Kharkiv (Ukrainian) or Kharkov (Russian) is the second-largest city of Ukraine. Located in the north-east of the country, it is the largest city of the Slobozhanshchyna historical region. By its territorial expansion on September 6, 2012 the city increased its area from about 310 to 350 square kilometres (120 to 140 sq mi).
The city was founded in 1654 and was a major centre of Ukrainian culture in the Russian Empire. Kharkiv was the first city in Ukraine to acknowledge Soviet power in December 1917 and later became the capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Kharkiv remained the capital of the Ukrainian SSR until January 1934, when it was moved to Kiev. Currently, it is the administrative centre of the Kharkiv Oblast as well as the administrative centre of the surrounding Kharkiv district, while the city itself has a special status within the region.
Kharkiv is a major cultural, scientific, educational, transport and industrial centre of Ukraine, with 60 scientific institutes, 30 establishments of higher education, 6 museums, 7 theatres and 80 libraries. Its industry specializes primarily in machinery. There are hundreds of industrial companies in the city. Among them are globally important giants like the Morozov Design Bureau and the Malyshev Tank Factory (leaders in world tank production in the 1930s through 1980s); Khartron (aerospace and nuclear electronics); and the Turboatom turbines producer.
There is an underground rapid-transit system (metro) with about 38.1 km (24 mi) of track and 29 stations. A well-known landmark of Kharkiv is the Freedom Square (Ploshcha Svobody formerly known as Dzerzhinsky Square), which is currently the sixth largest city square in Europe, and the 12th largest square in the world.