Donetsk

Travel Guide Europe Ukraine Donetsk

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Introduction

Donetsk

Donetsk

© Ukrrest

Donetsk is a large city located in eastern Ukraine. It is a relatively new city, founded in 1869 by a Welsh businessman who set up a steel plant and some coal mines in the area. It is the fifth largest city in Ukraine with a population over 1,100,000. Donetsk is also called a city of a million of roses. This active, well groomed and blooming city welcomes tourists hospitably. Donetsk is considered to be the greenest of all industrial cities of the world.

Donetsk was founded in 1869 as a miners' settlement in a big coal-mining area. It was called Yuzovka in honor of a British enterpreneur John James Hughes who was decisive enough to build a metallurgical plant here. The first blast furnace was put into operation on January 24, 1872. From the Hughes’ plant (today Lenin Metallurgical Plant) the metallurgical industry of the Southern industrial region started. In 1924, Yuzovka with population of more then 50 thousand inhabitants was renamed in Stalino. In 1961, after the denunciation of Stalin's personality cult, the city was renamed into Donetsk after the river Donets, the largest river in the Donets Basin, that flows across Donets region. In 1978 the population of Donetsk totaled one million inhabitants.

The cultural centre of Donetsk and all the Donetsk region is one of the greatest arts museums of Ukraine, the holder of Award “Zolotoy Skif-1999”, Donetsk Regional Arts Museum. Its collection numbers 11,500 works of painting, graphic, sculpture and other arts and crafts. Presentations of regional prizes named after painter A.Cuingy, composer S.Prokofjev, poet V.Sosjura, writer V.Shutov take place in museum halls.

The symbol of Donetsk region represented on the Donetsk Region Coat of Arms is the Palm of Mertsalov, which embodies prosperity and pride of its inhabitants. A replica of the famous work made by Ukrainian smith-master Aleksey Mertsalov, a worker of Hughes’ plant, is located near the building of Local History Museum. The original Palm with the weight 315 kg is kept in Saint Petersburg in the Mining Institute’s Museum.

The unique in Europe Park of Forged Figures is recommended to visit in Donetsk. As Donetsk is the first of the former Sovjet Union’s cities officially admitted to “The Ring of Cities-Smithes” involving the best blacksmith cities of the world. Fairy-tale characters, signs of the zodiac and many other works of blacksmith's art involve into the world of fantasy and elegance. The blacksmith's work festival takes place in the Park of Forged Figures every year.

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Neighbourhoods

The city consists of nine vast districts. The central street in the city is called Artiom Street (in Ukrainian Artem Street). The main sites are located in this street, among them Opera and Ballet Theater founded in 1941, Lenin Square, "Shakhtior" ("Miner") hotel, etc. The city is 120 kilometres away and you can make a day trip to Mariupol, a big port and a resort at the seaside, and enjoy the sun on its beaches or have a short sea voyage.

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Sights and Activities

Donbass Arena

Donbass Arena

© Ukrrest

  • Walking along Pushkin Boulevard that is about two kilometers long is a must for visitors of Donetsk. Thus you will not miss the enchanting beauty of its downtown. You can start behind the Drama Theater at Pushkin bust and proceed to Shevchenko monument. The monument to Taras Shevchenko, the Bard of Ukraine (on the picture) stands in front of the Regional Administration building.
  • Visiting the city stadium in Artyom Street you can see the statue of Sergey Bubka in front of the stadium. Sergey Bubka is a famous Olympic champion, a pole vault jumper, an IOC member, Hero of Ukraine, who lives and works in Donetsk. I think this is the only monument to a living Ukrainian hero at present.

The inscription at the foot of the monument runs, “Sergey Bubka, outstanding sportsman of the 20th century, multiple World and Olympic Champion”.

