Poltava (Połtawa) is a city in central Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Poltava Oblast (province), as well as the administrative center of the surrounding Poltavskyi Raion (district) within the oblast. The city itself is also designated as its own separate raion within the oblast. The current estimated population is 313,400 (as of 2004).
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 attested before 1174, municipal authorities chose to celebrate the town's 1100th anniversary in 1999, for reasons unknown. The settlement is indeed an old one, 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), tsar Peter the First, commanding 45,000 troops, defeated at Poltava a Swedish army of 17,000 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 "completely defeated" in Russian. The battle marked the end of Sweden as a great power and the rise of Russia as one.
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. As Peter the Great celebrated his victory in the Saviour church, this 17th-century wooden shrine was carefully preserved to this day. The five-domed city cathedral, dedicated to the Exaltation of the Cross, is a superb monument of Cossack Baroque, built between 1699 and 1709. As a whole, the cathedral presents a unity which even the Neoclassical belltower has failed to mar. Another frothy Baroque church, dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos, was destroyed in 1934 and rebuilt in the 1990s.
Village Rozsoshenci is officialy considered to be outside the city, but actually constitutes a part of Poltava agglomeration
Transportation in Poltava is well-developed. The city has two major train stations, and rail links with the cities of Kiev, Kharkiv, and Kremenchuk. The line towards Kiev is electrified and is used by the Poltava Express, a regular service with comfortable carriages. Electrification of the Poltava-Kharkiv line was completed in August 2008. Avtovokzal is the city's intercity bus station. Buses for local municipal routes park along Shevchenko street.
City transportation is represented by the following:
Poltava has a domestic airport, situated outside the city limits near the village of Ivashki. The international highway M 03 linking Poltava with Kiev and Kharkiv passes through the southern outskirts of Poltava city. There is also a regional highway P-17 crossing Poltava and linking it with Kremenchuk and Sumy.