Merefa. Map: IV-17. A city (2001 pop 25,018) on the Merefa River in Kharkiv raion, Kharkiv oblast. It was founded in the 17th century as a Cossack settlement and was a company center in Kharkiv regiment and the probable birthplace of the Zaporozhian otaman Ivan Sirko. Merefa played an important role in a popular uprising in 1670. In the early 18th century it was destroyed by the Crimean Tatars a number of times. Merefa attained city status in 1938. It is a railway junction and has several railway-related enterprises. It is the home of the Ukrainian Scientific Research Institute of Vegetable and Melon Cultivation. Archeologists have discovered several settlements from the Neolithic Period and the Bronze Age, a Scythian settlement (5th–3rd century BC), and a settlement of the Saltiv culture (8th–9th century AD).
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]