Donetsk (Ukrainian: Донецьк Ukrainian pronunciation: [doˈnɛt͡sʲk], translated. Donets’k; Russian: Доне́цк, translate. Donetsk; former names: Yuzovka, Staline, Stalino, is a large city in eastern Ukraine on the Kalmius River. Administratively, it is a center of Donetsk Oblast, while historically; it is the unofficial capital and largest city of the economic and cultural Donets Basin (Donbass) region.
The city was founded in 1869 by a Welsh businessman, John Hughes, who constructed a steel plant and several coal mines in the region; the town was thus named Yuzovka (Юзовка) in recognition of his role in its founding ("Yuz" being a Russian or Ukrainian approximation of Hughes). During Soviet times, the city's steel industry was expanded.
In 1924 at the plenum Yuzovsky executive committee had decided to rename the town Yuzovka in Stalin. In 1924 the city became known as Stalin (Сталiн). In 1929-1931 the town was renamed in Stalino (Сталино). In 1932 the city became the center of Donetsk region. In 1961, during the De-Stalinisation the city was again renamed to its modern name Donetsk after the Seversky Donets River. In addition, some sources state that the city was briefly called Trotsk—after Leon Trotsky—for a few months in 1923. Today, the city still remains an important industrial centre for coal and steel in Ukraine.
The city is currently home to two major professional football teams in Ukraine: Shakhtar Donetsk and Metalurh Donetsk, both of which currently play in the Ukrainian Premier League. Important attractions of the city include the Cathedral Transfiguration of Jesus, the Donetsk National University, and others.
Donetsk currently has a population of over 982.000 inhabitants (2010) and has a metropolitan area of over 1,566,000 inhabitants (2004). According to the 2001 Ukrainian Census, Donetsk is the fifth-largest city in Ukraine
Geography and climate - Donetsk lies in the steppe landscape of Ukraine, surrounded by scattered woodland, hills (spoil tips), rivers, and lakes. The northern outskirts of the city are mainly used for agriculture. The Azov Sea, 95 km south of Donetsk, is a popular recreational area for those living in Donetsk. A wide belt of farmlands surrounds the city.
The city stretches 28 km from north to south and 55 km from east to west. There are 2 nearby reservoirs: Nyzhnekalmius (60 ha), and the "Donetsk Sea" (206 ha). 5 rivers flow through the city, including the Kalmius, Asmolivka (13 km), Cherepashkyna (23 km), Skomoroshka, and Bakhmutka. The city also contains a total of 125 spoil tips.
Donetsk's climate is moderate continental. The average temperatures are −5 °C (23 °F) in January and +18 °C (66 °F) in June. The average number of rainfall per year totals 162 days and up to 556 millimeters per year
Donetsk was founded in 1869 when the Welsh businessman John Hughes built a steel plant and several coal mines in southern part of Russian Empire at Aleksandrovka (Ukrainian: Олександрівка). The town initially was given the name Hughesovka (Yuzovka; Russian: Юзовка; Ukrainian: Юзівка). By the beginning of the 20th century, Yuzovka had approximately 50,000 inhabitants, and had attained the status of a city in 1917.
In 1924, under the Soviet rule, the city's name was changed to Stalin. In that year, the city's population totaled 63,708, and in the next year — 80,085. In 1929-31 the city's name was changed to Stalino. The city did not have a drinking water system until 1931, when a 55.3 km system was laid underground. In July 1933, the city became the administrative centre of the Donetsk Oblast of the Ukrainian SSR. In 1933, the first 12 km sewer system was installed, and next year the first exploitation of gas was conducted within the city.
In the beginning of World War II, The Nazi troops invaded Stalino in October 1941. Because of its importance and rich resources, the city was controlled directly by the German army and not by local administration as in other places. Many plants and factories were moved far away from the front line. Many former workers joined clandestine groups to fight Nazis. Donetsk area included a Jewish ghetto and a concentration camp, in which more than 90,000 people were killed over less than two years. The population of Stalino consisted of 507,000, and after the war - only 175,000. The Nazi invasion during World War II almost completely destroyed the city, which was mostly rebuilt on a large scale at the war's end. It was occupied by Nazi Germany between 16 October 1941 and 5 September 1943.
