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Kharkov or Kharkiv is the second largest city in Ukraine; it is in the northeast and has a population of 2 million. It is one of the main industrial, cultural and educational centres of Ukraine.

There is a metro system of 34 km with 26 stations.


Founded in the middle of 17th century, the city has had a university since 1805. During the early years of the Soviet Union, Kharkiv was the capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (from 1917-1934).

In the early 1930s the Ukrainian famine drove many people off the land into the cities in search of food, but many died.

In 1940 the site of mass murder of Polish POW (see Katyn Massacre).

During World War II Kharkov was captured by the Nazis, recaptured by the Red Army, captured again twice by the Nazis and then finally liberated on August 23, 1943. 70% of the city was destroyed and tens of thousands of the inhabitants were killed.