Located between Kharkiv and Kyiv in Ukraine, Poltava is best known as the site of a 1709 battle between a coalition of Cossacks, led by Mazepa, and the Swedes (Charles XII) against the Russian army of Czar Peter I. The subsequent Russian victory in battle established Russians prominent position in Europe and consequently Ukraine as decline.
The battlefield and its monuments are the major draw. Places to see in the town include the October Park, the gun-barrel-shaped Column of Glory and the Spassky Church, which is actually an outer shell protecting an earlier, wooden church inside.
It is still unknown when the city was founded. Within the city limits the archeologists unearthed a Paleolithic dwelling as well as the Scythian remains. The present name of the city is traditionally connected to the settlement Ltava which is mentioned in the Hypatian Chronicle.
The city belonged to Lithuania from the 14th century. Polish administration took over in 1569. In the 16-17th cc. it belonged to Pereyaslav Kniazhestvo (Principality). In 1648 Poltava was captured by the Polish magnate (of ruthenian descent) Jeremi WiÅ›niowiecki (1612-51). Poltava was the base of a distinguished Polk (Regiment) of the Ukrainian Cossacks. In 1667 Poltava became a part of the Russian Empire.