Unshakable Zaporizhzhia: interesting facts about the city of Cossack glory
Zaporizhzhia is an extraordinary Ukrainian city that attracts with its beauty. Find out more about its history and fascinating facts
Zaporizhzhya is a city where you can feel the Cossack spirit, despite modern buildings and industrial enterprises. The city, founded in the days of Kyivan Rus, has something to surprise guests and locals.
Most Ukrainians know that Zaporizhzhya is a large administrative, industrial, and cultural center of southern Ukraine. Furthermore, it’s one of the oldest Ukrainian cities. The name of the city is connected with the Dnipro rapids, which stretch 90 km upstream from the Cossack island of Khortytsia.
But can Zaporizhzhya attract tourists? We invite you to dive into historical and interesting facts about this city with us.
Historical curiosities: the cradle of Indo-Europeans
According to linguists and historians, the Black Sea steppes of the Zaporizhzhya region were the homeland of the Indo-Europeans, a group from whom half of humanity is descended. It is assumed that the Indo-Europeans inhabited the area between the Dnipro and the Volga rivers and were the first to build barrows. Little information has been preserved about these people as they settled all over Eurasia.
The largest river island in Ukraine
At the end of the 16th century, Zaporizhian Sich, the capital of the Cossack region, was established on the territory of the Zaporizhzhya region. Dmytro Vyshnevetsky founded it at his own expense in 1556, having built a small fortress on the island of Mala Khortytsia. This island is the largest on the Dnipro and is included in the list of seven wonders of Ukraine. Its area is about 23.5 square kilometers, which makes up almost 10% of the territory of modern Zaporizhzhya.
In 2009, the historical and cultural complex, Zaporizka Sich, was established on the island to commemorate the rich history and accomplishments of the Cossacks during the 16th-18th centuries. Initially functioning as a museum, the complex has temporarily closed its exhibition. Nevertheless, we highly recommend visiting Zaporizka Sich once it reopens, as it continues to serve as a powerful symbol of Ukrainian national identity and heritage.
Not completely the Soviet Dnipro HPP
While Zaporizhzhia may not be renowned for its architectural monuments, the city's industrial sites can still captivate and attract tourists. Dnipro HPP is the oldest hydroelectric power station in Ukraine, and during its construction, it was the largest in Europe.
The construction of the Dnipro HPP began in 1927, and it was opened later in 1932. The dam that can be seen now is not authentic, because Soviet troops blew it up in August 1941. This step was supposed to stop the advance of German troops. However, historians suggest, there were no German crossings downstream. So this "big water" could not harm them. The hydroelectric power station resumed its full operation in 1950.
By the way, Dnipro HPP cannot be called a purely Soviet creation. During the construction, American and German technologies and equipment were used. Of course, general management and design were carried out by the Moscow specialists. However, the managers of the H.L.Cooper & Co and Siemens companies supervised the construction. Let us add that some of the critical equipment was also imported.
Do trolleybuses cross the dam only in Zaporizhzhya?
Unique trolleybus routes operate only in Zaporizhzhia. On April 28, 1958, the route connecting ‘Sotsmisto’ with the Right Bank through the Dnipro HPP dam was opened. Currently, people can experience crossing the dam by public transport only in this city.
Trolleybus connections were opened in 1949, which made Zaporizhzhya the seventh city in Ukraine with trolleybus traffic. By the way, the first depot was located on the territory of the plant.
The largest private museum in Ukraine
In Zaporizhzhya, the Phaeton Museum works, exhibiting a collection of machinery. Visitors can see more than 250 units of rare retro cars, motorcycles, military equipment, and weapons. Interestingly, most of the showpieces work to this day.
Bridges of Preobrazhenskyi and the death of an engineer
There is a legend surrounding Boris Preobrazhenskyi, the creator of bridge projects in Zaporizhzhya after World War II. It’s believed that he ended his life because of Stalin. But is it true?
In 1952, the authority opened the bridges that still connect the island of Khortytsia with the city and play a crucial role in the infrastructure. They were constructed in the post-war years, because the bridges destroyed during the war could not be restored. Shortly after completing the project, engineer Borys Preobrazhensky passed away, leading to the emergence of the legend about his alleged suicide. According to the story, his omission from the list of awardees by Stalin was a crucial factor.
The engineer was indeed not included on the list, but he died of a heart attack caused by this news.
Recently, we shared interesting facts about Kharkiv. Why the city was the capital of Ukraine twice and when the nuclear explosion happened there, read via the link.
Photo: Serhiy Lavrov
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