The territory of Donetsk at the time of the Nazi German occupation consisted mainly of a Jewish ghetto, in which 3,000 Jews died, and a concentration camp in which 92,000 people were killed. During the war, a collective responsibility system was enforced. For every killed German soldier, 100 inhabitants were killed, and one for every killed policeman. In 1945 many forced laborers, young men and women aged 17 to 35, were interned into reparation servitude from the Danube Schwabian communities Schwowe of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Romania (the Batschka, and Banat) and worked under extreme hardship to rebuild Stalino and to labor in its mines. Many died from disease and malnutrition.
Although Stalino means Steel in Russian, during Nikita Khrushchev's second wave of desalinization in November 1961 the city was renamed Donetsh, after the Seversky Donets River, a tributary of the Don in order to distance it from the former leader Joseph Stalin.
In 1965, the Donetsk Academy of Sciences was established as part of the Academy of Science of the Ukrainian SSR. In 1970, Donetsk was recognized by UNESCO as the cleanest industrial town of the world. Donetsk was granted the Order of Lenin in 1979.
Residents of the city tend to be pro-Russian in their political beliefs. This has been massively exploited during 2004 presidential election, in which the city mostly voted for candidate Viktor Yanukovych, which had been announced as the winner of the election by the Central Election Commission. The vote was later proven to have been falsified, with many of the falsified votes coming from the surrounding region. This led to an election re-run, thus making Yanukovych lose the election. During the 2006 Ukrainian parliamentary elections, the Yanukovych-led Party of Regions also won most of the votes from the region.
Despite the reputation of many industrial cities (particularly those with iron and steel plants), it is surprising to learn that Donetsk is a relatively green and unpolluted city. In fact, it is considered one of Ukraine's most beautiful cities with one of the country's highest standards of living. This is evident in the city's diverse range of cultural attractions. It has three city theaters, a philharmonic hall, a circus, two planetariums, and literally dozens of museums. It is also home to annual international festivals including The Stars of the World's Ballet, The Festival of Young Pianists, The Festival of Smith Art, The Roses of Donetsk Festival and more others. It has beautiful parks, landscapes. Donetsk is the city of parks and gardens; it is also famous for its roses, which bloom from early summer till late autumn gladdening the eye of dwellers and guests of the city. It consists of 9 districts, linked with each other by tram, trolley and bus communications. Also it has developed air- and railway communications.
Modern history - Today Donetsk ranks the fifth largest city in Ukraine with over 1,566,000 citizens in the metropolitan area. Donetsk remains vital for the economy of independent Ukraine. Its industry, science and sport make a big contribution to the overall performance of the country and global recognition of Ukraine. Indeed, the city looks international. Its enchanting vista naturally combines the modernity with history and is marked by comfortable boulevards, appealing shopping malls and a bright spectrum of colorful facades.
The city is an important scientific and cultural center of Donetsk coal basin. There is also the Concert Hall, cinemas, Palaces of Culture and clubs, Picture Galleries and. Besides, there are architectural monuments of local importance, of sculpture and history, and memorial places. Thanks to its remarkable architecture the city has many places of interest: Artyoma Street, Lenin Square, the Recreation parks etc. The inhabitants of Donetsk have places for rest after hard day. At their service there are Central Park of Culture and Rest, and branches of it - Lenin's Komsomol Park (by the Donbass Arena Stadium) and Sherbakov Park. In the outskirts of city there are Donetsk Botanical Gardens. A lot of greenery, beautiful buildings, the Kalmius and numerous lakes make the city wonderful in spring and in summer.
Donetsk Region Eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region has long been recognized for its natural and industrial resources. Rich in coal and other minerals, the region developed rapidly as a center for mining and steel production, as well as machine manufacturing. Donetsk is the most densely populated region of Ukraine: its population of 5.3 million resides within an area of 26,540 square kilometers. It borders to the east with Russia's Rostov region; in the south, the Sea of Azov, which flows into the Black Sea, provides the region with abundant shipping, fishing and tourism opportunities. The city of Donetsk, Ukraine's fourth largest city, has a population of nearly 1.2 million; its nickname is the City of Roses, referring to lush rose gardens that color many of its parks. Donetsk is one of the most diverse places in Ukraine; with one statistic I read showing that only half of the populations in the region are ethnic Ukrainians. In addition to Ukrainians, Russians, Greeks, Tatars, Jews and others have long and continuing histories in the region. Donetsk oblast makes up 4.4% of the territory of Ukraine. Donetsk oblast population constitutes 10% of the whole Ukraine, including 4,136 thousand urban people and 444 thousand rural people (9.7%). The density of the population is more than 174 people per sq. km. Donetsk oblast borders with Luhansk, Kharkiv, Dniprodzerzhynsk and Zaporizhia oblasts of Ukraine and Rostov oblast of Russian Federation. In the south, Donetsk oblast is washed by the Azov Sea. Donetsk oblast stretches 240 km from north to south, 170 km from west to east. The distance from Donetsk oblast center to the capital of Ukraine by railway is 871 km, by roads, 693 km.
