The Donetsk People’s Republic
The Donetsk People’s Republic was proclaimed when the local governmental buildings were seized by protesters in 2014.
A referendum about an independence of the republic was held on May 11, 2014. Ukraine didn’t recognize this referendum as legitimate. The European Union and the United States think that it was illegal.
As a result, the territory of the region became the site of armed conflict between the armed forces of Ukraine and the people protecting the self-proclaimed republic.
At the present time, this conflict is not resolved. The future of the region is unclear.
In 1869, an iron-works was founded there by a Welshman, John Hughes (from whom the town’s pre-revolutionary name Yuzovka was derived), to produce iron rails for the growing Russian rail network. The plant used coal from the immediate vicinity, and both coal mining and steel making developed rapidly.
By 1914, there were 4 metallurgical plants and 10 coal-pits in the city. The population was about 50,000 people.
After the October Revolution (1917), Yuzovka was renamed Stalino and, in 1961, Donetsk.
Heavy destruction during the World War II led to postwar modernization and increase in the scale of industry. Subsequent growth of Donetsk was rapid and sustained.
Today, there are more than 40 coal-pits within the city limits. Donetsk is one of the largest metallurgical centers in Ukraine.
Donetsk is a very green city, there are a lot of beautiful parks and boulevards. A botanic garden is open all year round. A special place is taken by a park of forged figures where annual European blacksmiths’ competition takes place. Reconstruction of the river Kalmius embankment was finished in 2009.
The pollution made by city plants concentrated on a small territory and the plants of Donetsk agglomeration form steady smog. It covers the city with dark violet smoke almost all year round.
Heavy air pollution is partly compensated by a lot of greenery and flowers. Over a half of the total city territory is occupied by greenery. The micro climate is favored by 30 ponds and water reservoirs with the total territory over 600 hectares, both within the city and in its outskirts.
Artem Street running from the railway station to the steelworks is the main Donetsk attraction. This street with a lot of shops, hotels, administrative buildings is 5.5 miles (9 km) long.
There are 254 officially registered monuments of cultural heritage in the city. In 2009, it returned the status of the city where there is at least one rose per person.
There are about 140 museums and museum rooms in Donetsk.
Local History Museum. The museum is housed in a modern building located near the “Donbass Arena” stadium. Extensive exhibition, presented in 24 halls, has about 120 thousand exhibits.
Among them are the remains of fossils of animals, imprints of fossil plants and trees, large archaeological collection of different tools, weapons, ornaments and amulets, numismatic collection, ethnographic collection. The most valuable exhibits are rare old books. Chelyuskintsev Street, 189-a. Opening hours: 10:00-18:00.
Museum of Art. The collection includes 11,500 works of painting, drawing, sculpture, decorative arts. In particular, the paintings of artists from Russia, Italy, Holland, France and Germany are presented.
The collection of crafts of ancient Greece and Rome (vases, dishes of various shapes and purposes, lamps, glass and bronze wares) are of particular interest. Pushkin Boulevard, 35. Opening hours: 8:30-17:00, days off - Monday, Tuesday.
Museum of Donetsk railway. The museum of history and development of Donetsk railway is one of the few museums of this type in Ukraine. It is located right at the railway station - in the former locomotive depot of Yuzovka railway station (1872). The museum was opened in honor of the 130th anniversary of the railway in 2000.
The exposition has more than 6.5 thousand exhibits. Among the main exhibits are rare locomotives and railway cars of 1930-1950. Artemovskaya Street, 47. Opening hours: 9:00-15:00 (break - 12:00-13:00), days off - Saturday, Sunday.
- Museum of communication (Komsomolsky Avenue, 22),
- Museum of Jewish heritage in Donbass (Oktyabrskaya Street, 39),
- Museum of history of Donetsk metallurgic plants (Tkachenko Street, 122).
Donetsk stadium, parks
Donbass Arena Stadium. It is Ukraine’s first stadium built for the European Football Championship 2012 in accordance with the standards of the UEFA Elite Category (five stars).
Due to its unusual design (the effect of a floating roof), the stadium is shaped like a “flying saucer”. The complex houses three restaurants, several bars, a fitness center and a museum of FC “Shakhtar” with a multimedia exhibition and gift shop.
On the square in front of “Donbass Arena”, the soccer ball fountain is set. 28-ton ball with a diameter of 2.7 m is spinning because of the pressure of the water. It is considered to be the largest spinning granite ball in the world.
Next to the stadium, there is a park with fountains, ponds and a rock garden. The total area of the park is about 2.5 hectares. Chelyuskintsev Street, 189-e. Opening hours: 10:00-17:00.
