If the Annunciation Cathedral is a dominating landmark, then the same must be said about the Assumption Cathedral, locally known under the name “Uspensky Sobor”. Situated on University Hill, on the river bank in the central area of the city, the church with its bell tower that reaches a height of 90 meters dominates the perspective of the downtown and was once the tallest building in all of Kharkiv and even used to be the second-tallest in the entire country. It was constructed in the 1820s and 1830s in neoclassic architecture and was supposed to stand in honor of Alexander I of Russia, after he had thrown Napoleon’s invasion back out of the country.
After the cathedral was largely unused and neglected under Soviet rule, extensive restoration works were conducted in the late 1970s. At that time, Assumption Cathedral was renovated so that it could serve as a venue for chamber music, with an organ installed in 1986.
A privately funded initiative, run by politician and businessman Oleksander Feldman, opened this park in 2013 just outside of Kharkiv. It is a nature center that enables urban citizens to get in contact and enjoy a natural environment. The center is also committed to the preservation of the local ecology and offers a space where children from the city can interact with farm animals. There is also a zoo area with more exotic species, a rehabilitation center for wild animals and an amusement park section with kid activities such as carriage rides or bounce castles. There is no admission fee for the park.
Lisne, Kiev Highway 12. Open daily 10 am - 6 pm
One of the largest public squares in Europe. The square itself is mostly that - a large square with no sights to look at. There is an area with trees which allows for a short walk. As it borders Shevchenko Park, it’s worth taking the few steps here, as around the place, there are a numnber of examples of typical Soviet-style architecture, so-called constructivism, around the square, especially the massive Derzhprom Building, which was completed in 1928 to underline Kharkiv’s position as the then-capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic. The building received a giant television tower on top in 1955, bringing the total height to 108 meters. The monumental Lenin statue that once graced the other end of Freedom Square was demolished by protesters in September 2014.
The large urban park between Sumy Street and Vesnina Street is a very popular place for residents and visitors, as it is located right in the city’s central area. It contains old trees and walkways for leisurely strolls, meadows suitable for picnics, shadowy resting places, fountains and a lake. Skates or bikes to explore the park can be rented near the entrance. There is also a small-gauge railway for kids stretching through the length of the park. Additionally, Gorky Park is home to an amusement park with many rides for all ages, including a Ferris Wheel and a roller coaster. On the stage, entertainment programs are hosted, mostly at the weekends.
Mirror Stream Fountain
A popular attraction and meeting point for residents and visitors, the Mirror Stream Fountain is located in the Peremohy Garden Square, across from the Opera House. It is a favorite photo stop in Kharkiv, as the fountain is illuminated in various colors in the dark. The structure, which is sometimes referred to as the “Kharkiv Arch”, was built in 1947.
Another large urban green space which invites to take a walk, enjoy a multitude of trees and flowers, look at the many sculptures or just sit on one of the benches and do some people-watching. Named after Ukrainian national poet Taras Shevchenko, the park is located in the city center and has a number of restaurants and playgrounds. One of the attractions is the Cascade Fountain on a slope in the park, where water runs down cascade steps. From an observation deck on the upper end, one has a nice view over the city and to the river valley. Visitors can follow the water on its way down via staircases on both sides of the cascade. The fountain is a favorite among newlywed couples to have their wedding pictures taken. Also within the park area, there is the Kharkov Zoo. This zoo is comparatively small but appears well-kept, although some areas might be in need of repair. The animal park looks back at a history lasting more than 100 years and survived two wars as well as the deep economic crisis after the Russian-Ukrainian War broke out in 2014. Further, the Kharkov Dolphinarium is also located in Shevchenko Park, where entertainment shows featuring dolphins and other sea creatures are performed.
Metro stop for Shevchenko Park: Universytet