Dnipropetrovsk (Ukrainian: Дніпропетровськ [dnʲiprope̝trou̯sʲk]) or Dnepropetrovsk (Russian: Днепропетровск) formerly Yekaterinoslav (Russian: Екатеринослав, Ukrainian: Катеринослав, translit. Katerynoslav, also Catharinoslav on old maps) is Ukraine's third largest city with 1.1 million inhabitants. It is located southeast of Ukraine's capital Kiev on the Dnieper River, in the south-central region of the country. Dnipropetrovsk is the administrative center of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast (province).Within the Dnipropetrovsk Metropolitan area there are 1,860,000 people (2001).
A vital industrial center of Ukraine, Dnipropetrovsk was one of the key centers of the nuclear, arms, and space industries of the former Soviet Union. In particular, it is home to Yuzhmash, a major space and ballistic missile designer and manufacturer. Because of its military industry, the city was a closed city until the 1990s.Dnipropetrovsk has a highly-developed public transportation system, including the Dnipropetrovsk Metro, which consists of one metro line with a total of 6 stations.
Previous Names of the City
In 1918 Yekaterinoslav was renamed Sicheslav by the Ukrainian People's Republic; this name lapsed in 1919.
Time-line of name change
Yekaterinoslav 1776–1782, reestablished 1783–1797
The first people settled around the bend of the Dnieper River about 15,000 years ago. Traces of this settlement were discovered on Monastyrsky Island (Монастырском острове). this unique island appears throughout the history of Prydniprovia, as a consistent center of events as well as the ancient nucleus of the city. After the last Ice Age (10,000 years ago) the settling of the Prydniprovia area began more intensely. In c.3500–2700 BC the first farmers lived here (the so-called Cucuteni-Trypillia culture people).
The Cimmerians, ancient equestrian nomads who bred cattle, occupied the North Pontic steppe zone including Prydniprovye; their culture and civilization flourished between about 1000 and 800 BC The Cimmerians were driven out by the nomadic Scythians (700 BC), who in turn were overcome by the Sarmatians from the East (200 BC).
The mighty, broad Dnieper River (Greeks called it the Borysthenes, 'Borysphen' in local pronunciation) with its picturesque islands and peaceful backwaters, lush flood-meadows and shadowy oak woods stretches along river valleys and ravines. Abundant game and fish in local forests and waters are a result of good climate and vast fertile land... All this attracted hunters, fishers, cattle-breeders and land-tillers to these parts.
In the 3rd and 4th century AD, about 40 km south of the modern city, the village of Baszmacka (Башмачка) was one of the centers of the Goths. A little later their place was taken by first the Huns, the Avars, the Bulgars, and the Magyars. After them the Slavs began to settle in the area.
The middle ages
Kipchak steppe art near the Historical Museum, Karla Marksa ProspektA monastery was founded by Byzantine monks on Monastyrsky Island, probably in the 9th century (870 AD). The Dnipropetrovsk area was ruled by a steppe nomadic people called the Cumans or Kipchaks who ruled this area until the Mongol invasions. The Mongols destroyed the monastery in 1240.
The collection of so-called ‘Stony Women’ in the garden of the Museum of History in Karla Marksa was created by the Kipchaks. Actually they are not females, and are a modular collection from neighboring barrows. In the past they served as the index points for the steppe inhabitants.
At the beginning of the 15th century, Tartar tribes inhabiting the right bank of the Dnieper were driven away by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Unfortunately, by the mid-15th century, the Nogai (who lived north of the Sea of Azov) and the Crimean Khanate invaded these lands. The Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Crimean Khanate agreed to a border along the Dnieper, and further east along the river Samara, through what is today the city of Dnipropetrovsk. It was in this time that there appeared a new force – the free people – Cossacks – Zaporiz'ki Kazaky (Zaporizhya – the lands south of Prydniprovye, translate as "The Land after the Weirs [Rapids]"). This was a period of raids and fighting causing considerable devastation in that area; the area became known as the 'Wilderness' (Russian Дикое поле; Ukrainian Дике Поле).
The first fortified town in what is now Dnipropetrovsk was probably built in the mid-16th century. In 1635, the Polish Government built the Kodak fortress above the Dnieper Rapids at Kodaky (on the south-eastern outskirts of modern Dnipropetrovsk), partly as a result of rivalry in the region of Poland, Turkey and Russia, and partly to maintain control over Cossack activity, actually to suppress the Cossacks and not allow flight to the peasants. In the opinion of some historians this event is the time of foundation of the city. It is underlined, however, that the town of Stari (Old) Kodaki (that was near the fortress) existed also before the time of Cossacks in these places. The fortress did not become completely Polish – practically at once it was won. On the night of 3/4 August 1635, the Cossacks of Ivan Sulyma captured the fort by surprise, burning it down and butchering the garrison of about 200 West European mercenaries under Jean Marion.The fort was rebuilt by French engineer Guillaume le Vasseur de Beauplan for the Polish Government in 1638, and had a mercenary garrison. Kodak was captured by Zaporozhian Cossacks on 1 October 1648, and was garrisoned by the Cossacks until its demolition in accordance with the Treaty of the Pruth in 1711. The ruins of the Kodak are visible now. There is a currently a project to restore it and create a tourist center and park-museum.