The park of forged sculptures. The best works of blacksmiths of Donbass region are collected there. The park holds annual international festival of blacksmithing skills. After the festival, the best works are usually left in the park as a gift to the city. The garden of fairy tales with wooden sculptures of fairytale characters is located nearby. Artem Street, 98.
Shcherbakov park. The park of culture and rest named after A. Shcherbakov is the central park of Donetsk located in the Voroshilov district, on the banks of two ponds, near the old stadium “Shakhtar”. The park occupies an area of 62 hectares. The central entrance to the park is from University Street.
A long pedestrian bridge over the pond #1 is considered the most romantic meeting place of lovers. By tradition, young couple hangs a lock on the bridge as the symbol of eternal love.
In the middle of the park, the statue of “The Kind Angel of the World” is standing. On the right, you can find children’s rides, a Ferris wheel, rollerdrome and a boat station. On the left, the main fountain of the park and the largest rose garden in Ukraine are located. Stadionnaya Street, 1-d. Opening hours: 8:00-24:00 (winter: 10:00-21:00), day off - Monday.
Botanical Garden. Donetsk botanical garden is one of the largest in Europe. It was established as a research institute in 1964. The collection has more than eight thousand plants of two thousand species.
Thanks to this garden, Donetsk is considered to be one of the greenest industrial cities in the world. There is a winter greenhouse. Ilyich Avenue, 110. Opening hours: May-October (greenhouse - all year round), 10:00-16:00, day off – Monday.
Dolphinarium “Nemo”. The year-round dolphinarium is a part of a national network of cultural and recreation centers “Nemo”. You can watch the dolphins through special “windows” in the foyer. The show “With Love to Nature” involves bottlenose dolphins, South American fur seals and a sea lion.
In addition to performances, you can swim and dive with the dolphins. Also, sessions of dolphin therapy are being held. Colorful night shows are held during various celebrations. The dolphinarium is open in any weather. Stadionnaya Street, 1-d, Shcherbakov park. Shows start at: 12:00, 15:00 and 18:00.
Royal Marine Water Park. This water park was opened in 2012. It has an open aqua zone with swimming pools and rides, as well as an indoor entertainment zone, which is covered by a transparent dome with a diameter of 85 meters and a height of 24 meters. Thus, the water park is able to work at any time of the year, and in all weather conditions. Solovianenko Street, Shcherbakov park.
The Palm Tree of Mertsalov. It is a replica of a famous “Palm of Mertsalov” which has become a symbol of Donbass (depicted on the coat of arms of the region). The filigree sculpture in the form of a palm tree, forged from one steel rail at the end of the 19th century by local blacksmith A. Mertsalov, was awarded the Grand Prix at the Paris International Industrial Exhibition in 1900.
The original sculpture is located in the Museum of the Mining Institute in St. Petersburg. Numerous copies of this sculpture made by blacksmith S. Kaspruk can be found in Kiev, Lviv, Crimea, Moscow, Hanover and Ottawa.
In Donetsk, the first copy was set in 1999 near the exhibition center “Expo-Donbass”; the other was placed in the heart of the city - on the Pushkin Boulevard. Pushkin Boulevard, 34.
Tsar Cannon. The monument placed in the square in front of the city council is a replica of the famous Moscow Tsar Cannon, the largest in caliber gun in the world. It was a gift from the people of Moscow to residents of Donetsk. The cannon was cast at “Izhstal” plant in Izhevsk (Russia) in 2001.
The cannon is mounted on decorative cast-iron gun-carriage, decorative cast-iron cannonballs lie next to it. The carriage weighs 20 tons, the cannon itself - 44 tons. The length of the gun barrel is 5.28 m, which is 6 cm shorter than the original. Artem Street, 98.
Tunneling machine KSP-32. The monument to a tunneling machine KSP-32 is installed near the Technical University of Donetsk. It is a machine intended for underground work in mines: destruction of rocks, loading on the conveyor, etc. Address: Artem Street, 58.
The monument to the Beatles. The monument to the British rock group “The Beatles” was installed at the entrance to the entertainment complex “Liverpool”. The sculpture depicts the legendary four in characteristic poses with musical instruments in their hands. The wall behind the figures is covered with mosaics in the form of the British flag. Artem Street, 131-a.
The monument to Bubka. The monument to one of the greatest athletes of the world S. Bubka was erected in Donetsk in 1999. Bubka has 35 world records in the pole vault. He is a six-time world champion and an Olympic champion. The monument is placed in front of the stadium “Olympic”.
