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Donetsk ( , translit. Donets’k; , translit. Donetsk; former names: Yuzovka, Stalino, see also: Cities' alternative names), is a large city in eastern Ukrainemarker on the Kalmius river. Administratively, it is a center of Donetsk Oblast, while historically, it is the unofficial capital and largest city of the economic and cultural Donets Basin (Donbass) region.

The city was founded in 1869 by a Welshmarker businessman, John Hughes, who constructed a steel plant and several coal mines in the region; the town was thus named Yuzovka (Юзовка) in recognition of his role in its founding ("Yuz" being a Russian or Ukrainian approximation of Hughes). During Sovietmarker times, the city's steel industry was expanded and since 1924 it was renamed Stalino (Сталино), after Joseph Stalin, and hence renamed after 1961, during the De-Stalinisation to its modern name after the Seversky Donetsmarker river. In addition, some sources state that the city was briefly called Trotsk—after Leon Trotsky—for a few months in 1923. Today, the city still remains an important industrial centre for coal and steel in Ukraine, and houses the "Donetsk" special economic zone, established in 1998.

The city is currently home to two major professional football teams in Ukraine: Shakhtar Donetsk and Metalurh Donetsk, both of which currently play in the Ukrainian Premier League. Important attractions of the city include the Cathedral Transfiguration of Jesus, the Donetsk National University, and others.

Donetsk currently has a population of over 1,100,000 inhabitants (2007) and has a metropolitan area of over 1,566,000 inhabitants (2004). According to the 2001 Ukrainian Census, Donetsk is the fifth-largest city in Ukraine.

Geography and climate

Donetsk lies in the steppe landscape of Ukraine, surrounded by scattered woodland, hills (slag heaps), rivers, and lakes. The northern outskirts of the city are mainly used for agriculture. The Azov Seamarker, 95 km south of Donetsk, is a popular recreational area for those living in Donetsk. A wide belt of farmlands surrounds the city.

The city stretches 28 km from north to south and 55 km from east to west. There are 2 nearby reservoirs: Nyzhnekalmius (60 ha), and the "Donetsk Sea" (206 ha). 5 rivers flow through the city, including the Kalmius, Asmolivka (13 km), Cherepashkyna (23 km), Skomoroshka, and Bakhmutka. The city also contains a total of 125 slag heaps.

Donetsk's climate is moderate continental. The average temperatures are −5 °C (23 °F) in January and +18 °C (66 °F) in June. The average number of rainfall per year totals 162 days and up to 556 millimetres per year.

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Ave. high °CF) -2 (27) -1 (29) 3 (39) 13 (57) 20 (68) 23 (74) 25 (77) 24 (76) 19 (67) 11 (53) 3 (39) 0 (32) 11 (53)
Ave. low °C (°F) -7 (18) -7 (19) -2 (28) 5 (41) 10 (51) 13 (57) 15 (60) 14 (58) 10 (50) 3 (39) -1 (30) -5 (23) 4 (40)
Source: Weatherbase


Donetsk was founded in 1869 when the Welshmarker businessman John Hughes built a steel plant and several coal mines in southern part of Russian Empiremarker at Aleksandrovka ( ). The town initially was given the name Hughesovka (Yuzovka; ; ). By the beginning of the 20th century, Yuzovka had approximately 50,000 inhabitants, and had attained the status of a city in 1917.

In 1924, under the Soviet rule, the city's name was changed to Stalino. In that year, the city's population totaled 63,708, and in the next year — 80,085. The city did not have a drinkwater system until 1931, when a 55.3 km system was laid underground. In July 1933, the city became the administrative centre of the Donetsk Oblast of the Ukrainian SSR. In 1933, the first 12 km sewer system was installed, and next year the first exploitation of gas was conducted within the city.

In the beginning of World War II, the population of Stalino consisted of 507,000, and after the war - only 175,000. The Nazi invasion during World War II almost completely destroyed the city, which was mostly rebuilt on a large scale at the war's end.

A market on the main street of Novyi Svet section of Yuzovka.

