Zaporozhye city, Ukraine (Zaporizhia)

The capital city of Zaporozhye oblast.

Zaporozhye overview

Zaporozhye or Zaporizhia (Zaporizhzhia), former Aleksandrovsk (before 1921), is a city on the Dnieper River, the administrative center of the Zaporozhye region, one of the largest administrative, industrial, and cultural centers of the south of Ukraine, a river port and an important railway junction.

The population of Zaporozhye is about 745,000 (2016), the area - 331 sq. km.

The phone code - +380 61(2), the postal codes - 69001-69124.

Zaporozhye city flag

Zaporozhye city flag

Zaporozhye city coat of arms

Zaporozhye city coat of arms

Zaporozhye city map location

Zaporozhye history

Foundation date of Zaporozhye

For a long time the foundation date of Zaporozhye was considered 1770 - the year when the fortress of Aleksandrovsk was founded.

However, on June 27, 2014, the deputies of the city council of Zaporozhye approved the year 952 as the date of the founding of Zaporozhye - the last mentioned year of the treatise De Administrando Imperio (“On the Governance of the Empire”) of the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos “as the first written mention of the existing fortifications on both banks of the Dnieper and the island of Khortytsia.”

In fact, in this treatise, no mention was made of a specific fortified settlement, only the river crossing of Krajia (identified with the Kichkas crossing) and the island of St. Gregory (Khortytsia Island) located on the territory of present Zaporozhye. Among the scientists there is no consensus about the date of the foundation of Zaporozhye.

Zaporozhye from ancient times to 1770

People began to settle in these lands since ancient times due to a favorable climate and geographical location. The oldest sites of people in the valley of the Dnieper River date back to the Middle Paleolithic.

In the 7th century BC, the Northern Black Sea coast was controlled by the Scythians. In the 4th century AD, these lands were captured by the Huns, in the 6th century - the Avars, in the 8th century - the Khazars. In the 960s, after the Kiev prince Svyatoslav defeated the Khazar Khaganate, a new nomadic tribe came to the region - the Pechenegs.

Khortytsia Island has been known since the times of Kievan Rus. Below the island along the Dnieper, after the rapids, the waterway from the Varangians to the Greeks continued. The narrowest place in the lower reaches of the Dnieper, it was actively used in different historical periods. On Khortytsia, troops of Russian princes gathered several times for joint military operations in 1103, 1190, 1223 (Battle of the Kalka River).

More Historical Facts…

In the 15th-17th centuries, this territory was part of the Zaporozhian Sich - a semi-autonomous polity of Cossacks. The first and only Sich, located directly within the boundaries of the present Zaporozhye, was Khortytsia Sich. In 1552, on the island of Malaya Khortytsia (Baida Island), Dmytro Vyshnevetsky, the first Cossack Hetman in history, laid a wooden and earthy fort, which some historians consider a prototype of the Zaporozhian Sich. It was destroyed by the Ottoman-Tatar army in 1557.

In 1764, during the reign of the Russian Empress Catherine II, the Novorossiysk gubernia was formed, within the boundaries of which the territory of the present Zaporozhye region turned out to be. In 1768, with the outbreak of war against the Ottoman Empire, there was a need to protect the southern borders of the province from the Crimean Khanate. In early 1769, the army of General P.A. Rumyantsev repelled the invasion of the Crimean Tatars and reached the coast of the Azov Sea.

Alexandrovsk fortress

In 1770, Catherine II decided to build seven fortresses from the Dnieper rapids to the Azov Sea - the Dnieper defensive line. According to the plans, the line was supposed, on the one hand, to protect the region from the Crimean Tatar attacks, and on the other - to ensure the strengthening of Russian control over the lands of the Zaporozhian Sich. There is no unequivocal point of view, in honor of whom one of these new fortresses (Alexandrovsk) was named.

The construction of the fortress of Aleksandrovsk lasted five years, from 1770 to 1775. The fortress was a powerful fortification, occupied an area of about 130 hectares and had about 130 guns. Since June 1775, the lands of the South Russian steppes, called the Wild Field, became part the Russian Empire under the Kuchuk-Kaynarca Treaty (1774).