Mineral resources available in Donetsk oblast of Ukraine abound in almost all components of periodic system. The largest deposits of iron ore have been explored close to Mariupol. Donetsk oblast has large deposits of coal, its explored reserves make up 9.9 billion tons, including 5.7 billion tons of coke coal. Donetsk oblast includes 28 towns, 23 district centers, 134 urban villages and 1,124 villages. Donetsk region main cities and towns: Donetsk, Mariupol, Makeevka, Gorlovka, Kramatorsk, Slavyansk, Enakievo. Donetsk Ukraine oblast industry: extremely powerful metallurgical production, heavy machine-building and coal mining; other major industrial branches are also present. Donetsk Ukraine oblast agriculture: grains, sugar beets, potatoes, vegetables, sunflowers; cattle and poultry farming.
Subsequent growth has been rapid and sustained. There are now more than 40 coal pits within Donetsk city limits. A major integrated coking, iron-smelting, and steel-making plant makes modern Donetsk one of the largest metallurgical centers of Ukraine. Coke by-products are the basis of a chemical industry producing plastics. There are several heavy-engineering works in Donetsk oblast, which produce, in the main, mining equipment. Refrigerators are manufactured, and there are other light industries in Donetsk oblast.
Donetsk Chamber of Commerce and Industry is an association of more than 300 enterprises of Donetsk city and Donetsk oblast of the various forms of property state enterprises, banks, scientific research institutions, insurance and trade companies, and private firms. Donetsk Chamber of Commerce and Industry functions on the basis of the Law "On the Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Ukraine" and facilitates the development of the national economy, creation of the proper conditions for business activity in Donetsk oblast, the development of all forms of management, as well as the industrial, scientific-and-technical, and trade links of Ukrainian businessmen with businessmen of the foreign countries. ..
Local transportation - The main forms of transport within Donetsk are: trams, electric trolley buses, buses and marshrutkas (private minibuses). The city public transportation system is controlled by the united Dongorpastrans municipal company. The city has 12 tram lines (~130 km), 17 trolley bus lines (~188 km), and about 115 bus lines. Both the tram and trolley bus systems in the city are served by 2 depots each. Another method of transport within the city is taxicab service, of which there are 32 in Donetsk.
The city also contains auto stations located within the city and its suburbs: auto station Yuzhny (South), which serves mainly transport lines to the south, hence its name; auto station Tsentr (Centre), which serves transport in the direction of Marinka and Vuhledar as well as intercity transport; the auto station Krytyi rynok (Indoor market), which serves mainly transport in the north and east directions; and the auto station Putilovsky, which serves mainly the north and northwest transport directions.
There is currently a metro system under construction in Donetsk, with the first stage totaling 6 stations to open by 2012.
Railroads - Donetsk's Main Railway Station, which serves about 7 million passengers annually, is located in the northern part of the city. There is a museum near the main station, dealing with the history of region's railroads. Other railway stations are: Rutchenkovo, located in the Kyivskyi Raion; Mandrykino (Petrovskyi Raion), and Mushketovo (Budionivskyi Raion). Some passenger trains avoid Donetsk station and serve the station Yasynuvata, located outside the city limits. Although not used for regular transportation, the city also has a children's railway. (As of September 2009) a new railway terminal facility that will comply with UEFA requirements (since Donetsk is one of the host city's for UEFA EURO 2012) is planned.