However, after the signing by Bohdan Khmelnytsky of the agreement about the Union with Moscow, the territory officially passed under the authority of the Russians. But actually, Prydniprovye lands remained as a self-controlled, sub-borderian area up to the end of the 18th century.
The Zaporozhian village of Polovytsia was founded in the late-1760s, between the settlements of Stari (Old) and Novi (New) Kodaky, territorially was eastern remote part of Novi Kojdaky. It was located at the present central part of the city (downtown) to the West to district of Central terminal and farmer market Ozyorka. Uptown, which was built up later as an official center district by Ivan Starov's development plan of Yekaterinoslav, at Cossack era was empty steppe hill place with lack of water source.
1775–1917: Modern city establishment
The city that is now called Dnipropetrovsk was founded as part of the expansion of the Russian Empire into the lands north of the Black Sea, known as the Novorossiysk gubernia. The city was originally known as Yekaterinoslav, which translates in English to "The glory of Yekaterina" (Catherine the Great). It became the administrative center of the Yekaterinoslav Governorate.
Cossack and Russian armies fought against the Ottoman Empire for control of this area in the Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774). The Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca ended this war in July 1774; and in May 1775 the Russian army destroyed the Zaporozhian Sich, thus eliminating the political independence of Cossacks. In 1774 Prince Grigori Potemkin was appointed governor of Novorossiysk gubernia, and after the destruction of the Zaporozhian Sich, he started founding cities in the region and encouraging foreign settlers. The city of Yekaterinoslav was founded in 1776, not in the current location, but at the confluence of the River Samara with the River Kil'chen' at Loshakivka, north of the Dnieper. By 1782, the city population was 2,194. However the site had been badly chosen because spring waters were transforming the city into a bog. the settlement was later renamed Novomoskovsk.
In 1783, Yekaterinoslav was founded on its current site, on the south bank of the Dnieper, near the Zaporozhian village of Polovytsia. The population of Yekaterinoslav-Kil'chen' were (according to some sources) transferred to the new site. Potemkin's plans for the city were extremely ambitious; it was to be about 30 km by 25 km in size, and included:
Transfiguration Cathedral (the claim that it was intended to be the largest in the world probably results from confusing Potemkin's reference to San Paulo-fuori-le-mura in Rome with St Peter's Basilica.)
The Potemkin palace
A magnificent university (never built)
A botanical garden on Monastyrskyi Island
Wide straight avenues through the city.
The site for the Potemkin palace was bought from retired Cossack yesaul (colonel) Lazar' Globa, who owned much of the land near the city. Part of Lazar' Globa's gardens still exist and are now called Globa Park.
A combination of Russian red tape, defective workmanship, and theft resulted in what was built being less than originally planned. Construction stopped after the death of Potemkin and his sponsor, Empress Catherine. Plans were reconsidered and scaled back. The size of the cathedral was reduced, and it was completed in 1835. From 1797 to 1802 the city was called Novorossiysk.
Despite the bridging of the Dnieper in 1796 and the growth of trade in the early 19th century, Yekaterinoslav remained small until the 1880s, when the railway was built and industrialization of the city began. The boom was caused by two men: John Hughes, a Welsh businessman who built an iron works at what is now Donetsk in 1869–72, and developed the Donetsk coal deposits and Alexandr Pol', a Ukrainian who accidentally discovered the Kryvyi Rih iron ores in 1866, during archaeological research.
The Donetsk coal was necessary for smelting pig-iron from the Kryvyi Rih ore, producing a need for railway to connect Donetsk with Kryvyi Rih. Permission to build the railway was given in 1881, and it opened in 1884. The railway crossed the Dnieper at Yekaterinoslav. The city grew quickly; new suburbs appeared: Amur, Nizhnedniprovsk and the factory areas developed. In 1897, Yekaterinoslav became the third city in the Russian Empire to have electric trams. The Higher Mining School opened in 1899, and by 1913 it had grown into the Mining Institute.
Russian defeat in the Russo-Japanese War in 1905 resulted in revolts against the Tsar in many places including Yekaterinoslav. Tens of people were killed and hundreds wounded. There was a wave of anti-semitic attacks.
