The National Park "Homilshansky Forests" was founded in 2004. The park is located in the valley of the Seversky Donets and Gomilsha rivers, at a 45 km distance from the city of Kharkiv. The total area is 14314.8 hectares, of which 3377.3 hectares are in constant use of the park.
The uniqueness of the local landscapes was noted even at the times of Peter the Great, at the beginning of the 18th century. A decree was signed on the approval of the status of "Protected naval grove". Since 1914, scientists at the University of Kharkiv, headed by Professor V. M. Arnoldi, offered to grant this territory a protected status, as it represents a valuable reserve for rare, relic and endemic species of plants and animals. It is known that in the beginning of the XX century protection was granted to a part of the age-old forest, which borders with the spot designated to the Donetsk biological station.
In the 1970s, the "Homilshansky Forest Cottage" was founded, which prompted the appearance of the recreation centers nearby. The national park was created on the basis of this "forest cottage". The main purpose of the park was to preserve, reproduce and rationalize the use of typical to this area but overall unique forest-steppe natural areas in the valley of the Siversky Donets river.
Now in the national park there are 138 species of rare plants and 132 species of endangered animals. A distinguished relic among the animals is a colorful lizard that inhabited the planet in the time of the glacial period.
Among the plant relics are high spruce trees. The area they grow on is nicknamed "a branch office of the Siberian taiga". In addition, about 500 hectares of 150-year-old oak forests are being preserved, where you can find 300-400-year-old trees and even an oak, which is almost 600 years old - the oldest oak in Ukraine.
The "Homilshansky Forests" are unique also in the aspect of archeology. The territory of the park preserved settlements dating back to the Bronze Age, which belonged to the Scythians, the Alans and the ancient Slavs. There are about one thousand kurgans (a type of burial mound) alone in the Homilshansky Forests. Both the Velikohomilshansky settlement, which is surrounded by an earth shaft with a burial mound (with more than a thousand mounds and other monuments of the Scythian times of VI-III centuries B.C.) and the Sukhohomilshansky archeological complex with medieval defensive walls, settlements, burial structures of VIII-X century, the remains of which have survived until our times, present great historical value. The remains of the St. Nicholas Monastery, founded in 1648 by the Zaporozhian cossacks, which was the last center of the freedom-loving Cossacks in Ukraine, are also preserved to this day.