The territory of Donetsk at the time of the Nazi German occupation consisted mainly of a Jewish ghetto, in which 3,000 Jews died, and a concentration camp in which 92,000 people were killed. During the war, a collective responsibility system was enforced. For every killed Germanmarker soldier, 100 inhabitants were killed, and one for every killed policeman.

During Nikita Khrushchev's second wave of destalinization in November 1961, all Soviet cities named after Joseph Stalin were renamed. The name was changed to Donetsk, after the Seversky Donetsmarker river, a tributary of the Don.

In 1965, the Donetsk Academy of Sciences was established as part of the Academy of Science of the Ukrainian SSR. In 1970, Donetsk was recognized by UNESCOmarker as the cleanest industrial town of the world. Donesk was granted the Order of Lenin in 1979.

Residents of the city tend to be pro-Russian in their political beliefs. This has been massively exploited during 2004 presidential election, in which the city mostly voted for candidate Viktor Yanukovych, which had been announced as the winner of the election by the Central Election Commission. The vote was later proven to have been falsified, with many of the falsified votes coming from the surrounding region. This led to an election re-run, thus making Yanukovych lose the election. During the 2006 Ukrainian parliamentary elections, the Yanukovych-led Party of Regions also won most of the votes from the region.

Government and administrative divisions

[[Image:Raions of Donetsk and Donetsk City Municipality.PNG|thumb|right|250px|Raions of Donetsk on the territory of the Donetsk City Municipality:

While Donetsk is the administrative center of the Donetsk Oblast (province), the city is the capital of the Donetsk City Municipality. However, Donetsk is a city of oblast subordinance, thus being subject directly to the oblast authorities rather to the Donetsk City Municipality housed in the city itself.

The territory of Donetsk is divided into 9 administrative raions (districts). In addition, every raion consists of raion councils, which are subordinate to the Donetsk City Council.

# Raions Ukrainian Area Population
1 Budionivskyi Raion 25 km² 100,300
2 Voroshylovskyi Raion 10 km² 97,300
3 Kalininskyi Raion 19 km² 109,700
4 Kyivskyi Raion 33 km² 143,700
5 Kirovskyi Raion 68 km² 171,700
6 Kuibyshevskyi Raion 51 km² 120,800
7 Leninskyi Raion 37 km² 107,800
8 Petrovskyi Raion 57 km² 88,600
9 Proletarskyi Raion 58 km² 102,800


Donetsk currently has a population of over 988,000 inhabitants (2007) and has a metropolitan area of over 1,566,000 inhabitants (2004). It is the fifth-largest city in Ukraine.

While the majority of people in central and western Ukraine speak Ukrainian, most residents of Donetsk are Russian-speaking Ukrainians and ethnic Russians. According to 2001 population census, Ukrainians are 56,9% of Donetsk oblast and Russians are 38,2%. The Russian language is dominant in Donbas.

The actual nationality structure of the Donetsk City Municipality is as follows:

  1. Russians: 493,392 people, 48.15%
  2. Ukrainians: 478,041 people, 46.65%
  3. Belarusians: 11,769 people, 1.15%
  4. Greeks: 10,180 people, 0.99%
  5. Jews: 5,087 people, 0.50%
  6. Tatars: 4,987 people, 0.49%
  7. Armenians: 4,050 people, 0.40%
  8. Azerbaijanis: 2,098 people, 0.20%
  9. Georgians: 2,073 people, 0.20%
  10. Other: 13,001 people, 1.27%

Total: 1,024,678 people, 100.00%



Donetsk, at the time Yuzovka, was divided into two parts: north and south. In the southern part were the city's factories, train depots, telegraph buildings, hospitals and schools. Not far from the factories was the English colony where the engineers and the management lived. After the construction of the residence of John Hughes and the various complexes for the foreign workers, the city's southern portion was conducted mainly in the Englishmarker style.

