Poltava – one of the most interesting towns of Ukraine – is situated on the picturesque bank of the river Vorskla.
Due to its history Poltava is of great interest. It was first mentioned in chronicles as Ltava in 1174. This old name changed only in 1430. The history of Poltava is full of different events. Since 1569 it was a part of Poland. And only in 1667 it became a part of Russia. The town is also well-known thanks to Poltava battle, when Peter the Great with his army defeated the Swedish army of Karl XII.
The Ukrainian writer Kotlyarevsky wrote about Poltava in his works. Poltava and its region is also connected with the name of M. V. Gogol, who described its landscapes in his stories.
Now Poltava is a modern town and a regional centre. Machine-building, metal-working, food and light industries are well developed there. It is also a large railway junction.
Poltava has many scientific-research institutes and 5 higher educational establishments. There are two theatres – the Ukrainian Music and Drama Theatre and the Puppet Theatre, and the Philharmonic Society in the town.
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 Poltava and featuring 18 Swedish cannons captured in that battle. The five-domed city cathedral, dedicated to the Exaltation of the Cross, is a superb monument of Cossack Baroque, built between 1699 and 1709. Another frothy Baroque church, dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos, was destroyed in 1934 and rebuilt in the 1990s.
The Museum of Regional Studies is one of the oldest in Ukraine, it was founded in 1891. There are more than 136 thousand displays, including unique collections of Ukrainian carpets, national costumes and antique weapon.