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Donetsk Travel Guide

Donetsk History

Donetsk History Recent archaeological investigations prove that the Donetsk region has been inhabited in antiquity, beginning from Palaeolithic epoch. Scythians inhabited the Donetsk region in the 7th century BC; Sarmatians lived there in 2nd century BC, other tribes such as the Huns (4th century AD), the Pechenegs (9th century AD), and the Cumans (11th century AD). The area was inhabited by the Zaporizzhia Cossacks in the 17th century.

The city of Donetsk was founded in 1869 by Welshman technician-metallurgist John James Hughes who set up a small metallurgical plant and several coal mines; the town was named Yuzovka (Hughesovka) in honour of his founder until 1924. In 1872, a Metallurgical plant was founded there to produce iron rail for the growing Russian rail network. Later steel rails were made in Donetsk city. By 1874, Yuzovka ranked first among Russian metallurgical towns, the area became a major industrial region.

In 1894 there were 5,494 inhabitants, by 1897 there were already 29,000, and by the beginning of the 20th century Yuzovka had approximately 50,000 inhabitants. In 1917 with more than 70,000 inhabitants, Yuzovka was given the status of a city.

By 1914 there were 4 metallurgical plants, and 10 coal pits. After the October Revolution (1917), the Bolsheviks overtook Yuzovka which was renamed Stalino in 1924 after Joseph Stalin, although some says that the name is derived form its steel industry. In July of 1933, the city became the capital of the Donetsk Oblast of the Ukrainian SSR.

In 1961, during Nikita Khrushchev's second wave of de-Stalinization the name of the city was changed to its current name after the Seversky Donets River, a tributary of the Don.

After the Second World War, Donetsk was heavily damaged, but the city was rebuilt regaining its industrial prosperity in a short time.

In 1970, Donetsk was recognized by Unesco as the cleanest industrial town in the world


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