Ukraine’s important industrial city with a steel spirit
Donetsk is a city in the south-east of Ukraine. Founded by a Welshman John Hughes in the nineteenth century, Donetsk was built on the foundations of industrialism, with coalmining and steelmaking the two core industries. Donetsk later fell under Soviet rule, and became just another city in the vast Soviet republic. In the Second World War Donetsk was almost completely destroyed during a Nazi invasion, and the German occupation that followed was responsible for a significant decline in the city's Jewish population. Once it was finally freed from the shackles of Soviet communism, Donetsk began to find its own cultural identity, built around its traditional core values of hard work and the irrepressible human spirit. Donetsk is a dedicated football city, with three local teams including Shakhtar Donetsk, which is well-known to fans of European football.
Donetsk was founded as an industrial city, and for the most part it still is, but the surrounding factories belie the fact that there are some genuinely pretty parts of Donetsk, which are well worth exploring.
When to Go?
Many visitors to this part of the Ukraine will be travelling on business schedules, but if you want to see as much of the city as possible, Donetsk is best enjoyed in the summer when it is warm enough to spend time outdoors. In the winter average temperatures do fall below zero, although it is not as cold as you might expect.
How to get there?
From the UK, there are no direct flights to Donetsk International Airport (DOK), but there are a few indirect options. Lufthansa have Donetsk flights from Birmingham International and Manchester Airport, while the Ukrainian flag carrier Ukraine International offers a Donetsk flight from London Gatwick with a stop-off in the capital at Kiev Boryspil International Airport. Lufthansa’s indirect flights to Donetsk have a stop-off in Munich.
Take a stroll through Glory Park where you can find several local heritage monuments set among pleasant green surroundings. Donetsk History Museum gives you some insight into the remarkable history of the city and the heritage of the Russian Cossacks who are strongly linked to this part of the Ukraine. The Museum is located in a building that also houses a cinema. Perhaps surprisingly for such an industrial city, Donetsk has a very family-friendly water park called Aquarius, located in the downtown area; it has three swimming pools and a collection of waterslides.
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