Kharkov, Ukraine by Mordinson
In Kharkov http://www.mordinson.com/kharkov-interesting.html you will see ancient houses some of which were built 150 and 200 years ago and also ultra modern office buildings made of glass and concrete. This blend makes the city interesting an unique. There are lots of things to learn about the first capital of modern Ukraine and even more things to see here!
The year which is considered to be the date of the foundation of Kharkov or Kharkiv (in Ukrainian) is 1654. Back then the vast flat areas of Eastern Ukraine were not very developed due to the lack of natural fortifications, the hills that were present couldn't offer a serious advantage against the invaders so for hundreds of years this area was not populated densely. As the legend says a man named Kharkov was the one who actually started the settlement which eventually grew into a modern Kharkov.
When you are in the city, you will have a chance to see the monument to Kharkov (the founder of the city) which is only 300 meters away from the Mordinson office. The legendary city founder is sitting on his horse in the very beginning of the Lenin Avenue.
More than a third of the original inhabitants of Kharkiv are Moldovans! When our city was still a little village over 9000 men and women from Moldova were given a permission by the Tsar of Russian Empire to settle down in Kharkov (at that time a settlement of approximately 16-18 thousand people). As a reminder of those events there is still a residence area in Kharkov called Rogan, which a word in Moldavian. Not many people in the modern Kharkiv know about the fact that over third of the people who lived here in the very beginning were not Ukrainians.
There are few Russian words which don't need to be translated, for example vodka, perestroika, glasnost etc, but then there is a Russian word which is very sad and scary and which unfortunately became known all over the world because of Russian Empire, this word is pogrom. There is an interesting fact about Kharkiv- it's the only big city of Russian Empire which never had a pogrom in its history!
One of the places you should see when you are in Kharkov is the Liberty Square. It's believed to be among the largest squares in the world. Around it you will see few remarkable buildings, among them the Kharkov State University and GosProm. Found in 1805 Kharkov University was the first one in Ukraine, the only University which had 3 Nobel prize winners studying and working in it: biologist ?. Mechnikov, an economist C. Kuznets, physicist L. Landau.
Kharkiv served as the capital of Ukraine from 1919 till 1934, during those years the city was being renovated and modernized hastily and probably the most famous building in Kharkiv that was built at that time was the Gosprom.
The Gosprom or Derzhprom (in Ukrainian) was built during the late 1920-ies and was often referred to as the first Soviet sky-scraper, the original height of the building (63 meters) may not impress us now, but at the time when it was built it looked almost surreal and extremely modern. The solid concrete and good engineering allowed Gosprom to survive 2 attempts to blow the building up by the German invaders during the WW2.
In the post war period Kharkov became an important scientific and industrial centre. Of course we will never know if it's true or not, but I read somewhere that talking to one his assistants President Harry Truman once said: "At the moment we have 3 nuclear bombs at hand, those are for Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kharkov"- what a compliment Mr. President!!!
by Michael Mordinson http//www.mordinson.com
Posted By : Mykhaylo Beynish