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C U   L T U R E
 
        From of old the land of Kharkov has been famous for outstanding figures of enlightenment and culture, poets, playwrights, artists, actors, who maked a considerable contribution to the national culture, the development of progressive ideas.  
      
        Free-thinking of the nation is manifested in the works of enlightener, philosopher and poet Grigory Skovoroda, whose book "Kharkov Fables" became part of Ukrainian literary heritage. In the middle of XVIII century he worked as a lecturer in the Kharkov Collegium; he often used to visit Babayi, Gusinka and other places in Kharkov region. Grigory Skovoroda died in the village of Pan-Ivanovka, in Slobozhan region and was buried here. In 1926 at the request of the residents the village was renamed Scovorodinovka; at present there is a museum of the prominent Ukrainian poet and thinker. Skovorodinovka became the pilgrimage site for all those who are concerned about the history and culture of Ukraine and Slobozhanshchina.  
     
       In the village of Kruchik in Kharkov region was born a well known public figure and scientist V. N. Karazin referred to by contemporaries as Ukrainian Lomonosov. It can be safely stated that he carried on Skovoroda's enlightenment work in the then Malorussia region, as he both started in 1805 and then sustained the initiative to open the University in Kharkov, second to be opened in Russia (almost at the same time as the Kazan University) and first in Ukraine. It must be admitted though that Karazin's activities were not viewed universally positively. He had antagonists and even direct opponents. Thus the courage of this singular man deserves even higher praise as he once said: "I am not afraid to look ridiculous as I strife to have time to be useful".  
       
         Kharkov University became the cradle of not only the national science, but  of the national culture also. Here were engaged in studies and work the Ukrainian composer N. V. Lysenko, the artist G. I. Semiradsky. Among the professors of the University were the founder of the national Slavonic studies I. I. Sreznevsky, philologist A. P. Potebnya, historians D. I. Bagaliy whose great achievement was a fundamental study of the eventful history of Slobozhan region, and D.I.Yavornitsky, known for a deep study of Zaporozh Cossacks. Ukrainian writer P. P. Gulak-Artemovsky headed the University in the first half of the XIX century.  
     
         Kharkov is the birthplace of the classic of Ukrainian literature Grigory Kvitka-Osnovyanenko. He spent many years helping to develop the drama theatre. He wrote here his best works, his comedies "Marriage Proposal in Goncharovka" and "Shelmenko-the-Batman" entered the repertory of not only Ukrainian but also foreign theatres.
     
         The traditions of the stage magicians M. S. Shchepkin, M. K. Zankovetskaya, N. K. Sadovsky, P. P. Saksagansky, who were engaged in Kharkov theatres, were taken on by the young actors, and the town was rightfully considered to be one of the theatrical centres of not only Ukraine but of the whole Russian state. Kharkov was often visited by the founder of Ukrainian professional theatre M. L. Kropivnitsky. In 1902, when he was already seriously ill, he settled in a small picturesque hamlet Zatishye in Kharkov region. Even here Mark Lukich did not stop working as intensively, helping to develop amateur country theatre.  
     
        The masterful works of unknown Kharkov artists are still extant today. Among their heritage are a lot of works depicting a favourite popular hero - Cossack Mamay, which is not unusual: the Slobozhan region is the land of free Cossack settlers, guarding the southern borders of the Russian state. Several pictures with the image of Kharko - according to one of the legends, he was the founder of the town of Kharkov - are a tribute to the struggle with the Tatar invaders. So was born the original Kharkov artist tradition, whose prominent followers later were P. A. Levchenko, M. S. Tkachenko, N. S. Samokish and others. Far and wide outside the borders of Ukraine is recognised the gifted artist S. I. Vasilkovsky, who once directly won the unanimous recognition of the French Academy in Paris. All his three pictures presented at the competition successfully made it to the Paris exhibition - a very unusual case. His best works "Spring in Ukraine", "Cossacks in a Field", "On the Donets", "Morning", "Cossacks Meadow" Vasilkovsky created under the impression of the history and landscapes of the native Slobozhan land. And just as the names of Maximilian Voloshin - and Crimea, Grin and Ayvasovsky - and Feodosia are indivisible in our minds, we can not imagine the Slobozhan region without Vasilkovsky. Another reason why Kharkovians should thankfully remember him is that the artist was actively engaged in the organisation of the town Arts museum.
     
