The History of Modern Kharkiv
Kharkiv’s proximity to the Dinets Basin and it’s location at the intersection of the trade roles between Russia and the Black Sea and central Ukraine and Caucasia have facilitated its economic growth. The city is over 300 sq km in area and is divided into nine districts.
From 1920 to 1934 it was the capital of Soviet Ukraine. At that time many important higher educational and scientific institutions were opened and relocated in Kharkiv.
A number of museums were opened, including the Ukrainian Historical Museum and the Museum of Ukrainian Art. Up to 1940 there were 14 theatres in Kharkiv, including amateur ones.
As the capital of Soviet Ukraine, Kharkiv was developed more intensively than other cities. Its area grew substantially. New industrial plants were constructed and the old ones were reconstructed and modernized. As new buildings went up, many structures of historical or cultural values were senselessly destroyed in the 1930s, including most of the baroque churches.
During the Second World War Kharkiv suffered extensive damage. As the German Armie approached the city, the Soviet authorities evacuated many of the factories, institutions and inhabitants to Asia. The Germans took Kharkiv on 25 October, 1941.
Since the city was within the front zone, it remained under direct German military control. During the 22 months of German occupation thousands of Kharkiv’s inhabitants died of famine, disease and cold. Many of them were shot and hanged by Gestapo, most of Jews were murdered. Soviet forces recaptured Kharkiv on 16 February 1943, held it until 15 March, and finally established permanent control there on 23 August. This day is being celebrated as the City Day. Reconstruction of the city began almost immediately and continued for some decades after the war.
Today there are over 2500 streets and 26 squares in the city. There are 110 parks, the largest being Corky Park, Shevchenko Garden with the zoo, Artem Park, the Forest Park, and some others. After the war, Kharkiv’s role as a transportation hub has grown. Railway lines radiate from it in 8 directions. The network of bus services is linking the city with all towns and villages of the region. The city is connected by air with many cities of Ukraine and other countries. The present airport was built on 1954, therefore it’s been rebuilding now.
The population of the city is about 1600000 people. Kharkiv is one of the largest industrial cities in Ukraine with over 250 enterprises. It is the first in machine building and metalworking with such large plants as the Kharkiv Tractor Plant, transport Machine-Building Plant, Aircraft Plant, Bicycle Plant and others. Refrigerators, electronic, mining and medical equipment, TV-sets, cameras, paints and cosmetics are Also manufactured there. The woodworking, furniture and printing industries are well developed. Clothing, textiles, leather, footwear are the main products of light industry.
Kharkiv is a major cultural and scientific centre of Ukraine, second only to Kiyiv. There are about 200 secondary schools and 40 higher educational institutions, about 150 research and planning institutes. The city’s prominent scholarly institutions are the Kharkiv Astronomical Observatory, Mathematical Society, Scientific Library, Historical, Art and the Natural science Museums. The city supports a circus and six professional theatres. The public enjoys the use of 23 cinemas, 250 libraries, a sports palace, some water pools and some parks of culture and recreation. The city is ornamented with a large number of monuments. The most prominent of them is that one of T. Shevchenko built in 1935.