KlIARKOFF, the chief town of the above government, is situated in 56° 37' N. lat. and 25° 5' E. long., in the valley of the Donets, 462 miles from Moscow and 137 miles from Kursk. It has railway communication northward by Kursk and southward to Mariupol on the Sea of Azoff and to Odessa by Poltava and Balta. The four annual fairs are among the busiest in Russia, more especially the Krestchenskaya or Epiphany fair, which is opened on the 6th (18th) January. The turn-over is estimated at from S3,000,000 to £4,000,000. Thousands of horses are bought and sold. At the Trinity (Troitsa) fair in June an extensive business (S800,000) is done in wool. A great variety of manufactured goods are produced in the town - linen, felt, sugar (especially from beetroot), tobacco, brandy, soap, candles, cast-iron. Besides a flourishing university, instituted in 1805, and attended in 1879 by 720 male and 163 female students, Kharkoff possesses an observatory, a large veterinary college, a botanical garden, a theological seminary, and several important institutions of beneficence. The university- building was formerly a royal palace. The library contained in 1878 98,000 volumes; and the zoological collections are especially rich in the birds and fishes of southern Russia. Extensive barracks are maintained in the town. Public gardens occupy the site of the ancient military works ; and the Government has a model farm in the neighbourhood. Of the Orthodox churches one has the rank of cathedral. The population of Kharkoff was 59,96S in 1867, and 101,175 in 1879.
The foundation of Kharkoff is assigned to the year 1650, and the name is at least popularly- connected with that of Khariton, the Cossack originator of the settlement ; but there is archaeological evidence of a much earlier occupation of the district, if not of the site. The Cossacks of Icha•koff remained faithful to the czar during the rebellions of the latter part of the 17th century ; in return they received a variety of privileges, and continued to be a strong advance guard of the Russian power, till the final subjugation of all the southern region. Along with other military settlements Kharkoff was placed on a new footing in 1765 ; and at the same time it became the administrative centre of the Ukraine. It has been the government town from the establishment of the government in 1780. For plan see Reclus, Geographic Unirersclle, vol. v. p. 807.