Donetsk Travel Guide

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Shahtar - the visitcard of Donetsk

Shahtar - the visitcard of Donetsk

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On the headwaters of the Kalmius River, Donetsk is the most important town of the South-East of Ukraine. Donetsk has always been an industrial city. In 1872 a Welshman, John Hughes (from whom the town's pre-Revolutionary name Yuzovka was derived), founded an ironworks  to produce iron rails for the growing Russian rail network. Later steel rails were made. The plant used coal mined from the immediate vicinity, and both coal mining and steel making developed rapidly. By 1914 there were 4 metallurgical plants, 10 coalpits, and a population of about 50,000.

After the October Revolution (1917), Yuzovka was renamed Stalino and, in 1961, Donetsk. Heavy destruction in World War II led to postwar modernization and an increase in the scale of industry. Subsequent growth has been rapid and sustained. There are now more than 40 coalpits within the town limits. A major integrated coking, iron-smelting, and steel-making plant makes modern Donetsk one of the largest metallurgical centres of Ukraine.

Donetsk is a pretty city, although the air is not the cleanest due to surrounding factories. As with other European cities, everything is within walking distance. The principal street, from the railway station to the steelworks, is 9km (5.5 miles) long, with the main shops, hotels, and administrative buildings. Others institutions scattered in close proximity include the Donetsk University, polytechnic, medical and trade institutes, and more than 30 scientific research establishments, including a branch of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Cultural amenities include several theatres and a philharmonic hall.

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