Kharkiv is a huge beautiful Ukrainian city which used to be the capital of Ukraine from 1919 to 1934. You can read all the historical facts in different sources but what you won’t find online and in the books are those emotions that you experience when you see new parks, old buildings, smiling people. There are many places in Kharkiv which will feed your curiosity such as Museum of Sexual Cultures of the World, City Funicular, Gorky Park and many others. Today we will try to walk you through the most interesting places of the city.
It is surprising how landscape change when you look through the window of the train Kyiv – Kharkiv. Mile by mile trees disappear and enormous fields with tiny islands of trees are ready to make you smile. This is one of the reasons for visiting this city in summer – you will be able to see the difference – spacious nature can be without a ridiculous quantity of buildings and people. You will see cows, goats and even horses which calmly chew the grass. If the window is open, you will feel the smell of the cut grass and see people working in the garden. Here, in the countryside it seems like everything becomes slower because no one needs to rush. There is no metro, there is no peak hour and annoyed people who are late for work. Here you can enjoy the moment.
And then, in contrast, you arrive to Kharkiv railway station. And it’s like stepping on an ant house. This will be the first time when you realise how big the city is. People come and go. For some of them it’s just a check point before they go to another city, and for the others, it is a final destination. You will never see empty benches in front of the railway station especially in summer. Be ready to start a walk to remember.
Metro in Kharkiv
Unlike Kyiv metro, there are no tokens. Be ready to find banknotes (1 UAH, 2 UAH, 5 UAH, 10 UAH) and coins. Machines will grab your money and give you a paper ticket in exchange. You need to feed this paper ticket at the entrance. It won’t return to you. So if you want to keep one as a souvenir, you need to buy an extra one. The tickets are only valid for a day. That’s how local administration motivates people to buy electronic cards which is convenient because it saves your time as the queues for ticket machines are usually long.
At the entrance you will see a giant squirrel surrounded by flowers. Don’t be surprised. Local authorities changed the monument of Maksim Gorky for the squirrel. You will see crowds of people taking selfies with it.
The park itself has been recently reconstructed. The territory is quite big. There are different thematic areas like French zone. There is a lake with black, white swans and ducks of all possible colours. There are also several nice arbours where you can have a rest and just enjoy the view.
You will find different sculptures of children all around the park. You can even play a game to find all these sculptures and take pictures with all of them.
There is also an observation wheel which looks stunning at night time.
When you see something sparkling in the bushes or between the trees, that will definitely be a sculpture of children. Some of them look very pretty hanging down from the trees. They light in the dark changing their colour from white to purple. There is a whole alley of umbrellas which are boring to look at in the morning but at night they are spectacular.
There is a nice children’s zone with amusement parks and the area where your children won’t ever be unattended.
Official website (unfortunately, only in Russian and in Ukrainian, but that will be a reason for you to find someone who can translate the information): http://centralpark.kh.ua/rides/kanatnaya-doroga/
Kharkiv funicular is a must! This is actually the first thing that you need to put in your list when you plan your trip. It was first open in 1971! At present time, one-way ticket costs only 30 UAH and one ride takes approximately 18 minutes. It is totally safe. The funicular was reconstructed several years ago and now is extremely popular. The length of the route is 1385. The minimum height is 8 m and the maximum is 26. You will really see the tops of the pine trees. We advise you to go in autumn to see all the colours that nature has or in summer when everything is bright green and full of life. You won’t regret it!
In the end of April and in the beginning of May, don’t miss blooming tulips. Not far from Karazin University, one of the most popular and prestigious universities in Ukraine, there is a monument to Kharkiv founders. Here you will find this amazing field of tulips of all possible colours.
Another place with such great amount of this flower waits for you Taras Shevchenko Park not far from the monument.
The Museum of Sexual Cultures of the World
In 1999, the museum was open as an initiative of the workers of the Department of Sexology of Kharkiv Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education. This place is usually in the list of the hidden sights of Kharkiv among the ghost buildings and other curious places which attract only experienced travellers.
The museum is situated in the backyard of a regular house. There are no signs that show where you need to go. But when you find it, you will be happy for at least three reasons: you actually found it and most people haven’t even heard about it, the tickets are very cheap and the exhibitions are truly informative. You can also have a guide which is better if you don’t speak Russian or Ukrainian.
Description and the map: http://www.kharkovinfo.com/museum-of-sexual-cultures-of-the-world.html
Our last stop for today is Sarzhyn Yar. A Botanic garden which you need to visit to see three famous places for local people and tourists. The first one is the place where red fishes are grown. You can come here and catch a fish. After that, the employees weigh is and you buy it.
The second place here which attracts plenty of attention is the source with holy water. It is believed that the water from this source cures diseases and improves your physical and mental state.
The last place you need to see is a giant clock which shows real time in Kharkiv. The clock of surrounded by flowers. Beautiful wooden steps lead to the clock from two sides. You will see many people taking pictures. That’s for sure.
Hopefully, you found at least one reason to visit Kharkiv. Just remember that you won’t regret visiting this city. It is very clean. In the park, for example, you won’t find piles of garbage and people stepping on the grass. On Saturday, you can even meet the mayor of the city and take a selfie with him which is very nice because natives can see that not only average person walks here but also local authorities.