Monday, 26 September 2016

Luhansk – Ukraine's eastern regional center

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Flag of Luhansk. Flag of Luhansk. Photo: www.gorod.lugansk.ua

Of population Luhansk is among the ten largest cities in Ukraine.

The town in the east of Ukraine is de jure the administrative center of the Luhansk region. Since April 2014 Luhansk became de facto controlled by the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic (LPR), who sees it as the capital.

Luhansk's area is 269.61 square kilometers. The town lies at the confluence of the rivers Luhan and Olkhova. The distance with highways to Kyiv – 843 km.

The population of the city amounted per 1 January 2015 was 417,990 persons, and the ethnic composition of Ukrainians – 50 %, Russians – 47 %, Belarusians – 1 %, Jews – 1 % and others – 1 %. 8 5% of Luhansk's residents appointed in 2001 Russian as the mother tongue, which led to that Russian got regional status in 2012.

From the city's ancient history till today

It is believed that the population of the Luhansk area began in the 18th century. The Scottish engineer Carl Gascoigne was invited to work in the Russian service and performed exploration of deposits of ore and coal. On 14 November 1795 Catherine II issued a decree on the construction of the first ironworks in the southern part of the country in the valley of the river Luhan, and thus arose the city. Two years later, the village that had arisen around the factory, was called ”Luhansk Factory”. The workers and experts came partly from the internal Russian provinces and some from abroad. All the basic administrative and technical staff members consisted of Britons.

During the war with Napoleon Luhansk Factory was one of the largest suppliers of arms and ammunition to the Russian army. In 1823 opened in the village the first educational institution – a school for mine profession. In the mid-70s in the 19th century, the railway Luhansk – Debaltsevo opened.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Luhansk was a large industrial center of Russia. There were 16 plants and factories and about 40 craft businesses. In the city opened a telephone exchange and a new building for post and telegraph office. There were 5 cinemas. In Luhansk were 6 Orthodox churches, a synagogue, a Roman Catholic church and a Lutheran church.

Revolution and Civil War (1917-1919). The power was first in the hands of the Bolsheviks, then the Central Rada, the Austro-German troops, Don Cossacks and armed forces in southern Russia.

In April 1918, Luhansk was the capital of the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Republic; February 1919 to December 1920 – the capital of Donetsk province. In December 1919, Soviet power was established in the city.

The 20th century. 31 October, 1931 the Soviet Union's first heavy freight locomotive series ”Felix Dzerzhinsky” was launched in Luhansk. Three years later the city launched the first tram. On 3 June 1938 the city became a regional center.

From 17 July 1942 to 14 February 1943 Luhansk was under occupation.

The city was renamed twice – from Luhansk (1935-1958) to Voroshilovgrad (1970-1990) and back to Luhansk (1990).

At the beginning of the 21st century there are 87 industrial enterprises (leading industrial machine construction) in the city.

During the events of Euromaidan Luhansk generally supported the Yanukovich authorities and Berkuts effort to restore order in Kyiv and held the pro-Russian position. Support for Euromaidan was small. On 2 June 2014, the center of Luhansk was under missile attacks.

The touristic Luhansk

The main street of the city is Sovjetska, and the center for all major events is Theatre Square.

The city can offer tourists an interesting tour of the museums of different kinds, and you can visit Luhansk's theaters and circus. In the city there is the Luhansk Philharmonic, a rock club, cinemas and architectural monuments and art.

Sports life in the city

In Luhansk there are six sports halls and stadiums, 127 gyms, swimming pool, two ice rinks and hippodrome. The local football team ”Zarya” was champion of the USSR in 1972. In 2012 opened a modern sports palace ”LTK Arena” with a capacity of 2,500 people, and in 2013 – Ice Arena under the program ”Hockey in Ukraine”.

Luhansk economy

The unique geographical location of Luhansk and its economic and social potential makes the city one of the most attractive for foreign and Ukrainian investors.

Heavy industry is represented by the regional center for machine building, metallurgy and manufacture of fabricated metal products, food processing and mining industries.

The light industry is represented by dairies; finely woven fabric; knitting, footwear and sewing companies; woodworking, chemical and pharmaceutical companies and food industry; production of building materials and artistic metal structures.

The city's transport

In Luhansk there are trams, trolleybuses, buses, taxis and marshrut taxis.

Until 2014, there was the international airport ”Luhansk”, which was destroyed during the hostilities.

There is also the railway station ”Luhansk”.

Translation by Joergen Deleuran

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