As the Donetsk Oblast is an important transportation hub in Ukraine, so is its center Donetsk. The Donetsk Railways, based in Donetsk, is one of the largest railway divisions in the country. It serves the farming and industrial businesses of the area, and the populations of the Donetsk, Luhansk, partly the Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhia and Kharkiv oblasts.
Road transport - The E-50 highway, part of the International E-road network, runs through the city en route to Rostov-on-Don in Russia. In addition, another international road runs through the city: the M 04. Also, three national Ukrainian roads (N 15, N 20, and N 21) pass through the city.
Air travel - In addition to public and rail transport, Donetsk has an international airport. It was constructed in the end of the 1940s to the beginning of the 1950s. The whole airport complex was finished in 1973. The city-based Donbass Aero airline operates the airport.Utility Enterprise "Donetsk International Airport" is one of the biggest air transportation enterprises in Ukraine and leading airport in Eastern region. The company works with regular and charter flights, which connect the Donetsk region with hubs in Ukraine, Russia, Eastern and Western Europe.
Architecture - Donetsk, at the time Yuzovka, was divided into two parts: north and south. In the southern part were the city's factories, train depots, telegraph buildings, hospitals and schools. Not far from the factories was the English colony where the engineers and the management lived. After the construction of the residence of John Hughes and the various complexes for the foreign workers, the city's southern portion was constructed mainly in the English style.
These buildings used rectangular and triangular shaped façades, green rooftops, large windows, which occupied a large portion of the building, and balconies. In this part of the town, the streets were large and had sidewalks. A major influence on the formation of architecture in Donetsk was the official architect of a Novorossiya company — Moldingauyer. Preserved buildings of the southern part of Yuzovka consisted of the residences of John Hughes (1891, partially preserved), Bolfur (1889) and Bosse.
In the northern part of Yuzovka, Novyi Svet, lived traders, craftsmen and bureaucrats. Here were located the market hall, the police headquarters and the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Jesus. The central street of Novyi Svet and the neighboring streets were mainly edged by one- or two-story residential buildings, as well as markets, restaurants, hotels, offices and banks. A famous preserved building in the northern part of Yuzovka was the Hotel Great Britain.
The first general plan of Stalino was made in 1932 in Odessa by the architect P. Golovchenko. In 1937, the project was partly reworked. These projects were the first in the city's construction bureau's history.
A large portion of the city's buildings from the second half of the 20th century were designed by the architect Pavel Vigdergauz, which was given the Government award of the USSR for architecture in the city of Donetsk in 1978.
Donetsk Art Museum - An islet of fine arts in the industrial hub, Donetsk Art Museum prides on its vast collection spanning beyond the last three centuries and representing the pieces of local and internationally renowned artists. With an expo counting over 12,000 pieces of painting, graphic, sculpture, decorative and applied art, ranging from antique artifacts to the notable Soviet realist collection, the museum never fails to impress.
The prominent place in the collection belongs to the unique masterworks of Russian painters of 19-20 centuries: “Azure Grotto", "Clouds over the quiet sea" and "Sea landscape. Koktebel" by a prolific seascape painter Ivan Aivazovsky, "Birch forest" by a brilliant landscape master Ivan Shishkin and portraits by Russian classics Orest Kiprensky and Vasily Surikov.
The section of foreign art exhibits a wide range of artworks by Italian, Dutch, French, German and Austrian painters of 17-19 centuries. Besides, the expo features a rich collection of traditional Ukrainian decorative and applied arts: embroidery, carpets and ceramics, decoratively painted household articles, glass, wood-carvings and national costumes created by well-known local masters. Any time you choose to visit, a tour of Donetsk Art Museum promises you enlightenment and inspiration.
Donetsk Region History Museum - Donetsk Region History Museum reveals the city's true identity and covers to the entire local community, diverse as it is. Set up in 1924, it offers an extensive expo with 120,000 exhibits: from archeological findings dating back to pre-historic times to the founding of the city by John Hughes, development of industry and coal mining, World War II and the Soviet times.
A comprehensive natural history collection features remains of a mammoth, fossilized trees and imprints of fossil plants. Ancient icons, brass and silver coins dating back to 15-17 centuries, personal items of famous citizens of the region and an ethnographic collection representing the history and lore of various local ethnic groups: Ukrainians, Russians, Greeks, Tatars and Jews can absorb attention of any visitor for hours. Tremendous artifacts and numerous photos tell the stories of individual people and places, groups and communities, lifestyles, religions and cultures making up the huge melting pot of Donetsk.