This bronze sculpture depicts an athlete who is preparing for his attempt. The height of the sculpture is 3.5 meters. The pedestal has a symbolic height of 6 m 15 cm - the record set by Bubka in 1993. It remains unsurpassed till today. Artem Street, 145.
The monument to John Hughes. The monument is honoring British industrialist John James Hughes, the founder of Yuzovka. The monument was opened in the center of the campus of Donetsk technical university in 2001. Artem Street, 96.
The monument to stratosphere fliers. The monument to four stratosphere fliers was installed near the crash site of the Soviet stratospheric balloon. In 1938, stratosphere fliers Ya. Ukrainsky, S. Kuchumov, P. Batenko and D. Stolbun soared into the stratosphere in a gondola of stratospheric balloon BBA-I to study the effect of altitude pressure on the human body.
The balloon was launched from an airfield located near Moscow. The machine went out of order at high altitude - something was wrong with oxygen equipment. The balloon fell to the high-voltage line in Shcherbakov park in Donetsk and exploded.
The dead crew was buried at the intersection of Pushkin Boulevard and the 25th anniversary of the Red Army Avenue. A bronze statue of a 2-meter-high stratosphere flier in a special suit was placed at the grave. Pushkin Boulevard, 2.
The Opera House. Donetsk academic opera and ballet theater named after A. Solovyanenko was designed by architect L. Kotovsky and built in 1941. The monumental building was constructed in socialist realism style. The theater has 970 seats. The repertory of the theater includes the plays: “Bohdan Khmelnytsky”, “Falstaff”. Artem Street, 82. Opening hours: ticket office: 10:00-19:00.
The Drama Theater. Donetsk music and drama theater dates back to 1927 when Ukrainian theater of workers was created in Kharkov (the capital of Ukraine that time). The main purpose of the theater was to carry out cultural and educational mission in the east of the country.
In 1933, the theater moved to Donetsk. It is one of the most visited theaters in Ukraine. One of the best plays of recent years was the play “Aeneid”. Artem Street, 74-a.
The Puppet Theater. It is one of the oldest theaters in Ukraine (1933). Ilyich Avenue, 18.
Other places of interest in Donetsk
Pushkin Boulevard. This boulevard is one of the most beautiful streets of Donetsk, it is a favorite walking place of residents and visitors of the city. The boulevard was named after Great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin in 1947. An amphitheater was built near the bust of Pushkin, in the central part of the boulevard. This place brings together poets, writers and other creative people.
The opposite end of the boulevard was chosen by local artists. You can buy not only the paintings with urban landscapes, but also all kinds of souvenirs there. The park of sculptures “Ukrainian steppe” has 11 works based on Slavic mythology created by Ukrainian and German artists.
Throughout the boulevard, there are various sculptures and flowerbeds. At the intersection with Gurov Avenue, several restaurants are located.
The House of Hughes. The family house of John Hughes, the founder of Donetsk (Yuzovka), was constructed to the south-west of Yuzovsky Iron and Steel Works in 1873. Originally, it was a one-storey house. The house was rebuilt when the family of John Hughes moved to Yuzovka from England. Two years after the start of reconstruction, John Hughes died, but his sons continued the construction. It was completed in 1891.
In 1903, Hughes family returned to England. Directors and managers of metallurgical plant were living in the house. The building was damaged during the Second World War. It was used for various purposes until 1990. Today, the house of Hughes is located on the territory of a private enterprise. There are plans to restore the house. Klinicheskaya Street, 1.
Great Britain Hotel. The historic hotel “Great Britain” is the first hotel opened in Donetsk. In 1883, in the city center, two-storey building was constructed. Since then, the building didn’t change its specialization, while in the Soviet times the hotel was called the “October”. A. Kuprin, A. Serafimovich, V. Mayakovsky stayed in this hotel. Postysheva Street, 20.
Donetsk planetarium. The planetarium is located in a two-storey building on 700 square meters. There are 88 seats available. Digital equipment allows creating three-dimensional images, showing topography, geological parameters and atmospheric characteristics of planets in the Solar system.
It is possible to simulate a flight to other planets, stars, etc. Artem Street, 46-b. Opening hours: 15:00-18:00 (Saturday, Sunday - 11:00-18:00).
Lenin Square. It is the main square in Donetsk, a pedestrian zone, and an open air place of public festivals and performances. The square appeared at the beginning of the 20th century. The architectural ensemble of it was formed in 1927-1967.
