Dnipropetrovsk (Ukrainian: Дніпропетро́вськ [dnʲiprope̝trou̯sʲk]; Russian: Днепропетро́вск, Dnepropetrovsk; formerly Yekaterinoslav, Екатериносла́в and Sicheslav, Січеслав) is Ukraine's third largest city with 1.1 million inhabitants. It is located southeast of Ukraine's capital Kiev (Kyiv) on the Dnieper River, in the south-central region of the country. Dnipropetrovsk is the administrative center of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast (province). Within the Dnipropetrovsk Metropolitan area there are 1,860,000 people (2001).
A vital industrial center of Ukraine, Dnipropetrovsk was one of the key centers of the nuclear, arms, and space industries of the former Soviet Union. In particular, it is home to Yuzhmash, a major space and ballistic missile designer and manufacturer. Because of its military industry, the city was a closed city until the 1990s.
Dnipropetrovsk has a highly-developed public transportation system, including the Dnipropetrovsk Metro, which consists of one metro line with a total of 6 stations.
e first people appeared in the area somewhere about 150,000 years ago. The settlements of these early people were found in the outskirts of the city and on Monastyrsky Island. This unique island appears throughout the history of Prydniprovye, as a consistent center of events as well as the ancient nucleus of the city.
After the last Ice Age (10,000 years ago) the settling of the Prydniprovye area began more intensely. In c.3500-2700 BC the first farmers lived here (the so-called Cucuteni-Trypillia culture people).
The mighty, broad Dnieper River (Greeks called it the Borysthenes, 'Borisphen' in local pronunciation) with its picturesque islands and peaceful backwaters, lush flood-meadows and shadowy oak woods stretches along river valleys and ravines. Abundant game and fish in local forests and waters are a result of good climate and vast fertile land... All this attracted hunters, fishers, cattle-breeders and land-tillers to these parts.
The Cimmerians, ancient equestrian nomads who bred cattle, occupied the North Pontic steppe zone including Prydniprovye; their culture and civilization flourished between about 1000 and 800 B.C.E. The Cimmerians were driven out by the nomadic Scythians (700 BC), who in turn were overcome by the Sarmatians from the East (200 BC).
Most inhabitants of the city and visitors know and like the distinctive features of the small square near the Museum of History, the place where the 'Stony Women' stay (which actually are not females... and are shown in the photo above). The visitors are amazed with the centuries-old natives and their oval forms. They were creations of a steppe nomadic people called the Cumans or Kipchaks and are a modular collection from neighboring barrows. In the past they served as the index points for the steppe inhabitants.
The first century of the new era was marked by fast inhabitation of the Dnieper River banks by Slavic tribes. The rocks of Monastyrsky Island remember well the first time Slavs floated down the Dnieper River to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. On this island in the IX century the Monastery was founded by Byzantine monks (from it the island received its name). It existed until 1240 when it was destroyed by Tatars. The Dnieper River has for many centuries served as a border between East and West and its banks have served as arena of struggle between the Slavs and the Asian nomads.
This situation continued for many centuries until the XV century when there appeared a new force - the free people - Cossacks - Zaporiz'ki Kazaky (Zaporizhya - the lands south of Prydniprovye, translate as "The Land After the Weirs [Rapids]")...
The first fortified town in what is now Dnipropetrovsk were probably built in the mid-16th century. In 1635, the Polish Government built the Kodak fortress above the Dnieper Rapids at Kodaky (on the outskirts of modern Dnipropetrovsk), partly as a result of rivalry in the region of Poland, Turkey and Russia, and partly to maintain control over Cossack activity. On the night of 3/4 August 1635, the Cossacks of Ivan Sulyma captured the fort by surprise, burning it down and butchering the garrison of about 200 West European mercenaries under Jean Marion. The fort was rebuilt by French engineer Guillaume le Vasseur de Beauplan for the Polish Government in 1638, and had a mercenary garrison. Kodak was captured by Zaporozhian Cossacks on 1 October 1648, and was garrisoned by the Cossacks until its demolition in accordance with the Treaty of the Pruth in 1711.
The Zaporozhian village of Polovytsia was founded in the late-1760s, between the settlements of Stari (Old) and Novi (New) Kodaky, territorially was eastern remote part of Novi Kojdaky. It was located at the present central part of the city (downtown) to the West to district of Central terminal and farmer market Ozyorka. Uptown, which was built up later as a official center district by Ivan Starov's development plan of Katerynoslav, at cossack era was empty steppe hill place with lack of water source.
