Donetsk is the fifth largest city in Ukraine and a major economic, industrial and scientific center. Established in 1869 by Welsh industrialist John Hughes, the settlement was originally known as Hughesovka (or ‘Yuzovka’ in Russian). Stalin changed its name to ‘Stalino’ in 1924 and it did not become known as Donetsk until 1961, when it was again renamed, this time after the River Donet. Those relocating to Donetsk may feel that the grim reputation afforded many industrial cities is belied by its green and relatively unpolluted nature. Nicknamed ‘The City of a Million Roses’, it was proclaimed the most landscaped industrial city in the world by UNESCO in 1970. At this time, parks, squares, avenues and boulevards were planted with a profusion of roses. One hundred and eighty varieties were cultivated and legend has it that there was at least one rose for every one of the city’s inhabitants, hence its whimsical nickname. Many of the city’s parks and gardens continue this tradition today, and eye-catching displays of roses can be seen throughout the city.
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In recent years, Donetsk has worked hard to cement its position as a modern European city. Spurred on by the pressure to give a good impression when its Donbass Arena was chosen as location for several of the Euro 2012 football matches, the city worked hard to clean up the scars of its industrial legacy. As a modern industrial city, Donetsk also fosters a sizeable expatriate community. Whether drawn by the opportunities in business and industry or moving to the city for personal reasons, expats living in Donetsk can enjoy being part of a dynamic cosmopolitan community. With new hotels, schools, shops and banks emerging in Donetsk as part of the program of modernization, expatriates can really benefit from the first-hand experiences shared in InterNations forums. Whether looking for feedback on a new restaurant, wondering about the facilities in a new fitness complex or researching which school to send your kids to, InterNations provides a platform for expats to find and share useful information.
Whilst expatriates living and working in Donetsk may feel that modernization is the city’s main focus, the city is also keen to preserve its history and culture. Studded with museums and statues which honor significant characters from its past, such as the imposing six-meter-tall Statue of Artem. In this way, Donetsk is expertly blending the modern with the old. This fusion is epitomized by Artema Street, the city’s main thoroughfare, where new and old architectural styles sit comfortably alongside one another, complemented by small parks. Expatriates in Donetsk can expect to find themselves living in a vibrant city, keen to establish itself on an international stage. With new developments taking place all the time, the insights of InterNations members couldn’t be more valuable to expats establishing a life in the Ukraine’s city of roses.