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Civic Heraldry of Ukraine


The history of the arms of the city of Kharkiv is rather complex. The oldest arms of the city, known from the early 17th century, showed a bow and arrow. These arms, of unknown meaning or origin, were used until 1781. On September 21, 1781, the city was granted new arms, showing a horn of plenty (cornucopia) and a staff of Mercury, symbols for agriculture and trade.

The arms until 1781.

The arms from 1781.

On July 5, 1878 the arms were replaced. The new arms showed a horse-head, symbol for the famous stud farms in the city, with in the chief two coins and a star (see above). The coins symbolised trade and wealth, the star the new university. These arms were, at the request of the nobility, replaced by the old 1781 arms again on May 21, 1887.

The arms with the staff and cornucopia remained in use until 1918. During Soviet times the city had no official arms until December 26, 1968. The new arms were a typical example of Soviet heraldry, showing a wheel for industry, an atom for knowledge and a wheat-ear for agriculture, as well as the name of the city.

The arms from 1968-1995.

Finally, on September 14, 1995, the city council adopted the arms from 1878 again as the new city arms.

Literature : Panyenko, 1996; Ukrainian heraldry

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