Nemo Donetsk Dolphinarium - The venue lies amidst one of the most bustling green corners in Donetsk city – Shcherbakova Park - adding to its numerous attractions. The Donetsk-based dolphinarium is part of the Ukraine's network providing entertaining and medical services. Nemo comprises a dolphinarium itself, an oceanarium and a dolphin-therapy centre. Alongside watching an exciting performance, you can also take a swimming or a diving session with exotic sea and ocean habitats. Today, the centre is home to bottlenose dolphins, South American sea bears and a sea lion.
The Planetarium - Donetsk takes pride of its new digital planetarium (Planetary) – one of just 20 similar facilities around the globe. Every show is breath-taking thanks to the latest digital equipment, which allows creating a 3D picture of space landscapes. A visit to the planetarium is always full of mystery and excitement. Whirling planets, speeding meteors and horrifying space catastrophes flash across the display and throw you billions of light-years back into the time of the Great Explosion which gave birth to our solar system.
The new planetarium was launched on 30 August 2008 by the city mayor Alexander Lukyanchenko and the astronaut Alexander Volkov. The facility is intended for 88 spectators, whose comfort is, of course, top priority. Although voiced in Russian, the shows are worth visiting and unforgettable.
Lenin Square - Designed in the 1950s as the geographical and public heart of the city, the Lenin Square (Rus. - Ploshchad Lenina) is nestled in the very hub of the city life. It is surrounded by the Prokofiev Concert Hall (Philharmonic), the Ministry of Mining Industry and Donetsk Drama Theatre. The place hosts all municipal celebrations, public events and sports competitions and is a recreation area number one. The main sight here is, of course, the Lenin Monument. Residents of Donetsk have buried their letters to future generations under the flagstones of the monument, but memories of the communist past are not that strong with the youth, who use the place as a skating-ground.
If you visit the Square in late spring, summer or early autumn, take the chance to see the Music Fountain. With the sunset, the fountain starts “dancing” to the music coming from the nearby speakers.
Artyoma Street - Following the pattern of the largest global cities, brightly demonstrating their elegant central avenues, Donetsk also has something to show. The central Artyoma Street (ulitsa Artyoma) is the leading and the longest city road. It is an exquisite mix of soviet and modern architecture, exclusive boutiques, shopping malls, cozy cafes and luxury restaurants. The street no longer performs a purely transport function. Instead, it has turned into a popular promenade ground and a display of Donetsk cultural life as it also hosts numerous sights and attractions.
The places to see and visit are:
Krupskaya Library (Biblioteka imeni Krupskoy)
Taras Shevchenko Monument (Pamyatnik Shevchenko)
Opera and Ballet Theatre (Teatr Opery I Baleta)
Shevchenko Cinema (Kinoteatr imeni Shevchenko)
Donbass Palace Hotel
Donetsk Drama Theatre (Drama Theater)
The Cathedral of Christ Transfiguration (Preobrazhenskiy Cathedral) - You will never miss these magnificent domes standing out against the urban scenery if you take a stroll down Artyoma Street. Once you are here, linger a bit to listen to the church bells or simply drop in to enjoy its crafted and peaceful atmosphere. Exquisite and fanciful architecture makes the Cathedral not simply a religious heart of the city, but also a true masterpiece.
The cathedral is a newly-restored building, though its history goes 120 years back. In 1883, the Council of Yuzovka (first name of Donetsk city) launched construction of an orthodox church in place of a wooden temple. Like many other churches, it was destroyed in 1933 during an anti-religion campaign in the USSR. Right after Ukraine became independent; Donetsk City Council allocated a land plot to build a new cathedral. Construction started in 1997 and in 2006 the church opened its doors. In 2002, Kiev government presented Donetsk with the bronze statue of the Archangel Michael, which had been previously installed on Kiev Independence Square. Today the archangel guards the entrance to the Preobrazhensky Cathedral.
The Monument to Liberators of Donbass - The structure is one of the most important city sights. It was erected 25 years ago to honor the military units, which had liberated Donbass from the Nazis during the World War II. Today this is the biggest monument in the south-eastern Ukraine and the most significant for the military history of the city and oblast.
