Luhansk (Ukrainian: Луганськ, pronounced [luˈɦɑnʲsʲk]) (formerly Voroshilovgrad) also known as Lugansk (Russian: Луга́нск; pronounced [luˈɡansk]) is a city in southeastern Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Luhansk Oblast (province). The city itself is also designated as its own separate municipality within the oblast. The current estimated population is around 445,900 (as of 2004)
At the end of XVIII century Russia successfully won a number of Black Sea wars. A wide access to the Black Sea was opened for Russia as well as a chance of using the rich natural resources of Azov Sea territories. The access to the Black Sea and joining of Crimea stipulated a need of fortification of the South borders. Olds Turkish fortresses and newly-built ones were used for this purpose. The fortresses and the fleet needed cannons. Industrial Ural was far off, and government came to a conclusion of construction of a government plant close to the Black Sea shore. "Godfather" of Lugansk foundry plant certainly was a commander-in-chief of the Black Sea fleet, admiral Nikolay Semenovitch Mordvinov, and "godmother" - empress Ekaterina the Second, who signed in 1795 the edict on the settlement of foundry plant on the river Lugan'. Edict was prepared by Mordvinov, since he was one who managed to persuade Petersburg Admiralty to switch 715 thousand silver rubles left from construction of the young Black Sea fleet to the construction of cannon-foundry plant in the south Russia. Mordvinov entrusted a Scottish foundry engineer and inventor, Carl Gaskoin, to build a cannon-foundry plant. After close study of the natural deposits Carl Gaskoin offered to manufacture cast iron cannons, rather then copper ones. For this purpose an ironworks was built at the village of Cambrod (Stone Ford) near the river Lugan'
First, city was being built without an officially confirmed plan. All vertical streets were identified as lines (as in Saint Petersburg), and all horizontal ones had names. The most first street of the city was English Street. Foreign specialists who arrived to work at the plant settled there. A mansion for the director of plant was built there. On the same street, in the family of a factory physician, Vladimir Dal, a compiler of a well-known Explanatory dictionary of Russian, was born. Later have other streets appeared such as Peterbourgskaya, Uspenskaya, Kazanskaya, Bankovskaya. Later Peterbourgskaya Street became the main one. Here two-stored houses were built, in which, as a rule, shops, barbers' shops were placed at the ground floor. In Lugansk there were more then ten churches of different religions: Kazanskaya Preobrazhenskaya, Trinity, Assumotion, Petropavlovskaya, Nikolayev sky cathedral, a synagogue, Catholic Church, several of prayer houses. To great regret all these buildings that had a great value as architectural monuments were destroyed in the 30th of XX century. The only church that survived but was greatly damaged is Petropavlovskaya church in the Stone Ford.
In 1882 Lugansk considering its economic position, by the solicitation of local merchants and gentries was raised in the status of a district city. In the springtime of 1883 the first Chairman of City Duma (Mayor), Nikolay Petrovitch Kholodilin was elected, and Duma itself was placed in one of the best buildings of the city on Kazanskaya Street.
With increasing of a number of populations, a network of schools increased. In the city there were several private gymnasiums, two public gymnasiums, schools, grade schools. With the development of industry in Lugansk several banks appeared in the city. The largest was Azov-Don bank on Kazanskaya Street.
In 1903 Lugansk received its court of arms.
Life of the citizens of Lugansk was varied and interesting. .Several libraries, movie theaters, a circus, parks, clubs were in the city. In 70-80-ieth of XIX century new factories and plants appeared in Lugansk. The largest one was Lugansk cartridge plant modified from foundry and locomotive plant of Gartman. In 1898 there were already more than 30 industrial enterprises, as well as much small businesses and craft workshops. At the beginning of the XX-th century Lugansk has confirmed itself as a large industrial center, as a city with its own multinational traditions and particular mode of life.
The city traces its history to 1795, when the British industrialist Charles Gascoigne founded a metal factory there. It was the beginning of an industry that still thrives there today. Lugansk achieved the status of city in 1882. Located in the Donets Basin, Lugansk was developed by the Soviet authorities into an important industrial center of the Eastern Europe, particularly a home to the major locomotive-building company.
During the Soviet times the city was known as Voroshilovgrad (Russian and Ukrainian: Ворошиловград) in honor of the Soviet military commander and politician Kliment Voroshilov, a native of Lugansk. The name was changed on November 5, 1935, but on March 5, 1958, the old name was reinstated in accordance with a new law that prohibited naming in honor of living people. On January 5, 1970, after Voroshilov died, the name was changed again to Voroshilovgrad. Finally, on May 4, 1990, a decree of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR gave back the city its original name.
Lugansk is not only a beautiful city with parks, public gardens and memorial places, but also one of the largest industrial centers of Ukraine. Its enterprises have been unique and famous all over Ukraine and abroad. To those leading enterprises that were mentioned above one can add the JSC "Lugansk Pipe Plant" that produced the pipes of all sizes and profile. One of the perspective industries of regional economy is the machine-building. The city produces different fertilizers. Quite new but perspective is the JSC "Lugansk Plant of Rescue Equipment "Horizon" that produces anesthesia medicaments and unique hose respiratory vehicles. Food and light industry are also well developed.
Apart from its industry, Lugansk is also recognized as an important cultural and educational center. The city boasts several Drama Theatres, a Philharmonic Society, numerous Museums, as well as a Circus and a Puppet Theatre for the young and old alike. Lugansk is famous for its universities including: the East-Ukrainian National University, Shevchenko State Pedagogical University, State Agricultural University, and State Medical University. A byproduct the city's educational excellence was scholar and resident Vladimir Dahl. A close friend of Alexander Pushkin, he is distinguished for writing The Defining Dictionary of the Great Living Russian Language
Among the religious sights of the city is Svyatovladimirsky Cathedral - the beautiful majestic building, which is visible from afar. Orthodox Cathedral was founded in 1993 and is the largest religious construction of the south-eastern Ukraine for today. It takes about 3 thousand parishioners.
The other interesting construction is the Memorial “Ostraya Mogila” (Sharp Grave). It is devoted to hard battles during the Civil War (1919), as well as to the victory in the Great Patriotic War. During the Civil War (the end of April 1919), during the hard battles against the troops of General Denikin, the residents of Lugansk formed a line from the cartridge factory to Ostraya Mogila passing bullets from hand to hand. Lugansk was awarded with the Order for this feat in Soviet times. Memorial “Ostraya Mogila” is located in the place of the most brutal battles for the city of Lugansk. The public garden Fame of heroes of the Civil War was dedicated to this same historical event; passing through the garden visitors can get acquainted with the heroes of the Civil War. Their busts are set in the public garden: K.E. Voroshilov, F.A. Sergeyev (Artyom), A.Y. Parkhomenko and others.
There is a park-museum of stone sculptures in the city, perhaps the collection of stone women is not as numerous as in Dnepropetrovsk, but it is rather large. The park-museum is situated on the territory of the National Pedagogical University.
One of the biggest parks in Lugansk is Gorky Park. Gorky Park is the fountains, paths, shady trees, beach with the boat station and Luganka - one of the highest parachute towers of the USSR. This is the 57-meter parachute tower, the height of its platform from which one jumps, is 46 meters. In Soviet times, in the park was built is the largest dance floor in Ukraine, with capacity for 5 thousand people. Unfortunately neither the tower nor the dance floors are used according to its intended purpose. The area of Gorky Park is about 100 hectares. The park was often flooded in spring, that’s why now in Lugansk is to be created the largest park of culture and recreation in Ukraine on the basis of the oak grove. The total area is 180 hectares.