From 1902 to 1933, the famous historian of the Zaporozhian Cossacks, Dmytro Yavornytsky, was Director of the Dnipropetrovsk Museum, which was later named after him. Before his death in 1940, Yavornytsky wrote a History of the City of Yekaterinoslav, which lay in manuscript for many years. It was only published in 1989 as a result of the Gorbachev reforms.
1917–1919: Civil War
After the Russian February revolution in 1917 Yekaterinoslav became a city within autonomy of Ukrainian People's Republic under Tsentralna Rada government. In November 1917 the Bolsheviks led a rebellion and got power for a short time. The city experienced occupation of German and Austrian-Hungarian armies that were allies of Ukrainian Hetman Pavlo Skoropadskyi and helped him to keep authority in the country.
During power of Ukrainian Directorate government with its dictator Symon Petlura the city had periods of uncertain power; at times the anarchists of Nestor Makhno held the city, and at others Denikin's Volunteer Army. Military operations of the Red Army which was headed from the North brought captured the city in 1919, and despite attempts by Russian General Wrangel in 1920, he was unable to reach Yekaterinoslav, with War ending the following year.
1919–1991: in the Soviet Union & under Nazi rule
The city was renamed after the Communist leader of Ukraine Grigory Petrovsky in 1926.During the German occupation of Ukraine in World War II, the city gave its name to one of the six generalbezirke in which a Nazi Generalkommissar was in charge under the authority of the Reichskommissar in Kiev. Dnipropetrovsk was an important center of Jewish life, and 80,000 Jews lived in the city before the Holocaust, but soon after the Nazis conquered the city on 12 October 1941, 11,000 were shot ; in the end only 15 Jews of Dnipropetrovsk survived at the end of the war.
During the past century, the economic activity of the city has defined its political importance. Dnipropetrovsk and the surrounding oblast are the birthplace of the "Dnipropetrovsk Faction", an influential informal political group inside the CPSU, members of who were the industrial and party elite. Leonid Brezhnev, a native of the nearby city of Dniprodzerzhyns'k and later the Communist Party General Secretary, assured members of this group of a prominent place in Soviet society and politics. Members of this group are believed by many political scientists to have ruled not only the Ukrainian SSR but also the entire Soviet Union up to the accession of Mikhail Gorbachev to the position of CPSU General Secretary and President of the Soviet Union.
The city is built mainly upon the banks of the Dnieper River, in the loop of a major meander where the river changes its course from the North West to continue southerly and later south-westerly through Ukraine, ultimately reaching Kherson where it discharges into the Black Sea. This location always provided significant opportunities for the advancement of agriculture, mainly thanks to the natural irrigation provided by the river and the resulting fertile soils.
The area upon which the city is built is mainly void of hills and other physical geographical features. Being mainly flat, the land has proven easy to utilize and thus explains why the city has been able to grow to such a great extent over the past 200 years. Whilst most residential and commercial districts of the city are to be found on the less marshy south bank of the river, a number of residential areas have developed on the previously less-hospitable northern bank. With the advancements in civil engineering in Ukraine heralded by the rise of the Soviet Union's industrialization program, the northern bank was made more accessible for development and nowadays a good number of the city's residents live in districts situated there; the area is still, however, largely devoid of any commercial activity.
Nowadays both the north and south banks play home to a range of industrial enterprises and manufacturing plants. The south bank enjoys the exclusive patronage of the city's major business ventures as well as the main railway station and the city airport, which is located around 15 km (9.32 mi) south-easterly of the city.
The center of the city is constructed on a large plateau next to the Dnieper, the old town however, is situated atop of a hill, formed as a result of the river's change of course to the south. Karl Marx Avenue links the two major architectural ensembles of the city and constitutes an important thoroughfare through the centre, which along with various suburban radial road systems, provides some of the areas most vital transport links for both suburban and inter-urban travel.
During the summer, Dnipropetrovsk is very warm (average day temperature in July is +24 to +27 °C (75 to 81 °F), and in the winter, it is cold (average day temperature in January is −3 to +4 °C (+27 to +39 °F).
The best time for visiting the city is in late spring — second part of April and May, and early in autumn: September, October, when the city's trees turn yellow. Long periods of rain are normal in autumn. Other times are mainly dry with a few showers.
The climate is a mixture of temperate and continental climates and sometimes in the winter it is very cold and snowy (sometimes dropping down to −10 to −15 °C), and in summer, the city is not very hot (up to +29 to +30 °C).
"However, the city is characterized with significant pollution of air with industrial emissions.» The "severely polluted air and water" and allegedly "vast areas of decimated landscape" of Dnipropetrovsk and Donetsk are considered by some to be an environmental crisis. Though exactly where in Dnipropetrovsk these areas might be found is not stated.
Culture and Attractions
Entrance to the Taras Shevchenko Park in Dnipropetrovsk.The city has a variety of theatres (plus an Opera) and museums which may be of interest to tourists. There are also several parks, restaurants and beaches which have no linguistic requirements.
