Donetsk or Donets’k is a large city in eastern Ukraine on the Kalmius River. Administratively, it is a centre of Donetsk Oblast, while historically, it is the unofficial capital and largest city of the larger economic and cultural Donets Basin (Donbas) region. Donetsk is a major economic, industrial and scientific centre of Ukraine with a high concentration of companies and a skilled workforce.
Donetsk was founded in 1869 when the Welsh businessman John Hughes built a steel plant and several coal mines in the southern part of the Russian Empire at Aleksandrovka. The town initially was given the name Hughesovka (Yuzovka). By the beginning of the 20th century, Yuzovka had approximately 50,000 inhabitants, and had attained the status of a city in 1917. The main district of "Hughezovka" named English Colony. The British origin of the city reflected in its layout and architecture.
In the beginning of World War II, the population of Stalino consisted of 507,000, and after the war - only 175,000. The Nazi invasion during World War II almost completely destroyed the city, which was mostly rebuilt on a large scale at the war's end. It was occupied by Nazi Germany between 16 October 1941 and 5 September 1943.
During Nikita Khrushchev's second wave of destalinization in November 1961 the city was renamed Donetsk, after the Seversky Donets River, a tributary of the Don in order to distance it from the former leader Joseph Stalin.
In 1965, the Donetsk Academy of Sciences was established as part of the Academy of Science of the Ukrainian SSR. In 1970, Donetsk was recognised by UNESCO as the cleanest industrial town of the world. Donesk was granted the Order of Lenin in 1979.
After experiencing a tough time in the 1990s, when it was the centre of gang wars for control over industrial enterprises, Donetsk has modernised quickly in recent years, largely under the influence of big companies.
- Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Jesus Originally built in the late 1800s it was destroyed by the Soviets during the 1930s, and rebuilt from scratch, with construction only finishing a few years ago.
- Donetsk State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre named after A. Solovyanenko was established in 1932 in Lugansk on the basis of fit-up theatre of Right-bank Ukraine. Since 15 March 1932 the theatre was transferred to Donetsk theatre group. The first season opened on September 1, 1932 with opera Prince Igor composed by Alexander Borodin. On April 12, 1941, the Theatre opened the season in the new theater building by premiere of Mikhail Glinka's Ivan Susanin. On August 7, same year, the premiere of the first ballet performance Laurencia by Alexander Crain was held.
- Forged Figures Park was opened in 2001 and is one-in-a-kind object. International Smithcraft Festival takes place in the park every year. The most impressive masterworks remain in the city as a gift expanding the number of park’s “residents”
- Donbass Palace 5-star hotel in the center of Donetsk is the only Ukrainian hotel to join The Leading Hotels of The World, Ukraine's leading business hotel according to the World Travel Awards Association. It was built in 1938 upon the project of Shuvalova and Rechanikov. During the Nazi occupation of Donetsk Gestapo headquartered in the former hotel; the building was partially destroyed during the war time. The hotel was opened after the reconstruction in 2004.
- Statue of Artem (Fyodor Sergeyev) This imposing six metre statue on Artema Street is a tribute to one of the Soviet’s most celebrated politicians and adopted son of Joseph Stalin. He died in the Donets Basin in 1921.