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    Kharkiv, city, capital of Kharkiv Oblast, eastern Ukraine, at the junction of the Kharkiv, Lopan, and Udy rivers. A large city and chief industrial and transportation center, Kharkiv (also called Kharkov) is located near the rich coal mines of the Donets Basin and is linked by railroad to the iron ore deposits of Kryvyy Rih. Manufactures include farm and mining machinery, electric and railroad equipment, chemicals, machine tools, and processed food. Kharkiv is a city of broad avenues and large buildings; historical points of interest include Pokrovsky Cathedral (late 17th century), Uspensky Church (late 18th century), Patriarch's Church (19th century), and a bell tower (1812) built to commemorate victory over Napoleon. The city is the site of a university, scientific research centers, and several theaters and museums.
    Kharkiv was founded in 1656 as a fortress protecting Moscow from the Tatars. The city grew as a trade and cultural center, and in 1765 it became the administrative center of Ukraine. With the development of the vast mineral wealth of the region in the late 19th century, Kharkiv developed into an industrial and rail transportation center. During World War I Kharkiv was the scene of heavy fighting, first between German and Russian troops and later (1917-20) between opposing forces in the Russian Revolution. It was the capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic from 1920 to 1934, when it was replaced by Kyiv. During World War II Kharkiv was occupied (1941-43) by German troops and suffered severe damage. Population (1990 estimate) 1,618,000.

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