The composition features figures of a miner and a soldier with a banner. A number of columns by their sides symbolize the outlines of coal slag heaps typical for Donetsk. Initially a museum was planned inside the monument. But the construction was so complex that the idea had to be turned down. The figures of the Liberators are a part of Donetsk emblem – just another evidence of its big importance for the city.
The Tsar Cannon - Is a replica of the famous Russian Tsar Pushka (Tsar Cannon) was installed in Donetsk in 2001. The original was created in the 16th century as a symbol of Russian statehood and has never left Russia. The copy is a return gift of Moscow to the replica of the Mertsalov's Palm given to the Russian capital in 2000. Moscow presented the cannon as a sign of strong Russian-Ukrainian relationships. The Donetsk-based cannon are an exact replica of its bigger counterpart. Only, it is cast of iron, while the original has a bronze barrel. Local craftsmen covered it with paint to imitate bronze. The cannon weights 44 tones and one shot is about 120 kilos.
The Botanic Garden - The garden is an amazing man-planted place and Europe’s largest botanic park. The area is indeed impressive: abundantly blooming chrysanthemums, fragrant roses, majestic birches and maples will hardly leave you indifferent. A chain of seven lakes spreads in the park, adding to its marvelous scenery. The place is home for over 5,000 species of plants, some of which grow in the greenhouses imitating tropical and subtropical climate. Don’t be surprised to see several dozens of brides and grooms here wandering along shady alleys in summer. The Botanic Garden is chosen eagerly by couples for outdoor weddings.
The Park of Forged Figures - As a city with long-standing traditions in steel industry, Donetsk can boast of an unrivalled place – a symbol of a creative initiative and excellent professionalism of local smiths. The Park of Forged Figures (Park Kovanykh Figure) is a true fairy-tale ground, where beloved tale-characters are at home among magic trees, crafted forged arches of flowers, star signs and fancy street lights.
The place is the most romantic corner of the city and has been a must-go site for the just-married to make the first family pictures. Girls in white wedding dresses accompanied by black-suit grooms wandering about the park on weekends is a traditional picture here. No wonder that the place has got a nickname – the Park of Brides. International Smith craft Festival takes place in the park every year. The most impressive masterworks remain in the city as a gift expanding the number of park’s “residents”.
Pushkin Boulevard (Bulvar Pushkina) - is a popular recreation zone. Recently reconstructed, the place has been a snug island in the bustling sea of the city rush. To make the rest most convenient, the area is closed for cars on weekends. The boulevard itself is a long alley with green corners, fancy sculptures, sparkling fountains, tempting cafes and children playgrounds.
The alley opens with a splendid fountain with the basin divided into two parts. A replica of the Mertsalov’s Palm is located in the centre of the fountain’s basin.
The original sculpture, which won the top-prize at the World Exhibition in France in 1900, had been forged in 1898 from a solid part of a rail and is now located in St Petersburg. Being the symbol of Donbass, the Palm represents the unity of coal, metal, creative idea, labor and success. All along its run the alley features elaborate sculptures created by the leading Donetsk masters. The figures symbolize main industries for the city: science, art, mining, sport and healthcare.
The key attractions are:
The Pushkin Monument (Pamyatnik Pushkinu),
The Alley of Stars (Alleya Zvezd),
The Monument to the Stratosphere Pilots (Pamyatnik Stratonavtam),
The street market of local art lying near the Shcherbakov Park
The Shcherbakov Park - Shady alleys, green corners, sparkling fountains, open-air cafes and thrilling amusement rides make just a short list of attractions, which you will definitely encounter here. The park is a perfect place for an evening promenade, a family walk or a romantic date. You can also rent a boat here for a short “voyage” around the lake – a home for ducks accustomed to a fairy treat from visitors. The park has been recently renovated and redesigned into one of the most comfortable recreation areas of the city and a popular event-ground. The local government did its best to revive the status of Donetsk as the City of a Million Roses by establishing a rose alley here. Some of the rose bushes were planted by the city mayor and foreign ambassadors, who visited Donetsk.
The park also has a romantic lure. Inventive lovers of our city have set up a tradition to hang “locks of love” on the fence of the bridge just like in Rome, Florence and Paris. The locks symbolize strong relationships and are intended to mark a wedding, engagement or some special date