  • Joseph Cobzon monument near the “Youth Palace” concert hall in Cheliuskintsev Street is another monument to an outstanding contemporary. The monument is very democratic and has no pedestal. The statue’s left hand is well polished by the people who have their photo taken.
  • The monument to Archangel St.Michael located in front of an Orthodox Cathedral in the main street was brought from Kiev where it used to stand in Independence Square, the capital’s main square.
  • Another must-see monument is Lenin monument in Lenin Square. It is one of the biggest Lenin monuments in Ukraine. Its height is about 15 meters. You can approach it from different angles and take a lucky picture of it and the obelisk with Lenin’s words on how important the Donets Basin is.
  • There is an exact replica of the Czar Cannon that stands in the Kremlin in Moscow. The replica was commissioned in Izhevsk, Russia, in 2001 and was presented to the people of the Donets Basin as a symbol of the inviolable friendship of the Russian and the Ukrainian peoples. The Ukrainian version of the Czar Cannon stands in Artiom Street - the central street of Donetsk.

Donbass Arena

Donbass Arena is the first stadium in the Eastern Europe, which has been projected and constructed in accordance with UEFA standards and acquired the category of "VIP" category (five stars)! "Donbass Arena" is prestige and pride to the residents of our city, inhabitants of our region and citizens of our country! "Donbass Arena" is the center of sports, cultural and entertaining living! "Donbass Arena" is domestic sports ground for our favorite "Shakhtar" football team; we are the fans of that from generation to generation. We don't take a rest on our laurels, but determine the new and even more ambitious targets. The new discoveries, summits and success are waiting forward, as we hire the best specialists in every sphere and from all parts of the word.

There are three theatres, the Concert Hall, the circus, cinemas, leisure centers called "Palaces of Culture", clubs, museums, a picture gallery and a planetarium. Besides, there are architectural monuments of local importance, of sculpture and history, and memorial places. Thanks to the city's remarkable architecture the residents have many places of interest in the city: Artiom Street, Lenin Square, the recreation parks, etc.

The residents of Donetsk have places for rest after a hard working day other than just staying at home. At their service there is Central Park of Culture and Rest and its branches – Lenin Komsomol Park and Shcherbakov Park. On the outskirts of city there are Donetsk Botanical Gardens.
Though Donetsk does look gloomy and gray in winter, as does every large industrial center, a lot of greenery, beautiful buildings, the River Calmius and numerous lakes make the city wonderful in spring and in summer.

Salt Mine

Salt mine

Salt mine

© Ukrrest


Soledar (in 1965 – 1991 Carlo Libknehtovsk) is a small town of regional significance in the Donetsk region. It is known preliminary for its salt mines where in Soviet times produced up to 40% of the Union production of rock salts and 88% of Ukrainian extraction. The development of deposits of rock salt deposit is carried out by a mining method at the depth of 200 – 300 metres. As a result over one hundred years of underground work in the earth, a system of mine works has more than 200 km. Their sizes are striking. Sometimes they are up to 30 metres high. A speleosanatory for asthmatics has been organized here.

Homutovskaya steppe

Nowadays it is impossible to find large virgin steppe. The man mastered them, plowed and sowed. But in the Donetsk region there is a unique piece of ground – the Homutovskaya steppe showing to us how looked Azov in the distant past. The reserve with this name was organized in 1926.This is all that remained of the once immense wild field occupying the southern part of the Ukraine. At its open spaces appeared evolved and disappeared diverse peoples: Scythians, Sarmatians, Pechenegs, Polovtsians and many others who like waves rolled along boundless steppes, leaving on the barrows soldiers of hours – stone images. Unfortunately these idols of the past were not able to save the fertile steppes from men who plowed lands. Today the reserve area is of 1030,4 hectares, 90 of them are strictly protected areas that have never dealt with a plow and on which for 70 years the cattle have never been grazed and mowing haven’t been held. On its territory the plants of the plain feather – grass, steppe have been preserved and protected. There are 604 species of flower plants and fern – grass, shrubs and trees. Among them 19 plants are endemic. It means that these plants grow only on this territory. There are also 59 species of mosses, 46 species o lichens and more than 270 species of mushrooms. The most common and widespread of flora are feather – grasses, clovers, lychnises, tulips violets, almonds, gores, corn flowers, meadow grass, sage, cutter, and hundreds of other plants. Each of them and at one time adorn the steppe.

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Weather

Lying on the Eurasian steppe inland from the sea, Donetsk has a typical continental climate: While temperatures lower than -30 °C were recorded, a more realistic expectation from winter lows (Oct–May) would be -7 °C. Summers, on the other hand, can go up as much as 38 °C, although expecting around 27 °C would be more typical.

