In the Vitaly book, you can find the details about the author’s motherland, Ukraine. This article highlights the top 10 Ukraine Largest Cities.
Ukraine is one of the largest countries in Europe. It is famous for its natural and man-made beauty. Here travelers are waiting for the high mountains of the Carpathians and Crimea (before Russia’s invasion), the warm waters of the Azov and Black Seas, the unforgettable architecture of ancient cities, and the vast expanses of pristine protected steppes. This is a country of legendary hospitality, it harmoniously combines folk colors and modern world trends.
More than 30 nationalities live in Ukraine, and every region has its own interesting feature.
The historical heart of Ukraine is the capital Kyiv. It is the largest cultural and spiritual center of the country. The city on the banks of the Dnieper River is famous for the beauty of streets surrounded by chestnut trees, the majesty of the golden-domed St. Michael’s Cathedral, the Vladimir Church, and the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. Kyiv is rich in museums, theaters, galleries, and exhibition centers. Street exhibitions of paintings on Andriyivskyi Descent and the unique Yaroslaviv Val, picturesque parks and historical monuments, narrow streets, and huge avenues and squares attract and fascinate travelers at any time of year.
When Ukrainians talk about their independence, it would not be superfluous to recall where Ukraine got the top ten largest cities in terms of population and how they were founded. Some of those cities are under Russian control. I haven’t lived in any of those cities, but I had an opportunity to visit some of them.
Fortunately, the people I remember and am still in touch with are safe. This article will cover the top 10 largest cities in Ukraine and their Ukraine history.
#10. The Top City of Ukraine – Mariupol
Mariupol is at the top 10 Cities of Ukraine – located in the south, not far from Rostov-on-Don.
The Ukrainian population of Mariupol is about 450,000 people. In size, it corresponds approximately to our Kursk, Stavropol, or Sochi.
The root POL in the name means “City” (from the Greek “Polis”). But the root MARI means, most likely, the word “Mary.”
It turns out that “Mariupol” is the “City of Mary.” Which Mary exactly is still not precisely explained. There are various versions and legends. Most often, they talk about Mary – the mother of Christ.
Mariupol was founded by order of Catherine II in 1778 as the Russian fortress Pavlovsk (the renaming happened a little later). Initially, the city was inhabited by Christians (mainly Greeks and Armenians), who were taken out of the Crimean Khanate (Crimea was not yet Russian).
#9. The Top City of Ukraine – Mykolayiv
Another southern city of Ukraine, standing on a rather large river, is the Southern Bugh.
The population is 490 thousand (like Kaliningrad or Lipetsk). Initially, the nameless shipyard of Prince Potemkin was located in its place.
Warships were built here to fight the Turks.
When, in 1788, Russian sailors took the Turkish fortress of Ochakov, the city was given the name Nikolaev – in honor of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker (he is considered the patron saint of sailors. It was on his day that the fortress was taken).
#8. The Top City of Ukraine – Kryvyi Rih
It is located not so far from Mykolaiv and is inhabited by 650 thousand people (like our Izhevsk or Barnaul).
Where does this name come from? Everything is straightforward. The city stands on the rivers Ingulets and Saksagan. In the place where the Saksagan flows into the Ingulets, the river makes a sharp bend:
It turns out something like a cape. And the cape in Ukrainian is “horn.” So it turns out that Kryvyi Rih is Krivoy Mys.
Yes, also under Catherine II. The official date of the foundation of the city is 1775. You may have noticed that the previous towns were founded around the same time. This is because, during the reign of Catherine, the Russian Empire was actively moving south, displacing the Ottoman Empire and its vassals.
#7. The Top City of Ukraine – Lviv
Lviv is the largest city in Western Ukraine. By its size, it’s comparable to the capital, Kyiv. Lviv is one of the largest cities in Ukraine. Located on the Western side near the Poland border.
The population is 730 thousand people (a little more than Tolyatti, but less than Tyumen).
The first city on our list was founded not under Catherine II and not even under the Russian Empire. The first mention of Lviv is in 1256.
The city was founded by the Kyiv Prince Daniil of Galicia. Or his son – Lev Galitsky. In any case, the city is named after Lev Galitsky.
