Favorable climate and good location of Zaporozhye attracted people long ago. The ancient sites of early people in the river Dnieper valley refer to mid-paleolith. It is believed that in 972 prince of the Kievan Rus Svyatoslav I Igorevich died on the island of Khortitsa. The island of Khortitsa was known from the time of the Kievan Rus.
The history of the town Alexandrovsk (present day Zaporozhye) is linked with the construction of a New Dnieper fortified line of fortresses located between Zaporozhye and Berdyansk at the end of the 18th century. Alexandrovskaya fortress was the largest among them, its construction was finished by 1775.
Since its early years, the government tried to turn Alexandrovsk into not only administrative but economical center of the region. The settlement grew as well as its population. At the end of the 18th century, Alexandrovsk became an important transportation center. It was caused by the fact that goods for construction of Kherson and the Black Sea fleet were delivered via Alexandrovsk.
The importance of Odessa as a trade city grew and main trade directions changed in the region, Alexandrovsk began declining. In 1797, the Dnieper fortified line of fortresses was abolished due to loss of its military importance. In 1806, Alexandrovsk received the status of an uyezd town.
Construction of a railway crossing the town was a push to Alexandrovsk development. After construction of Lozovo-Sevastopolskaya railway was over, the town turned into one of the large transit freight points. Before the World War I, the population of the town was 63,600, water pipeline and a power station were constructed.
On March 23rd, 1921, Alexandrovsk was renamed Zaporozhye. Before the World War II, Zaporozhye turned into a large industrial city. The power station on the Dnieper (DneproGES) became a symbol of industrialization not only of Zaporozhye area but of the whole USSR. In 1939, the city became the center of a newly formed Zaporozhskaya oblast.
On August 18th, 1941, German troops approached the city. The dam of DneproGES was exploded because of the threat that German troops would enter the city. About 44,000 citizens 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.
Because of the power, a 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.
Zaporozhye has one of the largest strip-rolling mills of Ukraine. Coke by-products supply is an important chemical industry of Zaporozhye. A range of engineering and light industries includes the manufacture of automobiles and electrical apparatus.
There are teacher-training, pharmaceutical and machine-building institutes in Zaporozhye.
Zaporozhye architecture view
Zaporozhye city architecture
Khortitsa Isle. It is the largest island on the Dnieper River located in the middle of Zaporozhye city. 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 an island. Today the place is becoming a major museum complex. Address: Zaporozhye, Khortitsa Isle.
Museum of History of Zaporozhye Cossacks. The museum dedicated to the history of the Ukrainian Cossacks 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: “Battle of Kiev Prince Svyatoslav of the Dnieper rapids”, “Military Council in Sich”, “Construction of DnieproGES”, “Liberation of Zaporozhye October 14, 1943”. Nearby there is a large mound of the Scythian times. Address: Zaporozhye, Khortitsa Isle. Opening hours: 9:00-17:00, day off - Monday.
Zaporozhye Sich. Historical and cultural complex “Zaporozhye Sich” on Khortitsa Island is a reconstruction of an old Cossack fortress of the 16th-18th centuries. Sich (fortification) was a military and political center of Zaporozhye Cossacks, the capital of the Cossack lands. In those days Khortitsa Island was a strategic point in the way of the Tatars raids in Ukrainian lands. Also the political influence of Poland which was controlling 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, there were eight fortresses, 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 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, the reconstruction works began. Today there is a reduced 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. The guided tours are available. Address: Zaporozhye, Khortitsa Isle. Opening hours: 9:00-17:00, day off - Monday.
Equestrian Theater. The southeastern part of Khortitsa Island is a home of folklore-ethnographic equestrian theater “Zaporozhye Cossacks”. The theater is carefully keeping the old Cossack traditions. By order of large tourist groups, horse and folk ensembles shows, demonstration of traditional Cossack crafts are held here (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 local blacksmith and potter. The cafe “Cossack zaloga” located nearby offers traditional Ukrainian cuisine. Address: Zaporozhye, Khortitsa Isle. 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 had an astronomical purpose. In 1997, the pagan sanctuaries were reconstructed; wooden idols of pagan gods were placed there. Address: Zaporozhye, Khortitsa Isle, Velikaya Molodnyaga.