         I. E. Repin was born in Kharkov region, too. "Here, in Chuguev I so much enjoy the beauties of the nature! - wrote the great artist. - What a miracle!!! I could never expect that I had been born, spent my childhood, adolescence, and youth surrounded by so marvellously majestic nature." His stay in the native land in the period of his artistic maturity was very productive as many of his well known works were created and  his famous "Zaporozhets's" was conceived. However, only a few people know that the crafty scribe in the centre of the picture is no one else than the historian of Zaporozhyean Cossacks D.I. Yavornitsky.  
      
        With Kharkov are also connected the names of the Ukrainian revolutionary poet P. A. Grabovsky and the eminent cultural figure Gnat Hotkevich. The latter is worth a special reference. His versatility was ingenious: the first known step of his creativity was his defence of the degree work in the Technological Institute - Hotkevich suggested quite a new type of steam engine. After that, however, the future poet quickly realised that his goal was not to express itself in mechanics. During his youth (which coincided with the revolution years) he was engaged into a great task of the Ukrainian spirit revival through preservation and restoration of cultural traditions. The witnesses to the degree of his success in this field are Kharkov school of bandura play (by the way, the technology of making this musical instrument is part of this school), the organisation of remarkable folk choruses in Slobozhan and Lvov regions, poetical works, and the very martyrdom that he accepted for his deeds during the repression period. We don't want to leave hope that the huge tetrapartite novel by Hotkevich left to us as his heritage will yet be published, and that grateful Kharkovians will make their tribute to it.
     
        The revolution and post-revolution years (1917 - 1934) were a major turning point in the history of Kharkov that became the capital of Ukraine at that time. They were a great boost to the development of cultural life of the city and the region. The industrial breakthrough that brought Kharkov among the ten biggest cities of Soviet Union, accompanied by an immense increase of the technical and scientific creativity was balanced by the enthusiasm of the adherents of arts and culture. It was a period of constructivism in architecture. A peculiar landmark of this trend is the famous GOSPROM building (State Industry House). The amazed Vladimir Mayakovsky greeted it in this way:
  
City looks like as bandaged
                     with the railway lines,
                                          
as Ukrainian capital
                    Kharkov is hooting,
 
    full of life,
            full of labour,
                     full of concret designs.

 

       It was a period of innovation in painting and literature. Kharkov becomes the centre of the developing Ukrainian Soviet literature. A number of literary unions were organised and active here in 1920's: "Molodnyak", "Gart", "Pluhg", "Vapliteh", "Politfront". Such authors as Maxim Gorky, Alexey Tolstoy, Edward Bagritsky, Mikhail Svetlov willingly come here to meetings with the readers. Kharkov was also visited by prominent foreign writers - Henri Barbusse, Martin Andersen-Nekse, Julius Fuchik, Theodore Dreiser. Friendly contacts with the authors of Soviet Russia and progressive figures of culture from foreign countries contributed to further development of creative talents of Alexander Dovzhenko and Yury Yanovsky, Andrey Golovko and Yury Smolich, Oles Donchenko and Mikola Trublayini, Ivan Mikitenko and Alexander Kopylenko, Pavlo Tychina and Vladimir Sossyura who then lived in Kharkov. The All Ukrainian History and Arts Gallery was organised here. The number of theatres is growing (there 14! of them immediately before the War), with innovation productions staged with great success. To name but one there was "Myna Mazaylo" by Les Kurbas. Very successful were on Kharkov stages the productions "Platon Crechet", "The Fall of the Armada", "Bogdan Khmelnitsky" by Alexander Korneychuck. Kharkovians admired the talents of N. M. Uzhviy, A. M. Buchma, I. A. Maryanenko, D. S. Antonovich, B. R. Gmyrya, I. S. Kozlovsky, Z. M. Gayday, I. M. Litvinenko-Volgemut, I. S. Patorzhinsky, M. S. Grishko and many other gifted actors and singers who had a great success on the stage in pre-war Kharkov.
       
