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Alexander Square in 1850
Korpusniy park in the city centre

Poltava ( ) is a city in central Ukrainemarker. It is the administrative center of the Poltava Oblastmarker, as well as the administrative center of the surrounding Poltavskyi Raion within the oblast. The city itself is also designated as its own separate raion within the oblast. The current estimated population is 313,400 (as of 2004). The city lies on the banks of the river Vorskla.


It is still unknown when the city was founded. Baltavar Kubrat's grave was found in its vicinity, and its name derives from the title he, his predecessors and his successors bore. Though the town was not attested before 1174, municipal authorities chose to celebrate the town's 1100th anniversary in 1999, for reasons unknown. The settlement is indeed an old one, as archeologists unearthed a Paleolithic dwelling as well as Scythian remains within the city limits.

The present name of the city is traditionally connected to the settlement Ltava which is mentioned in the Hypatian Chronicle in 1174. The region belonged to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from the 14th century. The Polishmarker administration took over in 1569. In 1648 Poltava was captured by the Ruthenian-Polish magnate Jeremi Wiśniowiecki (1612-51). Poltava was the base of a distinguished regiment of the Ukrainian Cossacks. In 1667 the town passed to the Russian Empiremarker.

In the Battle of Poltavamarker on June 27-28, 1709 (Old Style), or 8 July (New Style), tsar Peter the First, commanding 53,000 troops, defeated a Swedishmarker army of 19,000 troops led by Field Marshal Carl Gustaf Rehnskiöld (who had received the command of the army after the wounding of the Swedish king Charles XII on June 17). "Like a Swede at Poltava" remains a simile for "completely defeated" in Russian. The battle marked the end of Swedenmarker as a great power and the rise of Russiamarker as one.

In 1775, Poltava's Monastery of the Exaltation of the Cross ( , Krestovozdvizhensky Monastyr) became the seat of bishops of the newly created Eparchy (Diocese) of Slaviansk and Kherson. This large new diocese included the lands of the Novorossiya Governorate and Azovmarker Governorate north of the Black Seamarker. Since much of that area had been only recently conquered by Russia from the Ottoman Empire, and a large number of Orthodox Greek settlers had been invited to settle in the region, the Imperial Government picked a renowned Greek scholar, Eugenios Voulgaris to preside over the new diocese. After his retirement in 1779, he was replaced by another Greek theologian, Nikephoros Theotokis.

In World War II, after the Red Army had cleared the Wehrmacht out of the Eastern Ukraine by the end of 1943 during the Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive, by the summer of 1944 the allied USAAF conducted a number of shuttle bombing raids against the Third Reich under the name of Operation Frantic, and used purpose-built bases in the Poltava area, as well as near Myrgorodmarker, as eastern locations for landing B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers involved in those operations.


The centre of the old city is a semicircular Neoclassical square with the Tuscan column of cast iron (1805-11), commemorating the centenary of the Battle of Poltavamarker and featuring 18 Swedish cannons captured in that battle. As Peter the Great celebrated his victory in the Saviour church, this 17th-century wooden shrine was carefully preserved to this day. The five-domed city cathedral, dedicated to the Exaltation of the Cross, is a superb monument of Cossack Baroque, built between 1699 and 1709. As a whole, the cathedral presents a unity which even the Neoclassical belltower has failed to mar. Another frothy Baroque church, dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos, was destroyed in 1934 and rebuilt in the 1990s.

Administrative divisions

The city is divided into three raions, or districts.

  • Oktiabrski raion, to the south-west with an area of 2077 hectares and a population of 147,600 in 2005. It's a largely residential area and includes the city centre.

  • Kyivski raion, is the largest by area, comprising 5437 hectares, or 52.8% of the city total situated in the north and north-west. Its census in 2005 was 111,900. This district has a large industrial zone.

  • Leninski raion, to the east and south-east, in the valley of the Vorskla river, with an area of 2988 hectares and a population of 53,700 in 2005.

The village of Rozsoshenci is officially considered to be outside the city, but actually constitutes a part of Poltava agglomeration.

Transport and infrastructure

Railway station "Kyivskiy vokzal"
Transportation in Poltava is well-developed. The city has two major railway stations, and railway links with the cities of Kievmarker, Kharkivmarker, Kremenchukmarker and Krasnograd. The lines towards Kiev and Kharkiv are electrified and are used by an express train, a regular service with comfortable carriages. Electrification of the Poltava-Kharkiv line was completed in August 2008. Avtovokzal is the city's intercity bus station. Buses for local municipal routes depart from "AC-2" (autostation #2 - along Shevchenko street) and "AC-3" (Zinkivska street).

City transportation is represented by the following: Ticket prices for that kinds of city transport are respectively 0.75 UAH, 1.00 UAH and 1.25 UAH (as of June 2009).

Poltava has a domestic airport, situated in 5 km west outside the city limits near the village of Ivashki. The international highway M 03 (E40), which links Poltava with Kiev and Kharkiv, passes through the southern outskirts of Poltava city. There is also a regional highway P-17 crossing Poltava and linking it with Kremenchuk and Sumymarker.
Pedestrians on Zhovtneva street

Education & Science

Poltava has always been one of the most important science and education centres in Ukraine. Major universities and institutions of higher education include the following:

  • Poltava gravimetric observatory (PGO) is situated a bit north from city centre (27-29 Miasoyedov st.). It's main work directions are measurments of Earth rotation, latitude variations (applying zenit stars observations, lunar occultation observations and other)
  • Observational station of PGO in rural area, some 20 km east along the M03-E40 highway. Radiotelescope URAN-2 (Ukrainian: УРАН-2) is situated there too.

Famous people from Poltava and its region


The most popular sport is football. Two professional football teams are based in the city: Vorskla Poltava in the Ukrainian Premier League and FC Poltava in the Druha Liha.There are 3 stadiums in Poltava: Butovsky Vorskla Stadiummarker (main city stadium) and 'Dynamo' are situated in the city centre and 'Lokomotiv' which is situated in Podil district.


A minor planet 2983 Poltava discovered in 1981 by Sovietmarker astronomer Nikolai Stepanovich Chernykh is named after the city.


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