It is believed that in 972, Prince of the Kievan Rus Svyatoslav I Igorevich died on the island of Khortitsa.
The history of the town of Alexandrovsk is linked with the construction of a new Dnieper fortified line located between Zaporozhye and Berdyansk at the end of the 18th century. Alexandrovsk fortress was the largest among them, its construction was finished by 1775.
More Historical Facts…
At the end of the 18th century, it became an important transportation center, because building materials for the construction of Kherson and the Black Sea fleet were transported through the town.
The importance of Odessa as a trade city grew and the main trade routes changed. In 1797, the Dnieper fortified line of fortresses was abolished. In 1806, Alexandrovsk received the town status.
The construction of the railway helped the development of the town. When the construction of Lozovo-Sevastopolskaya railway was over, it turned into one of the largest transit freight points.
Before the World War I, the population was 63,600. On March 23, 1921, Alexandrovsk was renamed Zaporozhye.
Before the World War II, it turned into a large industrial city. The power station on the Dnieper (DneproGES) became the symbol of industrialization not only in the area but throughout the USSR. In 1939, the city became the center of a newly formed Zaporozhye oblast (region).
On August 18, 1941, the German army approached the city. The dam of DneproGES was blown up. About 44,000 locals and captives died during the occupation of the city.
Reconstruction of the old part of the city, restoration and development of the new part (Sotsgorod) resulted in their joining in the 1960s.
Due to the abundance of electricity, large metallurgical industry developed, including Zaporozhstal iron and steel plant, factories specializing in high-grade steels made in electric hearths, ferroalloys, titanium and aluminum smelting.
Today, Zaporozhye has one of the largest strip-rolling mills in Ukraine.
Zaporozhye city architecture
It is the largest island on the Dnieper River located in the middle of Zaporozhye. Since ancient times, this natural fortress served as a reliable protection for various tribes, the traces of which are preserved in abundance.
In particular, burial mounds and stone statues of the Scythian times are the exhibits of “Scythian camp” complex.
In the 16th century, Zaporozhye Sich was founded here - a fortified camp of the Ukrainian Cossacks, which later became the center of the Cossack state.
In 1965, the State (then National) Historic and Cultural Reserve was created on the island. Today, the place is a major museum complex.
The Museum of History of Zaporozhye Cossacks. The museum is located in the northern part of Khortitsa Isle, which offers the most scenic view of the DnieproGES dam.
There are exhibitions devoted to ancient times, the period of Kievan Rus, the Cossack era, recent history of Zaporozhye region, Orthodoxy in Zaporozhye lands.
There are four dioramas: “The Battle of Kiev Prince Svyatoslav of the Dnieper rapids”, “The Military Council in Sich”, “The Construction of DnieproGES”, “The Liberation of Zaporozhye on October 14, 1943”. Nearby, you can find a large mound of the Scythian times. Opening hours: 9:00-17:00, day off - Monday.
More Khortitsa Isle Sights…
Zaporozhye Sich. The historical and cultural complex “Zaporozhye Sich” on Khortitsa Island is a reconstruction of an old Cossack fortress of the 16th-18th centuries. The Sich (meaning “fortification”) was a military and political center of Zaporozhye Cossacks, the capital of the Cossack lands.
In those days, Khortitsa Island was an important strategic point on the way of the Tatars’ raids in Ukrainian lands. Also, the political influence of Poland, which controlled most of Ukraine, was minimal here.
The beginning of the Sich is associated with the name of D. Vishnevetsky (legendary Baida). In the first half of the 16th century, he founded the first fortification on the island of Malaya (Small) Khortitsa (Baida Island today).
Later, in different places in the rapids of the Dnieper River, one after another, eight fortresses were built. They were united by a common name of Zaporozhye Sich - the capital of Cossack land.
At the end of the 16th century, increasing national and religious oppression in Rzeczpospolita (Poland) turned the area into the center of the Ukrainian people’s liberation struggle under the leadership of B. Khmelnitsky.
At the end of the 18th century, Zaporozhye Cossacks were oppressed by the Russian government. The Sich was abolished in 1775.
In 2005, reconstruction works began. Today, there is a copy of Cossack fortress surrounded by a moat, rampart and a palisade with several towers. In the center of the fortress, there is a church.
The complex was officially opened in 2009, despite the fact that some objects were not finished. Guided tours are available. Opening hours: 9:00-17:00, day off - Monday.
The Equestrian Theater. The southeastern part of Khortitsa Island is a home of the folklore-ethnographic equestrian theater “Zaporozhye Cossacks”.
The theater keeps the old Cossack traditions. Horse and folk ensembles shows, demonstration of traditional Cossack crafts are held here. You should call the phone numbers below for the date and time of the next show.
