What You Need To Know
is an industrial city in Ukraine on the Kalmius River. Donetsk is the unofficial capital of Donets Basin (Donbass) region, the most industrialized part of the country, and as with the surrounding region, it is mostly populated by local Russians, who consistently favour pro-Russian candidates in the elections. Strangely, Donetsk was founded by a Welsh businessman in 1869, to exploit the coal mines on what was then the southern reaches of the Russian Empire. It was also around this time the local steel industry — which was expanded during the Soviet period — was first established. World War II shook the city hard, leaving it not much more than mounds of rubbles. After the war, the city was extensively rebuilt, losing its original layout and architecture reminiscent of British towns.
Donetsk’s Donbass Arena was one of the venues for UEFA Euro 2012, the only European football championship that took place in Eastern Europe so far, which was jointly hosted by Poland and Ukraine.
Area: 358 km²
UAH – Ukrainian Hryvnia. The Ukrainian Hryvnia is the currency of Ukraine. Our currency rankings show that the most popular Ukraine Hryvnia exchange rate is the UAH to EUR rate. The currency code for Hryvni is UAH, and the currency symbol is ₴.
Lying on the Eurasian steppe inland from the sea, Donetsk has a typical continental climate: While temperatures lower than -30°C (-25°F) were recorded, a more realistic expectation from winter lows (Oct–May) would be -7°C (19°F). Summers, on the other hand, can go up as much as 38°C (100°F), although expecting around 27°C (81°F) 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 (19.37 inches) of precipition anyway, which is about half of what is typical for oceanic climates common in northwestern Europe.
The official language of Ukraine is Ukrainian, an East Slavic language which is the native language of 67.5% of Ukraine’s population. Russian is the native language of 29.6% of Ukraine’s population and the rest (2.9%) are native speakers of other languages.
Donetsk and the surrounding territories are heavily urbanised and agglomerated into conurbation. The workforce is heavily involved with heavy industry, especially coal mining. The city is an important center of heavy industry and coal mines in the Donets Basin (Donbass) and Ukraine. Directly under the city lie coal mines, which have recently seen an increase in mining accidents, the most recent accident being at the Zasyadko mine, which killed over 100 workers.
Donetsk’s economy consists of about 200 industrial organizations that have a total production output of more than 50 billion hryvnias per year and more than 20,000 medium-small sized organizations. The city’s coal mining industry comprises 17 coal mines and two concentrating mills; the metallurgy industry comprises 5 large metallurgical plants located throughout the city; the engineering market comprises 67 organizations, and the food industry — 32 organizations.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, Donetsk and other neighboring cities of the Donbass suffered heavily, as many factories were closed down and many inhabitants lost their jobs. About 412,000 square metres (4,434,731 sq ft) of living space, 7.9 km (4.9 mi) of gas networks, and 15.1 km (9.4 mi) of water supply networks were constructed in the city during 1998–2001.
The city also houses the “Donetsk” special economic zone. Donetsk currently has nine sister cities. The German city of Magdeburg had economic partnerships with Donetsk during 1962–1996.
In 2012, Donetsk was rated the best city for business in Ukraine by Forbes. Donetsk topped the rating in five indicators: human capital, the purchasing power of citizens, investment situation, economic stability, as well as infrastructure and comfort.
Donetsk has several universities, which include five state universities, 11 institutes, three academies, 14 technicums, five private universities, and six colleges.
The most important and prominent educational institutions include Donetsk National Technical University, founded in 1921 (“Donetsk Polytechnical Institute” in 1960–1993), as well as the Donetsk National University which was founded in 1937. The National Technical University held close contacts with the University in Magdeburg. Since 1970, more than 100 students from Germany (East Germany) have completed their higher education at either one of the two main universities in Donetsk. Donetsk is also the home of the Donetsk National Medical University, which was founded in 1930 and became one of the largest medical universities in the Soviet Union. There are also several scientific research institutes and an Islamic University within Donetsk.
Donetsk is also the home of the Prokofiev Donetsk State Music Academy, a music conservatory founded in 1960.
Donetsk has an international airport. It was constructed during the early 1940s and early 1950s. It was rebuilt in 1973 and again from 2011 to 2012. Because of fighting the airport has been closed as of 26 May 2014 and the airport has since then largely been destroyed. The airspace above Donetsk has also been closed since the MH17 disaster.
Recently one could fly through Kiev, Munich, Istanbul or Vienna.
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 (marshrutkas). Trams and buses will get you just about anywhere in the city for 1.50 hryvnia (around 0.15€ as of June 2012). This price is 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 can be found throughout the city. They are like the buses, but faster, smaller, and they stop at only some stops. 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. You will pay about 2 hryvnia (usually to the driver).
Most tourists find the taxi to be their best option. Taxi cabs are on every corner and they are relatively cheap. To go across the city, you can expect to pay 30 hryvnia (about $6), but the average amount you would pay to get around the center of the city is $1-2.
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, he will be delighted to do so and give you his ID number for dispatch (pozivnoi) or his cell phone so you can call him directly. That way, you can have a chauffeur for the time of your stay.