By the end of the 18th century, the further need for the border protection made by the Cossacks disappeared. At the same time, conflicts arose between the Cossacks and the Russian government, which began to develop this region. In addition, after Pugachev’s Rebellion (1773-1775), the government, fearing that the uprising would spread to Zaporozhye, decided to liquidate the Zaporozhian Sich. June 5, 1775, the Zaporozhian Sich was peacefully liquidated after the ultimatum of the lieutenant-general Peter Tekeli.

In 1783, the population of Aleksandrovsk was 1,230 people, 886 men and 344 women. In 1783, after the annexation of the Crimean Khanate to the Russian Empire, the Dnieper defensive line lost its importance and was abolished. In 1785, the fortress became an urban settlement.

In 1787, by the order of Catherine II, Mennonite Protestants, subjected to religious oppression, were allowed to move to new Russian lands along the Black Sea and in the Crimea, which were deserted after the conquest. Around Aleksandrovsk, at least 23 German villages (420 families) were founded. At the same time, Russian peasants and retired soldiers began to settle here, while most Zaporozhye Cossacks were resettled to Kuban, where they became Kuban Cossacks. From 1791 to 1917, Aleksandrovsk was in the Pale of Settlement for the Jews of the Russian Empire.

Alexandrovsk - a small provincial town

At the end of the 18th century, the settlement became a center through which goods were transported for the construction of Kherson and the Black Sea Fleet. With the growth of the trading role of Odessa and the change in directions of the main trade routes in the region, Alexandrovsk began to decline.

In 1804, the population of Alexandrovsk was about 2,000 people. In 1806, the settlement became a county town of Ekaterinoslav province with a town council, post office, courts, treasury. In 1811, Alexandrovsk received its coat of arms (the coat of arms of Zaporozhye is practically an exact copy of it). In the middle of the 19th century, Aleksandrovsk was an ordinary provincial town.

The presence of a pier on the Dnieper below the rapids, as well as the construction of a railway from the center of Russia to the Crimea, contributed to the growth of Aleksandrovsk. In 1873, a section of the Catherine Railway from Lozovaya to Aleksandrovsk was opened, the first railway station was built, called the South Station.

In 1875, the construction of the railway to Sevastopol was completed. Various goods (bread, coal, cattle, timber, etc.) were transported to Alexandrovsk by rail, where they were loaded onto barges and rafted down the Dnieper to sea ports, mainly to Odessa.

As a result, the town gradually began to turn into an important transport hub of the region, its industry began to develop too. In the 1870s, there were 5 agricultural machinery plants in Alexandrovsk. In 1897, the population of the town was 18,849 people, of them Ukrainians - 8,101, Jews - 5,248, Russians - 4,667.

The construction of the second Catherine Railway, which passed through Alexandrovsk and connected the Krivoi Rog Iron Ore and Donets Coal Basins in 1902, and the significant expansion of the harbor, gave a powerful new impetus to the development of the town and its economy. The second railway station was built.

On the eve of the First World War, the town’s population reached 63,600 people. During the First World War, a number of enterprises were evacuated from the western regions of the Russian Empire to Alexandrovsk. During the Civil War in the former Russian Empire, power in the town changed several times.

Zaporozhye in Soviet Ukraine

In 1921, Aleksandrovsk was renamed to Zaporozhye (literally meaning “below river rapids”). The turning point in the history of the town was the construction of the Dnieper hydroelectric power station (DneproGES), which was opened on October 10, 1932. The Dnieper rapids were flooded and direct navigation along the Dnieper was opened. The construction of a large industrial complex of ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy began on the power base of the station. DneproGES became one of the main symbols of Soviet industrialization.

In 1928, professor I.G. Aleksandrov drew attention to the need for a plan for the development of a new city around the Dnieper hydroelectric power station. The new Zaporozhye was designed as if apart from the old Aleksandrovsk. The architectural qualities of the project were so significant that it was presented at the World Exhibition in New York in 1939, as an example of the achievements of socialist city planning.

Between the dam and the industrial site, where the plants were built, about 10 km from the center of old Aleksandrovsk, a settlement #6 named Sotsgorod (Socialist city) was founded. Its construction, begun in 1929, was almost completed by 1932. Sotsgorod was created with the idea of building a city of the future, a city-garden. The ideas of Soviet urban avant-garde were used in the design of houses. By 1937, Zaporozhye was producing about 60% of Soviet aluminum, 60% of ferroalloys, 100% of magnesium, and 20% of rolled steel. In 1939, the city became a regional center.