These buildings used rectangular and triangular shaped façades, green rooftops, large windows, which occupied a large portion of the building, and balconies. In this part of the town, the streets were large and had sidewalks. A major influence on the formation of architecture in Donetsk was the official architect of a Novorossiya company — Moldingauyer. Preserved buildings of the southern part of Yuzovka consisted of the residences of John Hughes (1891, partially preserved), Bolfur (1889) and Bosse.

In the northern part of Yuzovka, Novyi Svet, lived traders, craftsmen and bureaucrats. Here were located the market hall, the police headquarters and the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Jesus. The central street of Novyi Svet and the neighbouring streets were mainly edged by one- or two-story residential buildings, as well as markets, restaurants, hotels, offices and banks. A famous preserved building in the northern part of Yuzovka was the Hotel Great Britain.

The first general plan of Stalino was made in 1932 in Odessamarker by the architect P. Golovchenko. In 1937, the project was partly reworked. These projects were the first in the city's construction bureau's history.

A large portion of the city's buildings from the second half of the 20th century were designed by the architect Pavel Vigdergauz, which was given the title Government award of the USSR for architecture in the city of Donetsk in 1978.


Three major professional football clubs play in the city, which include two in the Ukrainian Premier League and one in the Ukrainian Second League: Shakhtar Donetsk, which plays at the Donbass Arenamarker, Metalurh Donetsk, which plays at the Metalurh Stadium, and FC Olimpik Donetsk

The MFC Shakhtar Donetsk won the Ukrainianmarker futsal championship five times.

The VC Shakhtar Donetsk were the last team to win the Soviet Volleyball Championship, in 1992.

The city also has a team in the Ukrainian Basketball Super League, BC Donetsk.

In Donetsk, the USSR Tennis Championshipmarker took place within the city in 1978, 1979, and 1980 near the Donetsk Railroad tennis courts. Some tennis matches of the Davis Cup took place in Donetsk in 2005.

In Donetsk, the Soviet Championship on Light Athletics in Youth took place in 1978, 1979, 1980, and 1984. A monument to famous pole vault athlete Serhiy Bubka is installed in the city.

In the city, sailboat championships take place on the city's Kalmius river.

When the joint bid for the UEFA Euro 2012 was won by Polandmarker and Ukrainemarker, Donetsk's Donbass Arenamarker was chosen as the location for 3 Group Matches, Quarter-Final, and Semi-Final matches. The RSK Olimpiyskyi Stadiummarker was chosen as a reserve stadium.


The reconstructed Cathedral Transfiguration of Jesus in Donetsk.

Donetsk's residents belong to many different religious bodies: Eastern Orthodox Greek Catholic, Protestant, and Roman Catholic, as well as Islamic Mosques and Judaic synagogues. The largest religious body with the most members is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church .


Five television stations operate within Donetsk:

  • TRK Ukraina ( )
  • KRT, Kievskaya Rus' ( )
  • First Municipal ( )
  • Kanal 27 ( )
  • TRK Nadezhda ( )

In Donetsk, there is the 360 metre tall TV tower, one of the tallest structures in the city, completed in 1992.

Famous people

Donetsk has been home to many people, including sportsmen, musicians, writers, businessmen, dissidents, and many others. The citizens of Donetsk are commonly called Donechyani ( ). The following is a list of famous people that were born or raised in the city:


Local transportation

A Donetsk trolley bus with the Cathedral Transfiguration of Jesus in Donetsk.

The main forms of transport within Donetsk are: trams, electric trolley buses, buses and marshrutkas (private minibuses). The city public transportation system is controlled by the united Dongorpastrans municipal company. The city has 12 tram lines (~130 km), 17 trolley bus lines (~188 km), and about 115 bus lines. Both the tram and trolley bus systems in the city are served by 2 depots each. Another method of transport within the city is taxicab service, of which there are 32 in Donetsk.

The city also contains autostations located within the city and its suburbs: autostation Yuzhny (South), which serves mainly transport lines to the south, hence its name; autostation Tsentr (Centre), which serves transport in the direction of Marinka and Vuhledarmarker as well as intercity transport; the autostation Krytyi rynok (Indoor market), which serves mainly transport in the north and east directions; and the autostation Putilovsky, which serves mainly the north and northwest transport directions.

