When tourists from North America and Western Europe go to Ukraine, they usually travel to Kiev first. That is the national capital, and the Ukrainian city that most people in the West are familiar with. They spend money on accommodations in Kiev, and in the city’s bars, restaurants and stores. As Ukraine develops its growing tourist industry, other cities would like to attract some of the tourism traffic enjoyed by Kiev hotels and other businesses. One such community is Donetsk, a city that is trying to change its image of an industrial center with little to interest visitors.
Donetsk is located on the Kalmius River in Eastern Ukraine. It is the heart of a metropolitan area of more than one and a half million people. Donetsk began as a small Cossack village in the 17th century. The modern city was founded in 1869 when a Welsh businessman named John Hughes, attracted by nearby coal mines, built a steel plant there. That was the beginning of the industrialization that would see Donetsk grow to become the fifth largest urban center in Ukraine. During World War II it was occupied by the Nazis Business in Ukraine for nearly two years, and was almost completely destroyed. It was rebuilt after the war, with the Soviet administration concentrating on industry.
Today Donetsk is a modern city whose Ukrainian administration want to promote as a tourist destination. They want those foreign visitors in Kiev hotels and Kiev apartments to come and see what Donetsk has to offer. Those visitors who make the trip find that Donetsk has a lot to show them. Moreover, they will find accommodations as good as those of any Kiev hotel.
For shopping and entertainment, the best places are the Golden Ring and Donetsk City, where most of the cinemas are located. Gorodok is a popular attraction where visitors will find an amusement park, a caf, and an ice rink. One of the newest attractions is the Planetarium, where people can watch amazing shows produced by state-of-the-art technology. The new Donbass Arena, a stadium that seats 50,000 people, is considered a jewel of Ukraine. It is the only five-star stadium in the country, and one of the most modern in Europe.
For visitors with a taste for fine culture, there is the Donetsk Art Museum. It displays decorative art, and works done mostly by Soviet artists. Visitors can also tour the Donetsk Museum of Natural History, which has thousands of exhibits representing the natural and human history of the district. Railroad buffs can go to the Museum of History and Development of the Railway. There they can see a 1929 steam locomotive, and displays of railroading equipment and uniforms. One of the most popular theaters in Ukraine is the Regional Ukrainian Music and Drama Theatre in the central city square. For some interesting strolls around the city, go to the Lenin Komsomal Park, Pushkin Boulevard, and Shcherbakov Park. The people of Donetsk hope you will take home great impressions of their city.