Hence, by the way, the name of the Galicia-Volyn principality (a Russian principality founded by the Rurikovichs), to which Lviv initially belonged.
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#6. The Top City of Ukraine – Zaporizhya
Zaporizhya is a large city on the Dnieper, famous for the DneproGES power plant and the ZAZ plant, where Zaporozhets car was produced.
The population is 766,000 people (again, about Tyumen or half of Novosibirsk).
The city was founded in 1770 by the order of Catherine II (yes, yes, again) as the Alexander Fortress. It was renamed after the revolution in 1921, taking the name from the common name of the area “Zaporizhzhia,” that is, “Places beyond the rapids.”
It’s just that before the construction of the Dnieper Hydroelectric Power Station, there were powerful rapids on the Dnieper that interfered with navigation.
#5. The Top City of Ukraine – Donetsk
Donetsk is the first million-plus city on our list. True, after the well-known military conflict, the population became more minor, but a few years ago, it was reported that about a million people live in the city.
If you do not know the history of Donetsk, then you will never guess who founded it.
John Hughes, a British industrialist, founded it. True, then it was not a city but a settlement of the Russian Empire. And they called it Yuzovka (by the name of the founder).
So. In 1869, a Briton built a metallurgical plant in Yuzovka (due to the proximity of coal). Later, under the USSR, Yuzovka was renamed Stalin, and then Stalino (in honor of the leader). And even the area was such – Stalin.
In 1961, Stalino renamed Donetsk, based on the Seversky Donets River (a tributary of the Don), which flows nearby.
#4. The Top City of Ukraine – Dnipro
The city Dnipro is located near Zaporizhzhia, near the sea. I spent my summer preparing meals for a resort when I was studying the culinary arts in Ukraine back in 1997. Dnipro is a large city with a population of about 1 million inhabitants.
The city had multiple names: Yekaterinoslav (in honor of the Empress of Russia), Novorossiysk, and even Samara (a trading Cossack town on the site of a modern city that existed in the 15th century).
The city received the name Dnepropetrovsk under the USSR in 1926. At the same time, the root of the DNEPR came from the name of the Dnieper River, and PETROVSK is not from Peter I at all, but from the Soviet leader, communist Grigory Petrovsky.
That is why, after the fall of the USSR, the second root was removed, and now the city is called Dnipro.
#3. The Top City of Ukraine – Odessa
So let’s move on to the top three. The bronze medal is given to the city of Odessa, with 1 million and 20 thousand inhabitants.
The most popular version of the origin of the name is from the Greek colony of Odessos, located nearby in ancient times.
It is difficult to calculate the date of the city’s foundation since various settlements have existed in these parts since the deepest antiquity, since the time of the Neanderthals.
But it was a commercial and military port on the Black Sea that Catherine II founded the city in 1794.
#2. The Top City of Ukraine – Kharkiv
The second city of Ukraine is several inhabitants – 1.45 million. There are only four such cities (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk).
The word Kharkiv appeared on the maps, but no one knows precisely how and why. The name also sounds quite exciting, and there are at least 16 versions of the origin of this word. None of them are considered 100% proven.
Perhaps the city’s name was given by the first permanent resident – Ivan Karkach (consonantly). Perhaps – some semi-mythical Cossack Kharko.
Similarly, it is difficult to say when the city was founded. The modern town is believed to date back to 1630.
And you know, this is the first city on our list, founded, as it is believed, by the Little Russians. These people fled from Poland and Western Ukraine to Russia and founded their shelter on the site of Kharkiv.
It was something like a refugee camp, from which the city subsequently grew.
#1. The Capital of Ukraine – Kyiv
Kyiv Ukraine is one of the largest cities in Europe. The population is 2.6 million people. In Russia, only Moscow and St. Petersburg are larger.
Wikipedia on the origin of the name says:
The name of the city of Kyiv comes either from the personal name Kyi (“stick, club”) with the suffix -ev meaning “Kyiv city”, or from a topographical term, as in Ukrainian: kuyava – “steep hill”, kuevi – “mountain top”
What did we get as a result? Eight of the ten largest cities in Ukraine are located in the so-called Southeast, which is considered pro-Russian. Six of them were formed in honor of Catherine II …