After the performance, you can ride horses, as well as purchase souvenirs, made by the local blacksmith and potter. The cafe “Cossack zaloga”, located nearby, offers traditional Ukrainian cuisine. Contact phones: +380 61 701 24 81, +380 61 213 32 85.
Pagan shrines. Ancient pagan sanctuaries of the early Bronze Age are located near the Museum of History of Zaporozhye Cossacks. The main sanctuary has the form of a small Stonehenge (a circle of stones).
Archaeologists came to the conclusion that the sanctuary was built for astronomical purposes. In 1997, the pagan sanctuaries were reconstructed; wooden idols of pagan gods were placed there.
Scythian camp. The memorial and tourist complex “Scythian camp” is located on the highest point of Khortitsa Isle, crowned with the largest survived mound “Zorovaya mogila”. The sculpture of a Scythian warrior stands on the top of the mound. A lot of interesting stone artifacts are collected in this open-air museum.
Chaika (Seagull) - the Museum of the Dnieper Flotilla. This informal museum of the Cossack fleet is based on two old ships, raised from the bottom of the Dnieper near Khortitsa Isle.
The decision to build the shipyard at Khortitsa was made in 1737, during the first Russian-Turkish war, when Russian ships could not pass through the Dnieper River rapids on their way to the Black Sea.
In 1739, about 400 ships of the Dnieper flotilla were based on the island. Some of them drowned during the flood. In 1999, the ship (Cossack chaika), preserved at the bottom of the river under the sand, was lifted to the surface.
In 2007, the brigantine, found in the same place, was raised to the surface. The ships were placed in a restoration shed near the Equestrian Theater.
The Museum of the History of Weapons. The exhibition of the private museum of the history of weapons is based on the personal collection of the entrepreneur V. Shlayfer.
The museum displays the following historical weapons of different centuries and nations: machine guns, rifles, shotguns, handguns and pistols, swords, sabers, axes, chainmail and much more. Lenin Avenue, 189. Opening hours: 10:00-19:00.
The Museum of Retro Cars. It is the only public museum of retro cars in Ukraine. The exhibition has 22 cars produced in 1930-1960s (“Dodge”, “Willis”, “Ural-ZIS” ZIS-5, ZIS-6 (“Katyusha”) and others. Vyborgskaya Street, 8. Opening hours: 10:00-16:00 (Saturday - 9:00-12:00), day off - Sunday.
The Local History Museum. The museum is located in the house of the former district council (1912). It is one of the few survived houses of pre-revolutionary Aleksandrovsk. The exposition covers the history of the town before the Second World War.
One section is devoted to N. Makhno, who became famous in revolutionary years as the leader of the anarchist movement in the southern regions of Ukraine. Chekistov Street, 29. Opening hours: 9:00-17:00, days off - Sunday, Monday.
The Art Museum. The museum was founded in 1971. The total number of exhibits is about 13,000. Ukrainian and Russian paintings of the 19th-20th centuries are presented.
The museum has one of the largest collections of Ukrainian Folk Decorative Art. 40 let Sovetskoy Ukrainy (40th anniversary of Soviet Ukraine) Street, 76-b.
The Church of God the Merciful Father. It is the only Catholic church in Zaporozhye. The Roman Catholic parish existed in Alexandrovsk before the revolution, but, in the 1930s, the church was closed and later demolished.
The construction of the new church began in 1999. It was opened in 2004. Zavodskaya Street, 21-a. Opening hours: 7:00-19:00.
St. Andrew’s Cathedral. The cathedral was built by means of “Motor-Sich” company and other sponsors in 2000. The church is constructed in the form of a cross with a large central dome and two smaller domes on each side. Also, there is a high bell tower standing nearby. Motorostroiteley Street, 50.
The Church of the Intercession. It is the main Orthodox church in the city, rebuilt on the site of the destroyed five-headed stone church. The exterior and magnificent interiors were recreated from old photographs. Gorky Street, 139.
The bridge over the Dnieper River
Taras Shevchenko Boulevard
Other places of interest
Zaporozhye Oak. This 700-year-old giant oak became the symbol of the Ukrainian Cossacks. According to legend, Zaporozhye Cossacks wrote their famous letter to the Turkish Sultan while sitting under this oak. The vivid mood of this event is depicted in Ilya Repin’s painting. For centuries, it was a place of pilgrimage for millions of people.
After the construction of the Dnieper dam and the rise of the groundwater level, the roots of the tree were damaged. At the end of the 20th century, the tree began to wither, only one branch is green today.
In 2008, the Church of the Intercession was built nearby. Today, it is the historical and cultural complex “Zaporozhye Oak”. Theatrical performances are held in the area. T. Bulba Street. Opening hours: 9:00-21:00.
DnieproGES. The hydro power station is the symbol of Zaporozhye. This unique hydro-technical construction, built in 1927-1939, was the first hydroelectric plant in the Soviet Union and the largest in Europe at that time.