The dominant building is the former building of Ukrainian Ministry of Coal Industry. At this place, fans of Donetsk FC “Shakhtar” celebrate victories of their team.
Holy Transfiguration Cathedral. The construction of a stone building of an Orthodox church in Yuzovka began in a place of a wooden church in autumn 1883. The church was opened in 1886. The cathedral was destroyed during Soviet campaign against religion in 1933.
In 1992, the city council of Donetsk decided to start the construction of the cathedral on the site of the old cemetery. The new cathedral is not a replica of the destroyed one. The location of the cathedral is not the same also. The construction began in 1997. Today, the cathedral is one of the main churches of the city. Artem Street, 129-v.
There are dozens of hotels in Donetsk. The hotels mentioned below are the best ones according to reviews of visitors.
Hotel “Park Inn by Radisson”. The hotel is located in the business center of Donetsk, on a quiet pedestrian Pushkin Boulevard, near Shcherbakov Park. Built in 1973, the building of the former hotel “Kyiv” is completely reconstructed for Euro-2012. There is a gym.
171 rooms with climate control, satellite TV, Wi-Fi. There is a restaurant “RBG Bar and Grill” offering a variety of menus, Ukrainian dishes, specialties. Pushkin Boulevard, 4. Phones: +380 62 380 20 00, +380 62 380 20 01.
Hotel “Liverpool”. This hotel can be found in the center of the city near the stadium “Donbass Arena”. Non-standard name influenced the design of the rooms, halls, and the exterior facade of the building constructed in 2007.
100 comfortable rooms with all the amenities, Wi-Fi. There is a restaurant “Live music bar”. Artema Street, 131-a. Phone: +380 62 312 54 74.
Hotel “Shakhtar Plaza”. The largest hotel complex in Donetsk, located in the city center, between the stadium “Donbass Arena” and the track and field stadium “Olympic”. On the ground floor, there is a SPA-center with a swimming pool, and a Finnish and Turkish sauna. The hotel also has a fitness center.
322 modern and spacious rooms equipped with everything needed for a comfortable stay and work, Wi-Fi. The rooms are equipped with air conditioning. The restaurant offers a mix of European cuisine with local dishes. Titova Avenue, 15. Phone: +380 62 206 57 00.
Hotel “Ramada Donetsk”. The hotel is located in the center, on the banks of the Kalmius River. Several restaurants, spa and fitness complex with a swimming pool, beauty salon, conference and banquet rooms.
165 comfortable rooms, Wi-Fi. There are rooms for people with disabilities. The restaurant “Atlas” (European cuisine). Shevchenko Boulevard, 20. Phones: +380 62 381 79 79, +380 62 388 79 89.
Hotel “Eve”. This modern business hotel is located in the center of Donetsk. 38 comfortable rooms, Wi-Fi. The second floor of the hotel is equipped with individual air-conditioning (the floor for those who smoke), on the third floor - central air conditioning system (non-smoking floor).
The hotel rooms are available in three colors: blue, yellow and green. Restaurant with European, Japanese and Ukrainian cuisine. Schorsa Street, 29. Phones: +380 62 348 48 48, +380 62 348 15 30, +380 62 348 37 37.
Hotel “Stolichniy”. The hotel is located in the central part of Donetsk. There are two conference halls, a modern fitness center and a beauty salon.
36 rooms of different categories with climate control, Wi-Fi. Classic style restaurant - European cuisine, specialties of the chef. Bohdan Khmelnitsky Avenue, 102. Phones: +380 62 334 98 00 , +380 62 334 94 94.
Hotel “Prague”. The hotel is located in a green area, about 10 minutes walk from the center. There is a beauty and health center: an aqua area with a swimming pool, jacuzzi, Finnish sauna, massage and a beauty salon.
41 comfortable rooms with all the amenities. Restaurant (European and Ukrainian cuisine). The price includes use of the gym and swimming pool. Dubravnaya Street, 101. Phones: +380 62 381 11 66, +380 62 381 11 77.
Hotel “Bon Bon”. This hotel is located about 5 km from the city center. Exclusive architectural design and creative interior design.
11 comfortable rooms with original and stylish design, Wi-Fi. There is a small cafe on the ground floor. Leninsky Avenue, 72. Phone: +380 62 313 10 11.
Mini-Hotel “Art apartment Vettriano”. The hotel is located in the prestigious district of Donetsk, on the shore of the reservoir, in the green area. 9 comfortable rooms of different categories, Wi-Fi. Dubravnaya Street, 211. Phone: +380 62 343 41 00.