1775–1917: In the Russian Empire
The city that is now called Dnipropetrovsk was founded as part of the expansion of the Russian Empire into the lands North of the Black Sea, known as the Novorossiysk gubernia. The city was originally known as Yekaterinoslav, which translates in English to "The glory of Yekaterina" (Catherine the Great). It became the administrative center of the Yekaterinoslav Governorate.
Cossack and Russian armies fought against the Ottoman Empire for control of this area in the Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774). The Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca ended this war in July 1774; and in May 1775 the Russian army destroyed the Zaporozhian Sich, thus eliminating the political independence of Cossacks. In 1774 Prince Grigori Potemkin was appointed governor of Novorossiysk gubernia, and after the destruction of the Zaporozhian Sich, he started founding cities in the region and encouraging foreign settlers. The city of Yekaterinoslav was founded in 1776, not in the current location, but at the confluence of the River Samara with the River Kil'chen' at Loshakivka, north of the Dnieper. By 1782, the city population was 2,194. However the site had been badly chosen because spring waters were transforming the city into a bog.
In 1783, Yekaterinoslav was refounded on its current site, on the south bank of the Dnieper, near the Zaporozhian village of Polovytsia. The population of Yekaterinoslav-Kil'chen' were transferred to the new site. Potemkin's plans for the city were extremely ambitious; it was to be about 30 km by 25 km in size, and included:
* Preobrazhenskiy Cathedral (intended to be the largest in the world)
* The Potemkin palace
* A magnificent university (never built)
* A botanical garden on Monastyrskyi Island
* Wide straight avenues through the city.
The site for the Potemkin palace was bought from retired Cossack yesaul (colonel) Lazar' Globa, who owned much of the land near the city. Part of Lazar' Globa's gardens still exist and are now called Globa Park.
A combination of Russian red tape, defective workmanship, and theft resulted in what was built being less than originally planned. Construction stopped after the death of Potemkin and his sponsor, Empress Catherine. Plans were reconsidered and scaled back. The size of the cathedral was reduced, and it was completed in 1835. From 1797 to 1802 the city was called Novorossiysk.
Despite the bridging of the Dnieper in 1796 and the growth of trade in the early 19th century, Ekaterinoslav remained small until the 1880s, when the railway was built and industrialisation of the city began. The boom was caused by two men:
* John Hughes, a Welsh businessman who built an iron works at what is now Donetsk in 1869-72, and developed the Donetsk coal deposits.
* Alexandr Pol', a Ukrainian who accidentally discovered the Kryvyi Rih iron ores in 1866, during archaeological research.
The Donetsk coal was necessary for smelting pig-iron from the Kryvyi Rih ore, producing a need for railway to connect Donetsk with Kryvyi Rih. Permission to build the railway was given in 1881, and it opened in 1884. The railway crossed the Dnieper at Yekaterinoslav. The city grew quickly; new suburbs appeared: Amur, Nizhnedniprovsk and the factory areas developed. In 1897, Yekaterinoslav became the third city in the Russian Empire to have electric trams. The Higher Mining School opened in 1899, and by 1913 it had grown into the Mining Institute.
Russian defeat in the Russo-Japanese War in 1905 resulted in revolts against the Tsar in many places including Yekaterinoslav. Tens of people were killed and hundreds wounded. There was a wave of anti-semitic attacks.
From 1902 to 1933, the famous historian of the Zaporozhian Cossacks, Dmytro Yavornytsky, was Director of the Dnipropetrovsk Museum, which was later named after him. Before his death in 1940, Yavornytsky wrote a History of the City of Ekaterinoslav, which lay in manuscript for many years. It was only published in 1989 as a result of the Gorbachev reforms.
1917–1919: Civil War
After the Russian February revolution in 1917 Yekaterinoslav became a city within autonomy of Ukrainian People's Republic under Tsentralna Rada government. In November 1917 the Bolsheviks led a rebellion and got power for a short time. The city experienced occupation of German and Austrian-Hungarian armies that were allies of Ukrainian Hetman Pavlo Skoropadskyi and helped him to keep authority in the country.
During power of Ukrainian Directorate government with its dictator Symon Petlura the city had periods of uncertain power; at times the anarchists of Nestor Makhno held the city, and at others Denikin's Volunteer Army. Military operations of the Red Army which was headed from the North brought captured the city in 1919, and despite attempts by Russian General Wrangel in 1920, he was unable to reach Yekaterinoslav, with War ending the following year.
1919–1991: in the Soviet Union & under Nazi rule
During the German occupation of Ukraine in World War II, the city gave its name to one of the six generalbezirke in which a Nazi Generalkommissar was in charge under the authority of the Reichskommissar in Kiev. Dnipropetrovsk was an important center of Jewish life, and 80,000 Jews lived in the city before the Holocaust, but soon after the Nazis conquered the city on October 12, 1941, 11,000 were shot; in the end only 15 Jews of Dnipropetrovsk survived at the end of the war.