During the construction of the dam, the Dnieper rapids were flooded. The rapid economic development of the city began because of the construction of the plant.
Next to the Directorate of DnieproGES, there is a massive building of the museum of DnieproGES. Today, two halls are opened for visitors, displaying exhibitions about the construction of the station.
During the excursion, you can see the layout of the station and running turbines in the turbine hall. Vinter Boulevard, 1. Opening hours: 9:00-14:00, days off - Saturday, Sunday.
Two-level concrete bridges across the Dnieper are interesting from an engineering point of view. The bridges connect the right and the left banks of Zaporozhye through Khortitsa Island. The engineer B.N.Preobrazhensky was the designer of these bridges opened in 1952. These bridges are the highest bridges in Ukraine (54 meters).
Children’s Railway. Zaporozhye children’s railroad, built in 1972, is one of the best and largest in Ukraine. The total length is 9.4 km, there is an eighty meters tunnel. The train runs on Sundays.
Today, it is one of the few children’s railroads where trains are running all the year round. Zaporozhye Zoo, terrarium, aquarium and winter garden are located close to the main station “Zhovtnevaya”. Lunacharsky Street, 1. Opening hours: 8:45-16:20 (Sundays).
Lenin Avenue. It is one of the longest avenues in Europe - 11 km (13 km with the dam of DnieproGES). The avenue runs from the railway station Zaporozhye-1 to the dam of DnieproGES.
The residential area of “Sotsgorod”, built on the territory around the dam, is considered one of the best examples of Soviet urban art of prewar period.
Design of this architectural ensemble won a gold medal at an exhibition in Paris in 1932.
In the area of Pobeda Street, several preserved buildings of pre-Revolutionary Aleksandrovsk can be found. Along the avenue, there are several squares with fountains, numerous restaurants and cafes.
Administrative buildings, schools, universities and cultural institutions are located on this street.
The Circus. Zaporozhye State Circus is one of the main organizers of leisure and recreation for both children and adults in Zaporozhye city and region.
The circus has 1,500 seats. Performances are held on Saturdays and Sundays at 12:00 and 15:30, as well as during school holidays. Rekordnaya Street, 41. Opening hours: office: 8:00-18:00.
The Music and Drama Theater. Zaporozhye Regional Academic Ukrainian Music and Drama Theater named after V. Magar is an example of the architecture of the Soviet monumental classicism. The building, designed in the style of the “Stalin Empire”, was built in 1953.
The theater was established in 1929, for a long time it was named after N. Shchors. Today, the theater is named in honor of Vladimir Magar, who was the chief stage director of the theater from 1929 to 1965. Lenin Avenue, 41.
There are a lot of hotels in Zaporozhye. According to some visitors’ reviews, the following hotels offer the best level and variety of services.
Hotel “Four Points by Sheraton”. This hotel is located in the center of Zaporozhye, on the intersection of Shevchenko Boulevard and the Embankment.
The hotel offers beautiful views of the city center, the lake, the Dnieper and the island of Khortitsa. It is located close to local sights. In the 15-storey hotel building, you can find a fitness center, sauna, four meeting rooms, gift shop.
164 modern rooms with all the amenities. Free high-speed Internet access. There are rooms for non-smokers and people with disabilities.
The hotel has a restaurant (international cuisine), wine bar, summer terrace, lobby bar. Shevchenko Boulevard, 71-a. Phones: +380 61 766 00 00, +380 61 766 00 01.
Hotel “Teatralny”. The hotel is located in the historic center. There are three meeting rooms that can accommodate 40-90 people. Also, there is a well-equipped business center.
109 rooms of different categories, Wi-Fi. There is a restaurant (international cuisine) and a lobby bar. Chekistov Street, 23. Phone: +380 61 228 80 00.
Hotel “Reikartz Zaporozhye”. The hotel can be found in Zaporozhye center in the parkland on the banks of the Dnieper River, near the central beach and the island of Khortitsa. The hotel offers a modern conference room, meeting room, outdoor swimming pool and summer playground.
41 rooms, Wi-Fi. There is a restaurant of Ukrainian and European cuisine, bar (both are open round the clock). Mayakovsky Avenue, 19. Phone: +380 61 228 44 90.
Hotel “Soborniy”. The hotel is located in a modern building in the historic center. Nearby, you can find the Holy Protection Church, after which the hotel was named (“soborniy” means “cathedral”). The hotel sauna offers a large restroom, massage room, swimming pool.
16 comfortable rooms with individual design, Wi-Fi. The hotel is equipped with autonomous heating and ventilation system. There is a cafe of Slavic and European cuisine. Lenin Avenue, 28. Phones: +380 61 227 10 00, +380 61 227 10 22.