Kharkiv is the second-largest city in Ukraine. In the northeast of the country, it is the largest city of the Slobozhanshchyna historical region. Kharkiv is the administrative centre of Kharkiv Oblast and of the surrounding Kharkiv Raion, though administratively it is incorporated as a city of oblast significance and does not belong to the raion. Population: 1, 439,036 (2017 est.)
Presently, Kharkiv is a major cultural, scientific, educational, transport and industrial centre of Ukraine, with 6 museums, 7 theatres and 80 libraries.
The city was founded by re-settlers who were running away from the war that engulfed Right-bank Ukraine in 1654 (see Khmelnytsky Uprising). The years before the region was a sparsely populated part of the Cossack Hetmanate. The group of people came onto the banks of Lopan and Kharkiv rivers where an abandoned settlement stood. According to archive documents, the leader of the re-settlers was otaman Ivan Kryvoshlyk.
At first the settlement was self-governed under the jurisdiction of a voivode from Chuhuiv that is 40 kilometres (25 mi) to the east. The first appointed voivode from Moscow was Voyin Selifontov in 1656 who started to build a local ostrog (fort). At that time the population of Kharkiv was just over 1000, half of whom were local cossacks, while Selifontov brought along a Moscow garrison of another 70 servicemen. The first Kharkiv voivode was replaced in two years after constantly complaining that locals refused to cooperate in building the fort. Kharkiv also became the centre of the local Sloboda cossack regiment as the area surrounding the Belgorod fortress was being heavily militarized. With the resettlement of the area by Ukrainians it came to be known as Sloboda Ukraine, most of which was included under the jurisdiction of the Razryad Prikaz (Military Appointment) headed by a district official from Belgorod. By 1657 the Kharkiv settlement had a fortress with underground passageways.
In 1658 Ivan Ofrosimov was appointed as the new voivode, who worked on forcing locals to kiss the cross to show loyalty to the Moscow tsar. The locals led by their otaman Ivan Kryvoshlyk refused. However, with the election of the new otaman Tymish Lavrynov the community (hromada) sent a request to the tsar to establish a local Assumption market, signed by deans of Kharkiv churches (the Assumption Cathedral and parish churches of Annunciation and Trinity). Relationships with the neighboring Chuhuiv sometimes were non-friendly and often their arguments were pacified by force. With the appointment of the third voivode Vasiliy Sukhotin was completely finished the construction of the city fort.
Its industry specializes primarily in machinery and in electronics. There are hundreds of industrial companies in the city, including the Morozov Design Bureau and the Malyshev Tank Factory (leaders in world tank production from the 1930s to the 1980s); Khartron (aerospace and nuclear power plants automation electronics); the Turboatom (turbines for the hydro-, thermal- and nuclear-power plants), and Antonov (the multipurpose aircraft manufacturing plant).
Kharkiv was the first capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, from December 1919 to January 1934, after which the capital relocated to Kiev.
Kharkiv's climate is humid continental (Köppen climate classification Dfb) with cold and snowy winters as well as the dry and hot summers. Kharkiv has rather sunny warm summers which, however, are relatively mild compared to temperatures in South European regions, due to the region's lower elevation, proximity to the Black Sea, and the city's latitude. Kharkiv has relatively long and cold winters. The average rainfall totals 513 mm (20 in) per year, with the most in June and July.