Kharkiv Ukraine Guide - Travel East and Central Europe

Annunciation Cathedral Kharkiv

Annunciation Cathedral Kharkiv

Annunciation Cathedral Kharkiv

The Annunciation Cathedral is the most beautiful temple in Kharkiv – one of the largest cities in Ukraine and its former capital. The history of the cathedral dates back to the 17th century when it was not a monumental cathedral, but a small wooden church.

In its current form, it was rebuilt only in 1789. The temple impresses with its solemnity, rich in interior decoration. The painted walls of the Annunciation Cathedral are by great Russian and Ukrainian artists. This temple is a favorite attraction for tourists not without good reason.

Mirror Stream Fountain

Mirror Stream Fountain Kharkiv

Mirror Stream Fountain Kharkiv

The fountain “Zerkal’naya Struya” (The Mirror Stream) is one of the most outstanding architectural constructions in Kharkov. It's under protection of UNESCO. This arbor and fountain are on Sums'ka street in the Victory park in front of Kharkiv National Academic Opera and Ballet Theater. It's considered as one of the symbols and main attractions of Kharkov.

According to the official version architect Korzh built this fountain in 1947 in honor of the victory in World War II. By the way, not many people know that this fountain isn’t unique.

This is a copy of the fountain in Kislovodsk (“Altanka”). The city legend says that “The Mirror Stream” was built by one of  the high-ranking Soviet official for his young lover in memory of their holiday. The fountain is one of the best architectural monuments of Kharkiv and it's listed in the Encyclopedia UNESCO. Behind the fountain there's a small park which is very pleasant for a walk, to sit on a bench, or have business meeting.

Now it's surrounded by small picturesque public garden, there is a pavilion from under which a mirror stream is flowing. In front of the fountain there is a beautiful ground with a flower bed, and behind it you will find romantic pond of irregular shape.

The Mirror Stream is one of the most favorite places of kharkovians to meet and rest, and on Fridays and Saturdays this is where newlyweds come to take wedding pictures. They often have to wait in a line, one couple at the time.

As far of sightseeing, this one is really entertaining. Get yourself a sandwich, sit on a bench and do some people watching for the rest of the day.

Taras Shevchenko Monument

Taras Shevchenko Monument Kharkiv

Taras Shevchenko Monument Kharkiv

One of the main symbols of Kharkiv the monument to the outstanding Ukrainian poet and writer, artist Taras Shevchenko. It's considered to be the best monument to Shevchenko in the world and this is one of the seven wonders of Kharkiv. The monument is in the city center, in the garden that has the same name – Shevchenko Garden.

Along with the landscape and Kharkiv architecture they form a unified ensemble. The total height of the monument is more than 16 meters, and the statue of Kobzar made of gray (originally black) labradorite is 4.5 meters.

Since the opening celebration of the monument took place on March 24, 1935, the interpretation of Taras Shevchenko's personality was Soviet (as a revolutionary poet, writer, an ideological fighter for the bright future of the people). The style of sculpture combines Socialist Realism and Stalinist Baroque. The authors of the monument are sculptor Matthew Manizer and architect Joseph Langbard.

Unified multidisciplinary composition of the monument should be viewed in several stages. The monument is the original architectural spiral with triangular column with Shevchenko on a pedestal, around which there were placed in a circle 16 frozen in the movement statues, representing the working people in the fight for their rights and freedoms.

The statue of Kobzar is full of dynamic. Laconic forms represent the style of constructivism. Exaggerated folds of clothing, work with large planes creates the effect of power and fight. The sculptures surrounding the pedestal are made of dark bronze and are two times smaller than the figure of Shevchenko. According to author’s idea, this composition should be viewed from a small distance, starting with “Catherine” and then move counter-clockwise.

Let’s divide all the figures into three sketches. The first is a collection of "rebellious" characters from T. Shevchenko’s works. This includes 'Kateryna’ from the poem with the same name (‘peasant with a baby’, symbolizing the image of a single mother), "Dying Gaydamak", "Gaydamak with a scythe," "Tearing shackles" from the poem "Haydamaky" telling about events of Cossack peasant uprising in 1768 in Right-Bank Ukraine, "Bound Zaporozhets," "Peasant Woman", "bearing a millstone," "soldier-recruit".

The second figure includes participants of the Russian Revolution: "Worker with a flag", "Student", "Worker with a rifle," "Sailor," "Red Army soldier". The third represents the changes occurred after the revolutions in the Soviet Union: "The peasant," "Miner," "Woman with a book." And finally we have to mention that every year the number of Kharkovians is growing more and more.

Why would we mentioned this, you may ask? The fact is that every visitor of the ensemble tries to find (and finds?) the hidden tractor wheel from first farms between the statues of the ensemble. They say that the one who is able to find the wheel will find his/her soul mate and remains in Kharkiv permanently.

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