The major streets of the city were renamed in honor of Marxist heroes during the Soviet era. The central thoroughfare is known as Karl Marx Prospect, a beautiful, wide and long boulevard that stretches east to west through the centre of the city. It was founded in the 18th century and parts of its buildings are the actual decoration of the city. In the heart of the city is Zhovtneva [October] Square, which includes the majestic cathedral founded by order of Catherine the Great in 1787.
On the square, there are some remarkable buildings: the Museum of History, Diorama "Battle for the Dnieper River (World War II)", and also the beautiful park in which one can rest in the hot summer. Walking down the hill to the Dnieper River, one arrives in the large Taras Shevchenko Park (which is on the right bank of the river) and on Monastyrsky Island. This island is one of the most interesting places in the city. In the 9th century, the Byzantine monks based a monastery here. It was destroyed by Mongol-Tatars in the 13th century.
While there is no longer any compact "old town" in Dnipropetrovsk, there are still many surviving buildings of historical interest. (Most of them, especially churches, were unfortunately destroyed during World War II and Stalin's reign of terror in the 1930s. A few areas retain their historical character: all of Central Avenue, some street-blocks on the main hill (the Nagorna part) between Pushkin Prospect and Embankment, and sections near Globa (formerly known as Chkalov park until it was recently renamed) and Shevchenko parks have been untouched for 150 years.
The Dnieper River keeps the climate mild. It is visible from many points in Dnipropetrovsk. From any hill (there are 3 in the city) you will find a beautiful view of the river, islands, parks, outskirts, river banks and hills.
There was no need to build skyscrapers in the city in Soviet times. The major industries preferred to locate their offices close to their factories and away from the center of town. In the last ten years since independence the price of real estate has increased considerably. Most new office buildings are being built in the same architectural style as the old buildings, there are however a number with more modern aesthetics as well as those which utilize the two styles in a blend of old and new.
Local transportation - The main public forms of transport within Dnipropetrovsk are trams, buses, electric trolley buses and marshrutkas—private minibuses. In addition there are large numbers of taxis and many private cars. Bicycles are also in wide use along with an increasing number of motor scooters.
The Dnipropetrovsk Metro (Ukrainian: Дніпропетровський метрополітен; Russian: Днепропетровский метрополитен) is a single-line metro system that serves the city of Dnipropetrovsk, the third largest city in Ukraine by population. The metro was the third system constructed in Ukraine (after the Kiev and Kharkiv metro systems) when it opened on December 29, 1995.
The Dnipropetrovsk Metro currently consists of a total of 6 stations and 7.8 kilometers (4.8 mi) of running track. Current expansion plans will increase the number of stations to 11 by 2012.
Suburban transportation - Dnipropetrovsk has some highways crossing through the city. The most popular routes are from Kiev, Donetsk, Kharkiv and Zaporozhe. Transit through the city is also available. The largest bus station in eastern Ukraine is located in Dnipropetrovsk. It is near the city's Central Railway Terminal. Bus routes are also available to all over the country, including some international routes to Russia, Poland, Germany, Moldova and Turkey.
In the summertime, there are some routes available by hydrofoils on the Dnieper River. Various tourist ships on their way down the Dnieper, (Kiev–Kherson–Odessa) always make a stop in the city.
Railroads - The city is a large railway junction. Daily trains run to and from many parts of Eastern Europe. There are two rapid trains at day time from Kiev to Dnipropetrovsk and there are a few express trains at night. Other trains come from Moscow (Kursky), Lviv, Saint Petersburg (Vitebsky), and other places.
Air travel -The city is served by a Dnipropetrovsk International Airport (IATA: DNK) and is connected to other European cities with daily flights.
The Dnieper River (English pronunciation: /ˈniːpər/), (Russian: Днепр Dnepr, pronounced [dnʲɛpr]; Belarusian: Дняпро Dniapro, [dnʲaˈpro]; Ukrainian: Днiпро Dnipro, [dnʲiˈpro]; Polish: Dniepr; Crimean Tatar: Özü) is one of the major rivers in Europe (fourth by length) that flows from Russia, through Belarus and Ukraine, to the Black Sea. The normal name for the river in Russian is Dnepr although it is sometimes referred to as Dnipro, as in the song Hey, Dnipro, Dnipro.
The total length is 2,285 kilometers (1,420 mi), of which 485 km (301 mi) lie within Russia, 595 km (370 mi) within Belarus, and 1,095 km (680 mi) within Ukraine. Its basin covers 504,000 square kilometers (195,000 sq mi), of which 289,000 km2 (112,000 sq mi) are within Ukraine. In antiquity, it was known to the Greeks as the Borysthenes and was part of Amber Road.