Mykolaiv is a city in southern Ukraine, nestled on a peninsula that is surrounded by the Southern Buh and Inhul rivers. During the times of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, it was an important port for the Black Sea fleet. Today, Mykolaiv is attractive because of the numerous possibilities it offers to those looking for leisure and entertainment. Many sanatoriums and resorts, as well as landscapes of utmost beauty and the most unique reserves, surround the city.
Just like Odesa and Kherson, Mykolaiv is a young city, founded by the Russian general and governor Gregory Potemkin. It was on his orders that a shipbuilding yard was founded in 1788 on the Inhul River, around which the city was built. The city is named after the victorious assault by Russian troops on the Turkish fortress Ochakiv, which took place on the Day of Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of all sailors.
Despite being an important shipbuilding center and the home to Russia’s Black Sea fleet, Mykolaiv was, for a long time, a city closed off to the public. This was because the majority of Mykolaiv’s production served the empire’s military-industrial complex. Mykolaiv became open to the public only in 1862, when its sea gate was opened to foreign ships. From then on, the city turned into a large commercial port and has become one of the biggest industrial centers in southern Ukraine. In the 20th century, having been restored after the Second World War, Mykolaiv continued prosper as one of the most important shipbuilding centers in the USSR.
The city is not only famous for its ships. