Kharkov, Ukraine, the country's second largest city. It is in eastern Ukraine, about 250 miles (400 km) east-southeast of Kiev, the capital. Kharkov is a major industrial and railway center, producing a great variety of machinery and fabricated metals.
Kharkov is second only to Kiev as an educational and cultural center in Ukraine. Educational institutions include the Kharkov State University, a polytechnical institute, and schools of medicine and engineering. Kharkov has art and historical museums, a symphony orchestra, and opera and ballet companies.
Kharkov was established in 1654 as a military outpost for fighting the Tatars. Industrial development began under the czars in the mid-19th century with the coming of railways and with the rise of the iron and steel industries nearby in the Donets Basin. Kharkov was the scene of heavy fighting in 1917-20, during the civil war associated with the Russian Revolution, and again in World War II. It was the capital of Ukraine from 1917 until 1934.