural center of Ukraine. Kharkivite H. Kvitka-Osnovyanenko — one of the founders of the Ukrainian prosaic literature and national theatre, ethnographer and historian of Slobozhanshchyna — greatly contributed to the cultural development of his native town. The street bearing his name runs parallel to Universytetska Street. The monument to this writer and statesman was also erected there. At that time a virtual constellation of well-known poets, writers, scientists, historians, ethnographers, specialist in Slavic studies, such as P. Hulak-Artemovskyi, Ya. Shoholev, L. Borovikovskyi, N. Kostomarov, I. Sreznevskyi, A. Metlinskyi, lived and worked in Kharkiv.

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    Terrace Square, Kharkiv

    by Viktosha Written Feb 14, 2008

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    Adjacent to Universytetska Street is the terrace square (architects G. Vegman, I. Zhilkin, M. Lutskiy, 1951 — 1952) located on Stepan Khalturin Spusk.

    This is the site that used to house the Old Passage building, which belonged to the merchant Pashchenko-Tyapkin, and was destroyed by nazis during the occupation period of World War II. After the war the local residents voluntarily worked on Sundays, helping in the reconstruction of their city. They cleared the ruins, took away the debris, planted the trees and bushes, lay out flowerbeds and pathways. Today one of the terraces is occupied by a summer cafe and from the upper terrace we can enjoy a wonderful view of the city districts on the opposite side of the Lopan river.

    The monument to H. Skovoroda was erected on one of the terraces of the park. A few dozens of meters away from the monument is the border of the former Kharkiv fortress. The fountain is the approximate location of the wooden Derkachevska corner tower. a little further to the south, at the end of the ravine (now Khalturin Spusk), there stood the Lopanska gate tower. If we walk along the imaginary fortress wall, we shall get to the central part of town. It was here that on the site of the ancient Slavic settlement the first Kharkiv fortress was erected in 1659. The tallest Nikolska corner tower was about 20 meters high. That is why the Holy Shroud Cathedral, located nearby fortress walls, with its dome at the height of 48 meters, dominated the cityscape for decades. Even the stone Dormition Cathedral, built of at the end of the 17th century, was not so tall.

    As years had passed by, the Cossack clay huts within the fortress walls were replaced by the brick palaces, the town was growing, and the territory of the fortress turned into a type of observation deck. This is the place from which we can enjoy a magnificent view of an ever-changing city. And from here we are going to have a closer look at Proletarska square and the Annunciation Cathedral.

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