While spring and summer months (May–Jul) are statistically the wettest, rains are more or less evenly distributed throughout the year. But an average year sees about 492 mm of precipition anyway, which is about half of what is typical for oceanic climates common in northwestern Europe.

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Getting There

By Plane

Donetsk International airport was destroyed in the war in 2014.

By Train

Railway Station (Железнодорожный вокзал), Sq. Pryvokzalna ( пл. Привокзальна), 3. (Tram 1, Trolleybus 2 to Stop «Железнодорожный вокзал»). For commuter trains allocated separate platform with its the concourse, To get to the commuter train station go out to the first platform and turn right, a hundred meters from there. To Kiev 7 hours, 06:24*, 16:43*, 19:16, 19:41 -*Intercity trains via Poltava US$35 2nd cl. seat, US$51 1st cl. - non IC's journey time ~16-17 hours via Poltava or ~12h via Dnipro. To Kharkiv ~4-6 hours, 6-8 per day, (between 10:24-22:29). To Luhansk ~3½ hours, 1-2 per day, 04:55 & 17:02. To Mariupol 1-2 per day, 06:17 & 23:57 3 hours. To Simferopol 07:21 ~7½ hours && 23:37 ~13 hours. To Berdiansk (South)12:40 7 hours. To Melitopol-Pas 12:40 ~8½ hours.

There is also a direct train once or twice a week from Almaty (Kazakhstan) via Atyrau and Volgograd. However, you will need at least a Russian transit visa, which is generally quite expensive.

By Car

The drive from Kiev can be 6-8 hours depending on how fast you drive, how many stops you make, etc.

By Bus

Pivdennyi (Main) Bus station (Автовокзал "Південний"), Kommunarov sq.(пл. Коммунаров), 4 (Buses41, 42, 50, 79, 90, 77, 73; Minibuses41Б, 42Г, 42В, 47, 53, 54, 76, 85, 9, 42А, 80, 43, 37, 25, 17; Trolleybuses17, 5, 9А to Stop «Площадь Коммунаров»; Trams3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 2 to Stop «Красноармейская»), ☎ +380 62 2665119. To Kiev 720 km (between 07:02-21:38) journey time 12 hr, 10-12 per day. To Poltava ~8 hr, 6 per day (between 14:09-20:30). To Dnipro ~5 hr, 20 per day (between 07:00-21:20). To Kherson ~12 hr, 10 per day (between 09:40-22:30). To Kharkiv ~6 hr, 7 per day, (between 06:15-15:30). To Luhansk ~3.5 hr, 8-12 per day (between 04:00-19:00). To Mariupol 320 km, 5-8 per day (between 09:40-22:30) 3 hr. To Simferopol 2-4 per day, ~9 hr. To Berdiansk (South) 10-14 per day, 3½ hr (between 07:40-22:00).

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Getting Around

By Car

Most tourists find the taxi to be their best option. Taxi cabs are on every corner and they are relatively cheap.

There are numerous dispatch taxi services. For example, 381-0000 or 0-67. Keep your eyes open for more numbers, usually printed on the side of the cab in large font.

Also, on the first ride in the taxi, ask the driver if he would like to drive you around on a regular basis. Usually, they will be delighted to do so and give you their ID number for dispatch (pozivnoi) or their cell phone so you can call him directly. That way, you can have a chauffeur for the time of your stay.

By Public Transport

Public transportation is cheap but can be crowded. Be prepared to stand up most of the time, and you may have to make waves when you want to get out. There are four main types: the trolleybus, bus, tram and minibuses (marshrutki). Trams and buses will get you just about anywhere in the city for a fixed price for as long as you want to be on the tram/bus. Tickets are to be bought from the conductor, which is on board of every tram/bus. At the central market there is one of the many depots. These forms of transport stop at every stop on the route.

The minibuses (singular marshrutka, plural marshrutki) operated by non-municipal companies can be found throughout the city. They are like the buses, but faster, smaller, and they stop on request. If you are on board you must yell to the driver that you want out at the next stop, and if you are waiting for one, you must flag it down. Depending on the driver, these can get very crowded.

