Freedom Square in Kharkiv
Kharkiv is the administrative capital of the Kharkiv Oblast and is Ukraine’s second largest city. It is a very historical city, as it was the country’s first city that was proclaimed to be under Soviet power and where the Soviet government was first established in Ukraine. The city itself was founded in the year 1654 and therefore has an abundance of sites and attractions that are significant to the heritage of the city. One of these attractions is the Freedom Square.
Freedom Square is a popular venue for a variety of events such as meetings, festivals, rallies and concerts. It is surrounded by high-rise buildings, including the State Industry Building, making the square an architecturally fascinating. The State Industry Building was to be the first high rise structure in the city and was designed by M. Feldher, S. Serfimov and S. Kravets. The construction of the building was over seen by civil engineer P. Rottert, and was constructed between 1925 and 1928. Next to the State Industry Building is the Kharkiv National University with was established in 1805, and nearby, in the Shevchenko Gardens, a monument to the founder of the university, V. Karazin, was unveiled to the public in 1906. Felix Dzerzhinsky established the Bolshevik Secret Police, and from 1926 to 1996 the square was named in his honor, being known as the Dzerzhinsky Square. In 1964 a statue of Lenin was erected, dominating the Freedom Square. Ukraine claimed its independence in 1991, which set in motion the change of the name of the square. The Freedom Square is also home to the Oblast Council of People’s Deputies and the Hotel Kharkiv.
The entire square covers an area of an estimated almost twelve hectares, and the main part of Freedom Square is between 96 to 125 meters in width and up to 750 meters in length. In 2008 almost three hundred and fifty members of the public filled the square to see the Rock the Cosmos Tour concert that featured Paul Rodgers and Queen, which was recorded and released on DVD the following year. Freedom Square is as significant today as it was in the past, and offers a combination of history and modernization.