August 18, 1941, during the Second World War, the Germans broke through the defense of Soviet troops west of Zaporozhye. By the evening of the same day, with the aim of slowing enemy advance, a special detachment of the Soviet troops blew up the dam of the Dnieper hydroelectric power station.

As a result, a 135 meters hole appeared in the dam. This subversive action was conducted in secret, without informing the population and other Soviet troops. The flow of water caused thousands of victims - civilians and Soviet soldiers concentrated in the areas of Khortytsia Island. The front line stabilized for a month and a half. During this period, a significant part of the equipment of industrial enterprises was evacuated to the east of the USSR. The defense of Zaporozhye lasted until October 4, 1941.

By the summer of 1942, the Germans rebuilt the DneproGES. Before the war, about 300,000 people lived in Zaporozhye. Some of them were drafted into the Red Army in 1941, some were evacuated with factories, a lot of people were forced to move to Germany as slave labor, thousands were shot.

During the occupation, the Germans conducted a census of the population. According to it, on May 1, 1942, 103,375 people lived in Zaporozhye. October 12-14, 1943, the city was liberated by the Soviet Army. Storming Zaporozhye became the first successful night tank assault on a large city.

In the postwar years, Zaporozhye was actively rebuilt. By the end of 1950, about 90% of residential houses were restored. The growth of the old part of the city and the new one (Sotsgorod) led to their unification in the 1960s. At this time, large new residential districts were founded. Two two-tiered bridges across the Dnieper, opened in 1953, became cultural and engineering attractions of the city.

In the 1950s-1980s, Zaporozhye continued to develop as a large industrial city. During this period, the machine-building, industrial and metallurgical institutes, technical schools of the city developed rapidly too. In 1960, the plant “Kommunar”, changed its direction of activity and instead of harvesters began to produce mini-cars “Zaporozhets”. In the late 1980s, the population of Zaporozhye reached 900,000 people.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, in independent Ukraine, the population of Zaporozhye began to decline. From 1992 to 2017, the city’s population decreased by about 20%.

Zaporozhye pictures

Zaporozhye architecture

Zaporozhye architecture

Author: Mikhail Pogorely

Zaporozhye street

Zaporozhye street

Author: Altukhov Andrey

Cascade fountain Rainbow in Zaporozhye

Cascade fountain Rainbow in Zaporozhye

Author: Max Stolbinsky

Zaporozhye features

Zaporozhye is located on both banks of the Dnieper River, between them the island of Khortytsia is situated.

The climate is continental. Summer is warm, usually begins in the first days of May and lasts until early October. Winter is moderately mild, often there is a lack of snow. The average temperature in July is plus 22.5 degrees Celsius, in January - minus 3.1 degrees Celsius.

Zaporozhye is the fourth largest industrial center in Ukraine. The economic potential of the city includes more than 280 industrial enterprises, among which the major share is formed by the enterprises of machine building, metallurgy and metal processing, chemical and petrochemical industry, food industry. Zaporozhye has more than 60% of the region’s productive capacities and 40% of the region’s population.

Passenger transportation in Zaporozhye is provided by trams, trolleybuses, buses, taxis, and suburban electric trains. Zaporozhye railway junction is formed by the intersection of two main lines: Moscow - Kharkiv - Zaporozhye I - Sevastopol and Krivoy Rog - Zaporozhye II - Donbass.

Transport links between the left and right banks of the Dnieper are provided through the dam of the Dnieper Hydropower Station, the Arch bridge and the Preobrazhensky bridges that pass through Khortytsia Island. A significant traffic problem in Zaporozhye is the low capacity of the dam and bridges.

The environmental situation in Zaporozhye and the region is unfavorable because of a large number of industrial enterprises. A significant part of them is located in the center of residential districts.

The main street of Zaporozhye is Soborny Avenue, which crosses almost the entire left-bank part of the city from the railway station to the Dnieper Hydroelectric Power Station. Its length is about 11 km, which makes this avenue one of the longest streets in Europe.

