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Donetsk (Донецьк), Ukraine

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Donetsk, UkraineDonetsk, Ukraine
photo source
authorshipAndrew Butko
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Donetsk (Ukrainian: Донецьк, Russian: Доне́цк) is a major city in eastern Ukraine. It covers 358 sq km (138.2 sq mi) and has a population of 980,000 people (2011 estimate), within a metropolitan area of two million people. Donetsk is the fifth largest city in the country.

The city of Donetsk is the economic and cultural hub for the Donets Basin. It is today also the administrative center for Donetsk Oblast. The landscape here is one of steppe, with scattered woodlands. The Azov Sea is 95 km to the south of Donetsk, and is a popular recreational destination for the city folks.

Mall and Business Center on Artema Street, DonetskMall and Business Center on Artema Street, Donetsk
photo source
authorshipАндрей Патриков
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Donetsk experiences a moderate continental climate. The warmest month is July, when the average high temperature reaches 25°C (77°F). Coldest months are January and February, when the average low temperature drops to -7°C (18°F).

Donetsk traces its history to 1869, when it was established by Welsh businessman John Hughes as a steel manufacturing facility, taking advantage of the abundant coal in the area. At that time, Donetsk was part of the Russian Empire. Its earliest name was Hughesovka (Ukrainian: , Russian: ), in honor of its founder.

Fountain at Donetsk CircusFountain at Donetsk Circus
photo source
authorshipAndrew Butko
photo licensing

Church of the Holy Protection, DonetskChurch of the Holy Protection, Donetsk
photo source
authorshipAndrew Butko
photo licensing

Since its founding, Donetsk has changed its name numerous times. After the city came under Soviet rule, it was renamed Stalin in 1924. In 1929, it was renamed Stalino. In 1961, when Stalin fell out of favor, it was briefly renamed Trotsk - after Leon Trotsky - before being renamed again, to Donetsk, after the Seversky Donets river. This name remains to this day.

Visiting Donetsk

There are regular flights from Kiev to Donetsk International Airport (DOK). Going there by road will take you 6-8 hours from Kiev. In Donetsk, you can take minibuses to move about the city. They are quite cheap, and faster than the regular buses. People here are unlikely to speak any English. It may help if you know some Russian (not to mention Ukrainian).

Sights & Attractions in Donetsk

  1. Artema
    This is the main tourist street in Donetsk, with a large array of sights, shopping center and restaurants.
  2. Donetsk Opera & Ballet Theater
    Stately building erected in 1936. World class performances are still being staged here.
  3. John Hughes Monument
    Monument to the industrialist who started a steel factory here, resulting in the founding of the city.
  4. Lenin Square
    Public square with a 42-meter statue of Lenin. It is one of the biggest symbols of the Soviet leader in the Ukraine.
  5. Statue of Artem
    Tribute to one of the most celebrated Soviet-era politician, and adopted son of Joseph Stalin.

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