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Eat

  • Eli-peli Restaurant (Ресторан японской и итальянской кухни Ели-пели), Kievskii, 46, (N 8km), ☎ +380 62 3879405. Japanese & Italian cuisine, free Wi-Fi.
  • Sely zely (Ресторан быстрого питания Сели съели), Krasnoarmeiskaya str., 74. Fast Food

E-moe (Ethnic restaurant), 15d, Ilyicha ave., ☎ +380 62 3859568. Gourmands start their familiarity with the restaurant from the chef's proposals, the aesthetes prefer the interior, the first thing evaluated by creative people is the genuine original atmosphere of the new institution.

  • McDonald's (Ресторан Макдональдз), Blvd. Shevchenko, 6B (At the Tsentralnyi Market), ☎ +380 62 3325514. Fast Food, Wi-Fi. Other unit Str. Postysheva, 119 phone +380 62 332-55-50
  • Ukrainske bistro (Украинское бистро), Str. Artema, 145A, ☎ +380 62 3813384. Fast Food

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Drink

Drink only mineral water instead of the tap water in the city; be careful about buying liquors at the kiosks for there are lots of fake liquors that have already sent lots of people to the hospital. The city is surrounded by lots of coalmines, so the quality of the air leaves much to be desired. You can smell the industry at once.

  • Bar Strike, 14A Mira Avenue, ☎ +380 62 381-4700. A wide range of appetizers, drinks and cocktails to suit any taste. (Billiards Bar, Hotel Bar).
  • Svoi Sport bar (Спортивный бар Свой), Str. Universitetskaya,76, ☎ +380 62 3813202. Free Wi-Fi.

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Sleep

  • Liverpool Hotel.
  • The Red Cat hostel, Mira Avenue building 3, flat 1.
  • Victoria Hotel (Готельний комплекс Viсtoria), Ave. Mira, 14A, ☎ +380 62 3814747, +380 62 3814777. Swimming pool.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet develops quickly in Ukraine, and therefore, today it is no problem to get access to the world wide web - both wired and wireless. There are more access points in big cities, nevertheless there are also some in small settlements. The majority of Ukrainian hostels and hotels of different level have Wi-Fi points, which allow visitors to use high-speed Internet. Most Ukrainian restaurants and many cafes are equipped with internet access points, there are also Wi-Fi zones in terminals of the international airports. You may also access Internet from your cell phone, if your device supports GPRS or one of the 3G standards. All cellular carriers in Ukraine offer access to the mobile internet. Moreover, it's usually no problem to find Internet-cafe in Ukrainian cities. "Ukrtelecom" company offers Internet access as well. Its offices are easy to find in any town of Ukraine. The cost of one hour of Internet access usually doesn't exceed €1-2.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The international phone code for Ukraine is 380. The general emergency phone number is 112 and there are special ones for fire -(101), police (102), ambulance (103) and even gas leaks (104).

Although cell phones are becoming more and more popular, a lot of people still use phonecards and this might be a good and cheaper option for travellers as well. If you are here for any length of time it is worth investing in a local sim-card for your mobile. No major international mobile operators exist in Ukraine (yet) so if you have Vodaphone or T-mobile (etc) your phone may not work here. Kyivstar and MTS are the biggest Ukrainian operators.

Post

Ukraine Poshta is the national postal service of Ukraine (website is rather slow and not always working). Unfortunately, the postal service in Ukraine is unreliable or at least inefficient and slow. Most packages get stolen or searched for things that can be sold. Post offices exist in all cities and towns and postcards can be sent quite safely, but the service may be slow. Like many other businesses, post offices are open from around 9:00am to 6:00pm with a lunchbreak between 1:00pm and 2:00pm, though opening times may vary. Smaller ones in rural towns keep shorter hours, while the largest ones in Kiev are usually open very late, during weekends or even 24 hours! If you want to send a letter or postcard and buy stamps, just queue up at the line where you see envelops and cards. Be prepared to wait a while, also regarding the time it takes to send a postcard to Europe (a week) or the USA (two weeks), let alone places further afield. Always send letters by airmail (avia in Ukrainian). For faster (but more expensive) sendings of parcels, try companies like TNT, DHL, UPS or FedEx.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 48.033392
  • Longitude: 37.747822

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This is version 39. Last edited at 8:40 on Jan 9, 19 by Utrecht. 4 articles link to this page.

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