Along Soborny Avenue, monumental buildings constructed in the Stalin Empire style coexist with architectural monuments of constructivism of the 1930s. In the Aleksandrovsky district - the oldest part of the city - the buildings of the late 19th - early 20th centuries have been preserved.

The city of Zaporozhye has a significant tourist potential because of its favorable geographical location, rich history, national and cultural diversity, specific architecture, natural sites, unique combination of urbanized and industrialized areas with protected areas within the city limits.

The City Day of Zaporozhye is celebrated on the first Saturday of October.

Zaporozhye sights

Khortytsia Island

The first tourist object associated with Zaporozhye is the Khortytsia National Reserve, one of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine. It is the largest river island in Europe stretching for 12 km along the banks of the Dnieper River. The nature of the island is unique. Almost all landscapes of Ukraine are combined on its territory.

More than one thousand species of plants, as many species of insects, two hundred species of birds, and two dozen species of mammals live here. A lot of them are listed in the Red Book of Ukraine.

Khortytsia is a favorite recreation place for locals and visitors of Zaporozhye. There are recreation centers, sanatoriums, beaches, water excursions around the island. The reserve has a number of tourist routes, where you can get acquainted with the history of Zaporozhye and its unique nature.

In the north of the island there is the Historical and Cultural Complex “Zaporozhian Sich”. This is a generalized image of the Cossack capital with a church, house of the ataman, school, smithy, tavern, etc. There are regular excursions, master classes and performances of Cossacks. Nearby you can find the Museum of the History of the Cossacks with an observation deck, which offers an impressive view of the Dnieper Hydropower Station. Opening hours: 9:00-17:00 (16:00 in winter). Day off: Monday.

The central part of Khortytsia is a real southern steppe. In this part of the island there is the Historical and Cultural Complex “Scythian camp”. In the beginning of the 20th century, on there were 129 burial mounds on the island. The oldest of them were built in the Bronze Age, in the 3rd-2nd millennium BC. There are a lot of interesting stone artifacts in this open-air museum.

In the south-eastern part of Khortytsia there is the Folk-Ethnographic Equestrian Theater “Zaporozhye Cossacks”. By order of large tourist groups, horse and folklore performances are held here. After the performances, you can ride horses, as well as buy handmade souvenirs. On the territory there is the cafe “Cossack Zaloga” (traditional Ukrainian cuisine). Phone: +380 67 619 52 90.

Zaporozhye views

McDonald's in Zaporozhye

McDonald’s in Zaporozhye

Author: Dmitry Krivilo

Memorial in honor of the liberation of Zaporozhye

Memorial in honor of the liberation of Zaporozhye

Author: Dmitry Krivilo

Zaporozhye airport

Zaporozhye airport

Author: Yura Shepko


Museum of Retro Cars “Faeton”. The main exhibits of the museum are 22 cars produced in the 1930s-1960s (“Dodge”, “Willis”, “Ural-ZiS”, ZiS-5, ZiS-6 (Katyusha) and others). In addition, you can see old weapons, equipment, military uniforms, badges, motorcycles, and a lot of other interesting collections. Vyborz’ka Street, 8. Opening hours: 09:00-17:00.

Museum of the History of Weapons. The museum has a large and diverse collection of historical weapons of different times and peoples: assault rifles, rifles, pistols, swords, sabers, axes, chain mails, and much more. In total, there are more than 4,500 exhibits. Soborny Avenue, 189. Opening hours: 10:00-19:00.

Museum of Engineering of Bohuslaev. The exposition includes more than 400 exhibits: a unique collection of aircraft engines, an open air exposition of military equipment, a collection of motorcycles, a collection of samovars, a collection of unique hunting weapons. Kopenkina Street, 27?. Opening hours: 10:00-16:00.

Zaporozhye Regional Museum. The museum is located in the former building of the Zemstvo Board (1912) - one of the few preserved houses of the pre-revolutionary Alexandrovsk. In total, there are more than 100,000 exhibits presenting the history of Zaporozhye from ancient times until the Second World War.

The most interesting collections are the paleontological collection, archaeological finds from the Zaporozhye burial mound, Sarmatian jewelry, collections of insects, weapons and household items of the Cossacks. Troitska Street, 29/16. Opening hours: 9:00-18:00. Days off: Sunday, Monday.

