Ploshcha Svobody

Top choice in Kharkiv

Locals claim that this enormous expanse of cobbles is the second largest in the world after Beijing's Tiananmen Sq. At 750m long it's indisputably huge and is certainly Kharkiv's most unique sight. Planned as an ensemble of Ukrainian government buildings when Kharkiv was the republican capital, it was laid out between 1925 and 1935. A Lenin statue, which stood in the middle, was toppled by the revolutionary mob in 2014, leaving a comically lonely granite shoe on the podium.

The area was obscured from view at the time of research due to ongoing reconstruction. At the western end of the square, a geometric series of concrete and glass blocks and bridges, the late-1920s Derzhprom building is an example of early Soviet-era constructivist architecture. On the southern side, the Karazin university (early 1930s), formerly the Ministry of Planning, displays classic Soviet aesthetics.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Kharkiv attractions

1. Derzhprom

0.12 MILES

At the western end of pl Svobody, this late-1920s building is an example of early Soviet-era constructivist architecture: a geometric series of concrete…

2. Shevchenko Park

0.29 MILES

Central Shevchenko Park is one of those post-Soviet parks where you can sit for hours watching families boarding the kiddie train, listening to some…

3. Taras Shevchenko Statue

0.39 MILES

Locals are perhaps overly proud of this statue. Yes, it’s big and it does portray the heroic poet surrounded by 16 peasants, Cossacks and other Ukrainians…

4. Kharkiv Art Museum

0.62 MILES

Kharkiv's most famous museum owns one of many versions of Ilya Repin's Zaporizhsky Cossacks Writing a Letter to the Turkish Sultan, which is found in a…

5. Kharkiv History Museum


The city's history museum found itself encased in a giant glassy structure as the result of an unfinished reconstruction, which hasn't touched upon the…

6. Pokrovsky Monastery

0.95 MILES

Just west of pl Konstytutsiyi, the gleaming domes of the Pokrovsky Monastery (Intercession of the Virgin) are visible from miles away. The predictably…

7. Blahoveshchensky Cathedral

1.07 MILES

The park across the street from Uspensky Cathedral offers the best vantage point of the striking red-and-cream striped cathedral down in the valley, built…

8. Uspensky Cathedral

1.09 MILES

This cathedral with its landmark mid-19th-century bell tower (89.5m tall) is now used only as a concert hall. The ticket office in the entrance is open in…