Kharkiv has a fairly small but very efficient subway system, the Metro, and if you’ve used similar systems elsewhere in the world you should have no trouble getting to grips with it. We were helped on our first attempt at buying tickets by one of the inspectors who monitor each station (and help with change) but really we could have worked it out ourselves, especially as there are instructions in English – a legacy of the Euro 2012 Football Championships, I am sure.
When we visited (February 2013) a single fare was just 2 UAH – just 16p or 24 US cents – a bargain! The ticket machines take 1, 2 or 5 UAH notes, or 50 kopiyka coins, but as I have said, the inspector who sits at a desk near the ticket barriers should be able to give you change if needed. Put your money in the slot and the paper ticket comes out automatically. You then need to insert this into the barrier and the gate will open. Note that the ticket is retained, so while travelling you have nothing to show you have paid – a system that seems very open to abuse, I would think.
There are three lines, coloured red, green and blue on the map. They intersect at key points but confusingly the stations have different names on each of the two lines that intersect and are located at some distance from each other above ground. At first I thought that maybe we would have to surface, walk a short distance, and go back into the system, buying a new ticket for the next leg of the journey. But if you look at the signs at your connecting station carefully you will see that an underground transfer is possible. For us the most useful connection proved to be near Ploshchad' Svobody (Freedom Square) where we would arrive at Derzhprom on the green line and transfer to Universitet on the blue.
I found travelling on the Metro to be a pleasure. Trains are fast and frequent (every five minutes during the day), and stations are for the most part attractive, while not reaching the heights of decorative splendour of the Moscow Metro for instance. Signs are in English as well as Ukrainian, though station announcements are not, so watch out for yours (if you don’t read Cyrillic it’s best to keep count). And in several stations there were additional sights to catch our attention, like the chess players in the ticket hall at Derzhprom (photo four) and the small food shops at Istorychnyi Muzei (photo five).
Next tip: let’s start our explorations in the heart of the city, at Ploshchad' Svobody
Getting to (and from) Kharkiv
We flew to Kharkiv with Austrian Airlines, via Vienna. This meant a very early departure from Heathrow (6.00 AM flight) but was far more reasonably priced than later flights, and it meant that we were in the city in time to do a little bit of sightseeing on our first day.
The outward flights went smoothly and I was impressed with the service on board. Unlike Scandinavian Airlines, with whom we had flown recently at similar cost, refreshments were provided on both legs – a muffin and coffee / tea / juice on the first, and a small sandwich with a choice of drinks (including wine or beer) on the second. The very tight connection time at Vienna Airport was achieved with only the minor hassle of having to twice go through security, and we made it to the gate, where our friend Pete who had earlier flown in from Luxemburg, was waiting. Two and a half hours later, we were touching down in Kharkiv.
The airport there is small with only a handful of flights a day, but the terminal is gleaming and new, having been built for the Euro 2012 football championships for which Kharkiv was a host city. You can see the old terminal building next to the new one – it has lots of character but can’t have been very efficient I suspect. We were met at the airport by a taxi driver pre-booked though our hotel and were soon on our way.
Our return flight went rather less smoothly although that was no one’s fault, and I have to say that Austrian Airlines were as helpful as they could be under difficult circumstances. Heavy snow in Vienna on the morning of our departure meant that the inbound flight (the one we had arrived on a few days earlier) was badly delayed, and thus our outward one was too. We waited a long while at the airport before being invited to check-in, and then stood over an hour in a relatively short queue. Like ourselves, most people were booked on connecting flights from Vienna – flights that they now had no hope of making. The two check-in staff at Kharkiv seemed to lack both the experience and technology to deal quickly with the challenges of rebooking everyone on later flights, hence the slow-moving queues. When we did get to the desk we were told that the later flight to London was full and our only option would be to stay overnight in Vienna, and that the Austrian Airlines desk there would sort that for us. Alternatively we could stay an extra night here in Kharkiv, again at their expense, and catch the same flight the next day. The latter option was recommended as there would be no guarantee of getting a Vienna hotel, but we decided to risk that. As it turned out, when we got to Vienna and enquired at the desk as instructed about a hotel, the man there told us that in fact the late evening flight to London was not full and if we wanted he could get us on it. Of course we wanted, and as a result were home only three or four hours later than expected. You can imagine that we were very thankful that we hadn’t chosen to hang around in Kharkiv for the extra night!
Next tip: our hotel, the Mirax Boutique
Getting Around Kharkiv
There are a lot of taxi services in Kharkiv.
Call “061 taxi”
dialing 19 52 45 (mobile) in the city;
Call “Pagio” taxi: 27 46 36, 27 38 91.take the underground – the cheapest and the fastest way of traveling in the city.
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Railroad was opened in Kharkov...
Railroad was opened in Kharkov in 1869. The first train arrived in Kharkov from the north on 22nd May. 6 June railway traffic was opened on the Kursk-Kharkov-Azov's line. Railway passenger station, reconstructed and expanded in 1901, was destroyed in war 1941-1945 (new building was built in 1952).
On the 15th of June, 1968...
On the 15th of June, 1968 Kharkov's subway began to build. The first line of subway (eight stations ) was opened in 1975; a second line in 1984 and a third line in 1995. On the picture - the University subway station.
Tel. 0572 14 89 51,
14 89 52;
Fax. 0572 14 89 54;
1 Romashkin St.;
on the picture: the building of the city railway station built in 1952.
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Now there's an express train of European design from Kiev to Kharkiv: 1st and 2nd class.
It takes the train about six hours to arrive to Kharkiv.
The ticket price for the first class is $15.
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You could travel by train to...
You could travel by train to Kharkov, it's more cheap than to reach it by airplane
And this is the picture of Kharkov railway station