During the past century, the economic activity of the city has defined its political importance. Dnipropetrovsk and the surrounding oblast are the birthplace of the "Dnipropetrovsk Faction", an influential informal political group inside the CPSU, members of whom were the industrial and party elite. Leonid Brezhnev, a native of the nearby city of Dniprodzerzhyns'k and later the Communist Party General Secretary, assured members of this group of a prominent place in Soviet society and politics. Members of this group are believed by many political scientists to have ruled not only the Ukrainian SSR but also the entire Soviet Union up to the accession of Mikhail Gorbachev to the position of CPSU General Secretary and President of the Soviet Union.
After 1991: Since Ukrainian independence
In June 1990, the women’s department of Dnipropetrovsk preliminary prison was destroyed in prison riots. In the ten years that followed, women under investigation (i.e. not convicted) in Dnipropetrovsk oblast were either held in Preliminary Prison 4 in Krivoy Rog or in "detention blocks" in Dnipropetrovsk; this contravened Ukrainian Law "On preliminary incarceration". Journeys from Krivoy Rog took up to six hours in special railway carriages with grated windows. Some prisoners had to do this 14 or 15 times. After complaints by the ombudsman (Nina Karpacheva) the head of the State prison department of Ukraine (Vladimir Levochkin) arranged that finances were given for the provision of women cells in Dnipropetrovsk Preliminary Prison, making the lives of the 15,000 unconvicted women-detainees easier from August 2000.
In 2005, the most powerful representative of the "Dnipropetrovsk Faction" in Ukrainian politics was Leonid Kuchma, the former President of Ukraine and former senior manager of Yuzhmash.
In June and July 2007, Dnipropetrovsk experienced a wave of serial killings that were dubbed by the media as the work of the Dnipropetrovsk maniacs. In February 2009, three youths were sentenced for their part in 21 murders.
Dnipropetrovsk is a major industrial centre of Ukraine. It has several facilities devoted to heavy industry that produce a wide range of products, including cast-iron, rolled metal, pipes, machinery, different mining combines, agricultural equipment, tractors, trolleybuses, refrigerators, different chemicals and many others. The most famous and the oldest (founded in the 19th century) is the Metallurgic Plant named after Petrovsky. The city also has big food processing and light industry factories. Many sewing and dress-making factories work for France, Canada, Germany and Great Britain, using the most advanced technologies, materials and design. Dnipropetrovsk has also dominated in the aerospace industry since the 1950s; construction department Yuzhnoye Design Bureau and Yuzhmash are well known to the specialists all over the world.
The city has a variety of theatres (plus an Opera) and museums which may be of interest to tourists who speak Russian. There are also several parks, restaurants and beaches which have no linguistic requirements.
The major streets of the city were renamed in honour of Marxist heroes during the Soviet era. The central thoroughfare is known as Karla Marksa Prospekt, a beautiful, wide and long boulevard that stretches east to west through the centre of the city. It was founded in the eighteenth century and parts of its buildings are the actual decoration of the city. In the heart of the city is Zhovtneva [October] Square, which includes the majestic cathedral founded by order of Catherine the Great in 1787.
On the square, there are some remarkable buildings: the Museum of History, Diorama "Battle for the Dnieper River (World War II)", and also the beautiful park in which one can rest in the hot summer. Walking down the hill to the Dnieper River, one arrives in the large Taras Shevchenko Park (which is on the right bank of the river) and on Monastyrsky Island. This island is one of the most interesting places in the city. In the IX century, the Byzantine monks based a monastery here. It was destroyed by Mongol-Tatars in the XIII century.
While there is no longer any compact "old town" in Dnipropetrovsk, there are still many surviving buildings of historical interest. (Most of them, especially churches, were unfortunately destroyed during World War II and Stalin's reign of terror in the 1930s. A few areas retain their historical character: all of Central Avenue, some street-blocks on the main hill (the Nagornaya part) between Pushkina Prospekt and Embankment, and sections near Globa (formerly know as Chkalov park until it was recently renamed) and Shevchenka parks have been untouched for 150 years.
The Dnieper River keeps the climate mild. It is visible from many points in Dnipropetrovsk. From any hill (there are 3 in the city) you will find a beautiful view of the river, islands, parks, outskirts, river banks and hills.
There was no need to build skyscrapers in the city in Soviet times. The major industries preferred to locate their offices close to their factories and away from the centre of town. In the last ten years since independence the price of land has increased considerably. All the new office buildings are being built in the same architectural style as the old buildings.