Kharkiv is the second largest city in Ukraine and the capital of the Kharkiv region. The generally accepted date of Kharkiv's founding is 1654/5 when Ukrainian Cossacks led by Ivan Karkach built a fortified settlement.
From 1920 to 1934 it was the capital of Soviet Ukraine. The city is over 300 sq km in area and is divided into nine districts.
Today there are over 2500 streets and 26 squares in the city. There are 110 parks, the largest being Gorky Park, Shevchenko Garden with a zoo, Artem Park, the Forest Park, and some others.
The population of the city is about 1.600.000 people.
Kharkiv is one of the largest industrial cities in Ukraine with over 250 enterprises. Kharkiv is a major cultural and scientific centre of Ukraine, second only to Kiev. There are about 200 secondary schools and 40 post-secondary institutions, about 150 research and planning institutes. The city has a circus and six professional theatres.
The public enjoys the use of 23 cinemas, 250 libraries, a sports center, water sports center and some parks of culture and recreation.