There is currently a metro system under construction in Donetsk,, with the first stage totaling 6 stations to open by 2012.


Donetsk's Main Railway Station, located in the North of the city.

Donetsk's Main Railway Station, which serves about 7 million passengers annually, is located in the northern part of the city. There is a museum near the main station, dealing with the history of region's railroads. Other railway stations are: Rutchenkogo, located in the Kyivskyi Raion; Mandrykino (Petrovskyi Raion), and Mushketogo (Budionivskyi Raion). Some passenger trains avoid Donetsk station and serve the station Yasynuvata, located outside the city limits. Although not used for regular transportation, the city also has a children's railway. (As of September 2009) a new railway terminal facility that will comply with UEFA requirements (since Donetsk is one of the host city's for UEFA EURO 2012) is planned.

As the Donetsk Oblast is an important transportation hub in Ukraine, so is its center Donetsk. The Donetsk Railways, based in Donetsk, is one of the largest railway divisions in the country. It serves the farming and industrial businesses of the area, and the populations of the Donetsk, Luhansk, partly the Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhia and Kharkiv oblasts.

Road transport

The highway, part of the International E-road network, runs through the city en route to Rostov-on-Donmarker in Russiamarker.

In addition, another international road runs through the city: the M 04. Also, three national Ukrainian roads ( N 15, N 20, and N 21) pass through the city.

Air travel

In addition to public and rail transport, Donetsk has an international airportmarker. It was constructed in the end of the 1940s to the beginning of the 1950s. The whole airport complex was finished in 1973. The city-based DonbassAero airline operates the airport.


Donetsk and the surrounding territories are heavily urbanized and agglomerated into conurbation. The workforce is heavily involved with heavy industry, especially coal mining. The city is an important center of heavy industry and coal mines in the Donets Basin (Donbas) and Ukraine. Directly under the city lie coal mines, which have recently seen an increase in mining accidents, the most recent accident being at the Zasyadko mine, which killed over 100 workers.

Donetsk's economy consists of about 200 industrial organizations that have a total production output of more than 5 billion hryvnias per year and more than 20,000 medium-small sized organizations. The city's coal mining industry comprises 17 coal mines and two concentrating mills; the metallurgy industry comprises 5 large metallurgical plants located throughout the city; the engineering market comprises 67 organizations, and the food industry — 32 organizations.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, Donetsk and other neighbouring cities of the Donbas suffered heavily, as many factories were closed down and many inhabitants lost their jobs. However, in spite of the difficult economic situation in Ukraine, Donetsk is a developing city. About 412 thousand m² of living space, 7.9 km of gas networks, and 15.1 km of water supply networks were constructed in the city during 1998-2001.

The city also houses the "Donetsk" special economic zone. Donetsk currently has nine sister cities. The Germanmarker city of Magdeburgmarker had economic partnerships with Donetsk during 1962-1996.


Donetsk is a well-known educational location of the surrounding area, accompanied with several universities, which include 5 state universities, 11 institutes, 3 academies, 14 technicums, 5 private universities, and 6 colleges.

The most important and prominent educational institutions include the National Technical University ("Donetsk Polytechnical Institute" in 1960-1993), as well as the Donetsk National University which was founded in 1965. The National Technical University held close contacts with the University in Magdeburg. Since 1970, more than 100 students from Germany (East Germanymarker) have completed their higher education at either one of the two main universities in Donetsk.

There are also several scientific research institutes, and an Islamic University within Donetsk.


Donetsk participates in international town twinning schemes to foster good international relations. Partners include:

Footnotes and references

  1. Yuz is a Russian or Ukrainian approximation of Hughes
  2. The population included mostly migrants from neighboring Russian territories
  3. Construction of railway terminal in Donetsk for UEFA EURO 2012 worth UAH 414mln, Ukrinform (September 23, 2009)

External links




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