Scythian camp. 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 is standing on the top of the mound. A lot of interesting stone artifacts are collected in this open-air museum. Address: Zaporozhye, Khortitsa Isle, Zorovaya Mogila.
Chaika (Seagull) - Museum of the Dnieper flotilla. Informal museum of 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 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. Address: Zaporozhye, Khortitsa Isle.
Museum of the History of Weapons. The exhibition of the private museum of the history of weapons is based on the personal collection of 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. Address: Zaporozhye, Lenin Ave., 189. Opening hours: 10:00-19:00.
Zaporozhye oak. This 700-year-old giant oak became the symbol of the Ukrainian Cossacks. According to a legend Zaporozhye Cossacks wrote their famous letter to 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 being held on the territory. Address: Zaporozhye, T. Bulba Str. Opening hours: 9:00-21:00.
DnieproGES. DneproGES hydro power station is the symbol of the city. 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 Dnieper rapids were flooded, which provided the shipping along the Dnieper River. The rapid economic development of Zaporozhye city began due to 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 the 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. Address: Zaporozhye, Vinter Blvd., 1. Opening hours: 9:00-14:00, days off - Saturday, Sunday.
Two 2-level concrete bridges across the Dnieper are interesting from engineering point of view. The bridges link the right and the left banks of Zaporozhye through the island Khortitsa. Engineer B.N.Preobrazhensky was the designer of these bridges opened in 1952. They are the highest (54 m) in Ukraine.
Retro Cars Museum. 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. Address: Zaporozhye, Vyborgskaya Str., 8.Opening hours: 10:00-16:00 (Saturday - 9:00-12:00), day off - Sunday.
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 80 meters tunnel. The train runs on Sundays. Today it is one of the few children’s railroads where the trains are running all year round. Zaporozhye zoo, terrarium, aquarium and winter garden are located close to the main station “Zhovtnevaya”. Address: Zaporozhye, Lunacharsky Str., 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 where Ukraine’s largest monument to Vladimir Lenin is installed.
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. The design of this architectural ensemble won a gold medal at an exhibition in Paris in 1932. It gives an idea how construction of a city-garden, a city of the future would have come true.
In the area of Pobeda (Victory) Street several preserved buildings of pre-Revolutionary Aleksandrovsk can be found. Along the avenue there are several squares with fountains, numerous restaurants and cafes. A lot of administrative buildings, schools, universities and cultural institutions are located on this street. Address: Zaporozhye, Lenin Ave.
Zaporozhye 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. Circus performances are held on Saturdays and Sundays at 12:00 and 15:30, as well as during the school holidays. Address: Zaporozhye, Rekordnaya Str., 41. Opening hours: office: 8:00-18:00.
Local History Museum. The museum is located in a house of former district council (1912). It is one of the few survived house of pre-Revolutionary Aleksandrovsk. The exposition covers the history of the city before the Second World War. One of the sections is devoted to N. Makhno, who became famous in revolutionary years as leader of the anarchist movement in the southern regions of Ukraine. Address: Zaporozhye, Chekistov Str., 29. Opening hours: 9:00-17:00, days off - Sunday, Monday.
Music and Drama Theater. Zaporozhye Regional Academic Ukrainian Music and Drama Theater named after V. Magar is an example of 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. Address: Zaporozhye, Lenin Ave., 41.
Museum of Art. The museum was founded in 1971. The total number of the 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. Address: Zaporozhye, 40 let Sovetskoy Ukrainy (40th anniversary of Soviet Ukraine) Str., 76-b.
Church of God the Merciful Father. It is the only Catholic church in Zaporozhye. The Roman Catholic parish existed in Alexandrovsk (Zaporozhye) 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. Address: Zaporozhye, Zavodskaya Str., 21-a. Opening hours: 7:00-19:00.
St. Andrew’s Cathedral. The cathedral was built in 2000 by means of the “Motor-Sich” company and other sponsors. The church is constructed in the form of a cross with a large central dome and two smaller domes on each side. High bell tower is standing nearby. Address: Zaporozhye, Motorostroiteley Str., 50.
Church of the Intercession. It is the main Orthodox church of the city rebuilt on the site of the destroyed five-headed stone church. The exterior and magnificent interiors were recreated from old photographs. Address: Zaporozhye, Gorky Str., 139.