This is not a historical or political comparison of Ukraine’s two biggest cities but life style. Comparison has been made according to my experience.
I have been to Ukraine for 7 years and a little more. Mostly my time passes in two main cities in Ukraine. First one was Kiev (Kyiv), it is the capital city of Ukraine. And the second one was Kharkov (Kharkiv), it was the capital city of Soviet Era (until 1935). 3 million people approximately live in Kiev and 1,5 million people live in Kharkov, so so… You may look for cities details from Wikipedia, it has enough information for most travellers about Kiev and Kharkov.
This is the capital city. Kiev is the top touristic destination in Ukraine. Demographic structure of Kiev is very colorful, it is very hard to find people who are originally from Kiev on streets. Mostly Kiev residents are from other regions of Ukraine.
Why do people prefer Kiev city from other regions of Ukraine ? Because Kiev is also economic center of Ukraine. Money is there so do people.
Kiev has also many universities, more than 37 universities locate in the city. So this is the reason why many foreign students are living in Kiev.
Kiev may be proud of its greenness, the city is really green and has a big arms of Dnieper River which surrounds the city, so these make the city one of the most beautiful city in Ukraine.
If you want to make business in Ukraine, certainly Kiev is the right place. Because unlike other cities, Kiev bureaucracy and people are used to work with foreign people and also, most English speakers in Ukraine are living in Kiev.
Kiev was certainly an European city before Maidan events. Before Maidan you could see thousands of tourist on the streets, life was more colorful, amusing and more safe. But during Maidan events (21 November 2013 – 30 March 2014) violence and savageness were dominant on the street of Kiev. And after events, tourist visits cut down and Kiev lost its old European days. Nowadays, Kiev gathers strength and i am sure that it will be again one of the top destinations in Europe. Kiev deserves this, just it needs time to bind.
Kiev has many sonorous cultural events, festivals, international fair and organizations, shopping malls, cinemas and theaters. These are the most preferable things for well educated people to socialize. Also, you can find many luxury hotels, European style apartments and high standards hospitals if you are a visitor.
Night life of Kiev is amazing. Hundred nights clubs and bars serve in high standards. They are relatively safe but expensive. You may find every kind of entertainment in Kiev. In my phase book for Ukraine, there is a sentence…. “There is nothing you can’t do in Ukraine, but less money”
Also infrastructure of Kiev is comparatively well constructed. Roads, sidewalks, and pedestrian regions are well-cared.
And the girls… If i forgot to say anything about girls of Kiev, this would be a pure mistake. Mostly, girls of Kiev are smiling, well educated, English speakers, attractive and well communicative. They are not against to communicate with foreign men. As demographic structure is colorful, you may find many different kind of girls in capital city of Ukraine, Kiev.
This was the capital city of Soviet Era. Demographic structure of Kharkov is uniform. Mostly Kharkov residents are from originally Kharkov region. There are also many people who are living in the city from Azerbaijan, Armenia, and other ex soviet countries. So the life is very different in Kharkov than Kiev. Mostly Russian mentally is dominant in Kharkov. Of course there are many people with European mentally there but generally, Russian roots rule out European mentally there.
The economical status in Kharkov is not good. There are rooted companies which try to survive in the city but the other ones come and go within short periods. The basic reason of this, Kharkov is one of the difficult cities in Ukraine to do business. Unfortunately, the corruption is everywhere, you can’t take a step in Kharkov bureaucracy without bribery.
People in Kharkov dislike foreign people, they prefer to not communicate and even some of them have hostile emotions against foreigners. So, English speakers are very less in the city, if you do not have a basic Russian language, it is very hard to survive in that city without a guide or a friend.
As bribery, cheating foreign people is also very epidemic in the city. So, if you have an idea to do business in Ukraine, i strongly recommend you to stay away from Kharkov.
Kharkov is not certainly an European city. I can easily describe that city “The city which wants to be an European city but it has no chance for this”. Kharkov is like a Russian city which was prefered by people of Soviet Central Asia. Of course, i don’t want to victimize that city unfairly but i could not see anything European in that city for 3 years.
Kharkov has very limited cultural events, festivals, organizations, shopping malls, cinemas and theaters. These are not a good situation for well educated people. If you are a visitor, then unfortunately, there is only one luxury European hotel in the city, in real teams. The apartments to rent are neglected and unsafely and there is no high standards hospitals or medical centers in the city.
Night life of Kharkov is doing so-so. There are few nights clubs and bars serve in high standards. They are relatively safe but expensive. And i advice you to stay away from unfamous clubs and bars if you are an alone foreigner. You can find yourself in a crowded fighting or even you can be robbed after nightclub. And another personal advice, never walk alone on the streets at dark and desolate places.
What about infrastructure of Kharkov? I can just say one word “it is ultimate awful”. For other words, you should get experience by yourself, and judge it.
Kharkov has 13 universities locate in the region. And also many asian and african students live in the city.
Kharkov is really gloomy and depressed city. It is very opposite of Kiev. Yes, city has some green areas but not enough for a large city.
And the girls… Final paragraph goes to girls. Mostly, girls of Kharkov are sullen, less educated, Russian speakers and non-communicative. Yes, they are well groomed and attractive as all girls in Ukraine but they are strongly against to communicate with foreign men. If a girl communicates with you instantly then you may suspect a scam situation. Non-communicate situation with foreigners is because of family structure of Kharkov. Kharkov is more family oriented city beside Kiev. So, eventually girls are less trickster when i compare with Kiev. As demographic structure is soul destroying, girls are mostly dark brunettes or hybrid reds and as a result of this, you may find same kind of girls in ex-capital city of Ukraine, Kharkov.
I prepare a table for readers who want to take a short look while comparing two major cities of Ukraine.
|Specification||Kiev||Kharkov||Who is Winner|
|Attitude to Foreigners||Friendly||Non-Companionable||Kiev|
|Demographic Structure||Colorful||Soul Destroying||Kiev|
|Number of Universities||37||13||Kiev|
|Accommodation||More than enough||Like a joke||Kiev|
|Shopping||Well equipped||Very Weak||Kiev|
|Healthcare||Enough||You need a good luck||Kiev|
|Family Structure||More Personal||Family Oriented||Kharkov|
|Safety Alarm||Yellow Alarm||Red Alarm||Kiev|
|Girls Beautifulness||Indisputable Leader||Very Dull||Kiev|
As you can see, Kiev is the leader in 19 fields of 21. So, if you want to live or even take a 5 days adventure trip, i recommend you to think twice if Kharkov is heavier in your decision scale.