Zaporozhye Art Museum. The collection has more than 13,000 exhibits - icons, paintings, sculptures, graphics, Ukrainian folk and decorative art. Here you can see the stages of development of the fine arts of Ukraine and Russia from the 18th to the beginning of the 21st centuries. Nezalezhnoi Ukrainy Street, 76B. Opening hours: 10:00-18:00. Days off: Sunday, Monday.


Holy Protection Cathedral. The first church in place of the current main cathedral of Zaporozhye was built in 1778. The old Pokrovskaya church was mostly wooden. May 5, 1886, in place of the already dismantled church, a new cathedral was laid - Holy Protection Cathedral. It was destroyed by the Bolsheviks in the 1930s.

Construction of almost an exact copy of the destroyed cathedral began in 1993 and lasted 14 years. The 53-meter Holy Protection Cathedral is among the most beautiful churches in Ukraine. Soborny Avenue, 37.

St. Andrew’s Cathedral (2000). This church was built in the form of a cross with a large central dome and two small domes on its sides. Nearby, there is a high bell tower. Motorostroiteley Street, 50.

Cathedral of God the Merciful Father - the only Catholic church in Zaporozhye. The Roman Catholic parish existed in Aleksandrovsk (Zaporozhye) before the revolutionary events of 1917. In the 1930s, the Catholic church was closed and later destroyed. In 2004, a new church was consecrated - the Cathedral of God the Merciful Father (the only one with such name in Eastern Europe). Zavods’ka Street, 21A.

Other places of interest

Dnieper Hydroelectric Station (1927-1932) - the second most famous tourist symbol of Zaporozhye and the second largest hydroelectric power station in Ukraine. The dam of the station stretches for 1.3 km across the Dnieper and connects its right and left banks. It is an industrial object, but at the same time a magnificent architectural monument.

Soborny Avenue - one of the longest streets in Europe (about 11 km). It is the central, most beautiful and busiest street in Zaporozhye. The residential quarters of Sotsgorod in the area of the dam are considered one of the best examples of the city-planning art of the USSR of the pre-war period. Several squares with fountains, a lot of restaurants and cafes, most of the attractions of Zaporozhye are located on this street.

Preobrazhensky Bridges (1949-1952) - two bridges connecting right and left banks of the Dnieper River through Khortytsia Island, a monument of cultural heritage of Ukraine. The bridges were named in honor of the author of the project - engineer and bridge builder B. Preobrazhensky. These bridges are the highest bridges in Ukraine (54 meters).

Zaporozhye Children’s Railway (1972) - one of the best and biggest children’s railways in Ukraine. The total length is 9.4 km, there is a tunnel 80 m long. This is one of the few children’s railways operating all year round. The train runs 8 times a day on Sundays, and daily during school holidays, except Monday and Tuesday. Pryvokzalna Street, 1.

Music and Drama Theater named after V.G. Magar (1953) - an architectural monument of the era of Soviet monumental classicism. One of the best theaters in Ukraine in terms of architecture, aesthetic performance, technical equipment.

The repertoire of the theater is Ukrainian classical, world and contemporary drama, operettas and musicals, performances of heroic and romantic orientation, comedies, musical and plastic performances, and fairy tales for children. Soborny Avenue, 41.

Voznesenovsky Park - one of the most romantic places in Zaporozhye. This open landscaped area of 4.5 hectares with elements of modern landscape design is located next to the cascade of fountains “Rainbow” on the embankment of the Dnieper.

The park was named after the village of Voznesenka, which in the old days was in this place. There is an artificial pond with fountains. This is one of the cleanest and well-organized parks in Zaporozhye, a place for recreation and various cultural events. Pryberezhna Highway.

Best hotels in Zaporozhye

In total, there are about two dozen different hotels in Zaporozhye. The following English friendly hotels located in the central part of the city offer the best level of service according to visitors’ reviews.

Hotel “Teatralny”. The hotel is located near the historical center of Zaporozhye. 109 rooms. Air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, family rooms, parking, restaurant (Ukrainian and European cuisine), bar, wheelchair accessible, shuttle service, safe, elevator, souvenir shop, pets are not allowed. Troitska Street, 23. Phone: +380 61 228 80 00.