        A lot of attention was paid by Karkovian actors and directors, writers and poets to the problem of folk art development in towns and villages of the region. As early as before the war, hundreds of amateur drama theatres, chorus and opera-studios, folk instrument groups were active in Kharkov region aided by the Region House of Folk Art. An usual and every day event in out-of-the-way rural places was at that time an opening of a new schools, libraries, Palaces of Culture, or clubs.
       And suddenly the war... The Kharkov land was suffering the Nazi occupation for twenty three months, and here is what the liberators saw on the 23 August 1943. All rail way nodes were destroyed and bunt down, plants and factories broken down and plundered, fields and gardens rugged with craters. Here is an extract from an address of the Kharkov regional party committee to the people of the region: "... the Germans killed, hanged, buried alive, and starved to death our kinfolk and friends... More than one hundred thousand of freedom-loving Kharkovians were driven by the Nazi bandits to the German servitude. Look at the terrible ruins of our home town - they are the convicting witnesses of the dominion of the Nazi scoundrels. Plants and factories, schools and higher education institutes, libraries and theatres, stadiums and parks, beautiful squares and our dear homes were destroyed, devastated by the German brutes. Workers! Industrious intelligentsia! We call you to hard and devoted work to revive the town..."
     
        Thanks to the heroic efforts of Kharkovians and to brotherly help and support of other Soviet nations at the end of 1950's Kharkov again becomes one of the biggest industrial centres of the country.  The system of education was restored and extended. Theatres, museums, libraries were rebuilt again. The number of amateur artists and folk art craftsmen is growing. By the 1980's there are already about 700 of them in the region. An indication of the rapid cultural development of the Slobozhan region was the organisation of a great number of museums, including literary memorial museum of Georgius Scovoroda in the village of Scovorodinovka, the I. E. Repin museum in Chuguev, Museum of History and Arts in the village of Parkhomovka: even today Kharkov artists consider it an honour to have a personal exhibition here. In Kharkov proper there acted two biggest museums in Soviet Ukraine - the Historical Museum and the Arts Museum with more than fifteen thousand works of art drawing sculpture, folk art by native and foreign artists.  And in 1988 the very important event had been happened in Kharkov's cultural life: the inauguration of Literature Museum which undertook the renovation and care of  Ukraine cultural legacy, the history of it's literature, as well as organizing of meetings, festivals and exhibitions in the literatural drawing-room, persued the search for new talants. We make bold to affirm that during the 'perestroyka' period (the 90-th) which was the growing-up time for museum it converted self into one of the most interesting cultural establishments of Ukraine. Thanks to museum collaborators the Kharkovians reopened the names Les Kurbas, Gnat Hotkevich, Mykola Khvylyoviy, Vasil Stus for themselves as well as the invigorationg saurce of ukrainian folk-lore.   
      
         Thanks to the ntiative of city major of that time E.P.Kushnaryov the second edition of historical work of D.I.Bagaliy, D.P.Miller "The Kharkov City History during the 250 years of its existance" had been accomplished in the 90-th, the Municipal Art Gallery had been opened. In 1998 one more unic edition appeared - the album "The Paths of Art in Kharkiv Region", dedicated to the 60-th anniversary of Kharkov Department of the United Artists of Ukrain. Nowaday the beatiful Gallery functions in the City. It belongs to the AVEC concern, which spares many attention also the restoration and keeping of the Kharkov sights. Last years Kharkov City is famous for its operatic music festivals, there is also very interesting Klaudia Sulzhenko annual festival of variety singers, and children's creative work festivals achieve the international level very quickly as usual.  The Kharkov Region Days in Kiev, that had taken place n summer 2001, quite striked the Kiev public and make to  recognize that Kharkov is staying the spiritual capital of Ukraine. So the cultural Kharkov meets the new millenium beginning with the feelings of self-respect and enthusiasm, in waiting of accuaintance with new talants.  
 

   3.09.2001

 
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