Take Time Out in the Parks of Kharkiv

With a host of interesting places to visit, Kharkiv is a popular tourism destination in the north-east of Ukraine. Founded in 1654, its ancient history and rich culture add to the charm of the second-largest city in Ukraine, which is also an important educational, scientific and industrial center, as is evident by its sixty scientific institutes, more than thirty centers for higher education, and eighty libraries. With its larger-than-life statue of Lenin and superb examples of Constructivist architecture, Freedom Square is a prominent landmark in Kharkiv.

Kharkhiv’s Shevchenko Park is a popular gathering place for locals as it features tree-lined pathways with seating for visitors to take time out and enjoy the tranquility. There is also a dolphinarium in the park, as well as arcade games, a children’s play area and a restaurant. Perhaps the most striking feature of Shevchenko Park is the statue of Taras Shevchenko surrounded by sixteen peasants, Cossacks and other individuals as a representation of the country’s national history. Taras Shevchenko, also known as Kobzar after his collection of poems with that name, was a Ukrainian poet and artist who managed to capture the spirit of the times he lived in and was elevated to hero status. Statues of Shevchenko and places named in his honor are found throughout Ukraine, as well as in some Russian cities where he was in exile for a time prior to his death in Saint Petersburg.

Another popular leisure spot for citizens and visitors alike is the Maxim Gorky Park, established in 1804 by the founder of Kharkiv University, Vasiliy Karazin, who enlisted the voluntary help of students to plant trees. In honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Alexander Pushkin in 1899, the size of the park was extended to twice its original size, and extended yet again in 1932. In 1938, the park was named Maxim Gorky Central Park for Culture and Recreation and by 1940 a 3.6km long Children’s Railway was up and running. During World War II, the park was badly damaged, with thousands of trees being felled, but was rebuilt following the war. In 2010, a large section of the park was demolished to put a roadway through, prompting much publicized protests. Since then the remainder of the park has been renovated, with landscaped gardens, pathways, benches and an amusement park, offering the perfect venue for an enjoyable outing.