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 established until 1174, municipal authorities chose to celebrate the town's 1100th anniversary in 1999, for unknown reasons. The settlement is an old one indeed, 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 Polish 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 Empire.
In the Battle of Poltava on June 27, 1709 (Old Style), or 8 July (New Style), Czar Peter the Great, commanding 45,000 troops, defeated at Poltava a Swedish army of 29,000 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 "totally helpless" in Russian and Ukrainian idiom. The battle marked the end of Sweden as a great power and the rise of Russia as one.
The city played host to the Mir Yeshiva during World War I and up until 1921.
Zhovtneva Street is the heart of the city of Poltava. There are numerous restaurants, shops and attractions along it. Start at the centre of town, in a circular park surrounded by white buildings modeled after St. Petersburg. In the centre of the park is a tall monument dedicated to the 1709 Battle of Poltava. From there take the underground passage. Immediately after coming back above ground go left for one block towards the Poltava Art museum. On the right will be Hudozhney Salon, a place to buy traditional Ukrainian crafts. On the right will be Gogol Theatre, which holds classical concerts for very reasonable prices. On the corner next to Gogol is the Dominic Candy store. The street passes through two blocksof a park; on the right there is a statue of Ukraine's beloved poet Taras Shevchenko; across the street there is the Poltava local history museum which covers local art, peasant life, the battle of Poltava and natural history--the feature piece being a mastodon skeleton. Continuing down Zhovtneva you'll pass Spaska church on the left side of the street , which was built in 1705-06. On the right is Arabeska restaurant. When dining there ask for the table surrounded by live animals. The street ends at Uspenska Church. The bell tower is from the seventeenth century but the actual church is new. Behind the church is a peculiar monument to halushky, a local dish consisting of boiled pieces of dough. Next to the halushky monument is the former home, now museum of Ukrainian writer Kotlyarevsky. Across the street is Ivana Hora, which locals will tell you is the most expensive restaurant in town but is actually relatively affordable. The street finally ends at eight white columns in a horse shoe shape known as the Friendship Rotunda. This is a vantage point where you can see the lower section of Poltava which is best seen at night.
Where to stay
7 Frunze Street
How to get to Poltava
You can get there by train or bus. It is 336 km from Kiev.
Where to eat:
Kovpaka 26 Shopping Mall 26 + 380 532 61 5551