Hotel “Khortitsa Palace Hotel”. This 15-storey hotel offers beautiful views of the center of Zaporozhye, the Dnieper River, Khortytsia Island. 164 rooms. Air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, parking, fitness center, bar, wheelchair accessible, ATM, safe, elevator, souvenir shop, pets are allowed on request. Shevchenko Avenue, 71A. Phone: : +38 061 766 00 00.

Hotel “Soborny” - a modern building near the historical center of Zaporozhye. Nearby, you can find the Holy Protection Cathedral, after which the hotel was named (“soborny” literally means “cathedral”). 16 rooms. Air conditioning, safe, free Wi-Fi and parking, bar, no elevator and the stairs are narrow, pets are not allowed. Soborny Avenue, 28. Phone: +380 61 227 10 00.

Hotel “Reikartz Zaporizhia”. This hotel of the Reikartz Hotels and Resorts is located in the center of Zaporozhye, in the park area on the bank of the Dnieper River, near the central beach. 69 rooms. Air conditioning, free Wi-Fi and parking, shuttle service, swimming pool, bar, restaurant, safe, elevator, pets are allowed on request. Mayakovs’koho Avenue, 19. Phone: +380 61 228 44 90.

Zaporozhye city, Ukraine photos

Zaporozhye places

Zaporozhye City Hall

Zaporozhye City Hall

Author: Yurka Panasenko

Preobrazhensky Bridge in Zaporozhye

Preobrazhensky Bridge in Zaporozhye

Author: Nickolay Tihomiroff

Taras Shevchenko Boulevard in Zaporozhye

Taras Shevchenko Boulevard in Zaporozhye

Author: Evgeny Drobinsky

Zaporozhye sights

Circus in Zaporozhye

Circus in Zaporozhye

Author: Valeriy Perepyolkin

Dnieper Hydroelectric Station in Zaporozhye

Dnieper Hydroelectric Station in Zaporozhye

Author: Igor Lazarevich

St. Andrew's Cathedral in Zaporozhye

St. Andrew's Cathedral in Zaporozhye

Author: Mikhail Pogorely

The questions of our visitors

Martin asks: Interested in exploring Mennonite history in nearby Molochnya. Are there any guides available who can do a tour to there?
Expert's answer:
A lot of old photos and info related to this topic is available here. And here is the auto-translated version of this page. Try to contact Zaporozhye guides, someone should probably be able to help you organize a trip there.
Hanns asks: The distance between Zaporizhia and Lugansk?
Expert's answer:
The road distance between Zaporizhia and Lugansk is about 400 km.
Connor asks: Is it safe to travel to Zaporozhye? What is the safest and best way to travel from Kiev or Poltava?
Expert's answer:
Yes, it is relatively safe to visit Zaporozhye now. The city is located far away from the conflict zone. The best way to travel from Kyiv to Zaporozhye is to go by train. You can book the tickets here.
Tim Morris asks: I would like to come to Ukraine sometime between July and December of this year 2016. If I stay a month what would it cost me just stay in Zaporozhye for one month total combinations by that I mean comfortable and safe my travel expenses and other expenses housing accommodation what I need give me some idea please whenever you can offer information would be greatly appreciated thanks.
Expert's answer:
Currently (the summer of 2016), the average salary in Zaporozhye is about 250-300 USD per month. The cost of renting an apartment with one living room is about 100-150 USD per month. In general, I think that the sum starting from about 1,000 USD will be enough to live one month in Zaporozhye as a foreigner.

The comments of our visitors

Did you move to Ukraine?
Hello Ken. It is now 2016. Did you move to Zaporozhye? Are you concerned about the possible fighting in neighboring Donetsk?

Ken Ackerman
Move to Zaporozhye 2016
I like this site. I try to read much about the Ukraine and Zaporozhye. I have been to the Ukraine about 6 times and Zaporozhye 3 times. I like the people, the culture, food without chemicals. I want to do volunteer work because people have not heard the word entitlement. I also want to volunteer at Kalinoka.

James Collins
Zaporozhye city
Love the History and Sights of Your City!! Well written article!! Would Love to come for a Visit in the Future!! Also, like that they have so many Children events there!! Thanks ever so Much!

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