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Donetsk - History

The year 1869 is traditionally referred to as the date of founding Donetsk (former Hughsofka). In contrast to many other large cities which were born of the advantages provided by geography and transportation, Donetsk sprang up and developed from a mining and metallurgical industry thanks to rich stores of minerals. In the upper regions of Kalmius river, where the city is located, there were large deposits of coal, and around the settlement of Alexandrovka, founded in 1779, the first coal mines appeared. The residents of other nearby settlements Semyonovka, Lyubimovka (Zakop), Nikolaevka, Ekaterinovka, Grigorievka (Georgievka), and Larinka also provided the labour force to work in the mines.

In 1866 Russian engineer A. Mevius proved the necessity of building iron works on the right bank of Kalmius, not far from Alexandrovka settlement. This site had everything that was necessary; in upper Kalmius there was coal; not far away in Karakuba (today the city of Komsomolsk, in Starobeshevskiy Region) there was iron ore; in the nearby village Elenovka there was lime; and right at hand was river water.

Jogn Hughes
The Tsarist government was unable to deal properly with the land riches. And having estimated all possibilities for making huge profits on cheap coal by cheap labour, foreign concessionaires poured into Donbass. One of them was the English technician-metallurgist John James Hughes, a manager of a small plant near London. Having bought or leased the land at profitable terms, he made an agreement with the Committee of Russian Ministers to establish Novorossiysk Coal, Iron and Railway Society, and the Society of the Railway branch of Kharkov-Azov line. In April 1869 the Tsarist government sanctioned an agreement of starting coal mining and building a metallurgy plant. Novorossiysk Society constitutors nominated John Hughes as the manager. In summer 1869 he settled down on Kalmius bank and built a smithy that became the first production line of the future metallurgical plant. Materials and equipment arrived to Taganrog and Mariupol from far-away England, to the building site being delivered by carting.

Close to the construction site local people built wooden barracks or huts of sandstone for workers. The English colony of engineers and masters was set up separately. The growing settlement was named Hughsofka, after the manager's name. Later, Hughsofka merged with the mining settlement of Alexandrovka.

Hughsofka plant (today Donetsk Metallurgical plant) was the first to apply a large scale metal processing enterprise in the southern industrial region. By 1874 Hughsofka metallurgic works ranked first in iron-casting among Russian metallurgical enterprises, thus putting the South of the country on the map as a major industrial region. Apart from iron- and steel-production, machine-building and coal-mining were significantly boosted.

Coal Industry
Opening railway lines Konstantinovka-Yasinovataya-Hughsofka-Elenovka and Elenovka-Mariupol made possible the further development of metallurgical industry and coal production. In 1899 Hughsofka plant smelted almost 17.7 million poods(1 pood=16.38kg) of pig iron. On the territory of the settlement there were already nine coal mines that produced 99.2 million pood of coal per year. The same year, a machine building and pig-iron casting plant (today - Donetsk machine building plant named after Lenin's Komsomol of the Ukraine) was built to produce mining equipment.

Today mining and metallurgy are a thriving business and the plant is undergoing a period of rapid modernization changes.

Coming back to our historical facts, it might be of interest to know that at that time Hughsofka population was steadily increasing. In 1894 there were 5,494 inhabitants, and by 1897 - already 29,000. The settlement was divided into two parts: in the south was plant with industrial buildings, a train depot, a telegraph, a hospital, a school and cozy houses of English masters; while in the north were workers' houses, a market, taverns and pubs.

In May of 1917, with about 70,000 inhabitants, Hughsofka was given the status of "city.' In 1924 Hughsofka was renamed Stalino, the number of its inhabitants nearly reaching pre-war value - 63,708. In this year the construction of metallurgical housing 'Standard' was begun along with two- and three-storey houses for miners. Schools, shops, hospitals, culture and other institutions also began to appear.

Donetsk in 60s
In 1932 the city became the capital of Donetsk region (since 1938 - Stalin region). Industry developed very rapidly. By 1941 in Stalino there were 223 enterprises under Union and State control, 54 local and cooperative industries. Mines gave 7% of all-Union coal, plants - 5% of steel and 11% of core. City population was 507 thousand people. From 1941 to 1943 the city was occupied by German invaders. Like many Eastern European cities devastated by ensuing battles, it had to be completely rebuilt after the war. It wasn't until 1961, following Krushchev's denunciation of Stalin, that the city received it current name Donetsk, after the Donets river (a tributary of the Don).

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.

Sherbakova park
Nowadays 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.

Calmius river
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 population 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.

Square near planetarium
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 centres, 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 Metallurgical Plant
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.

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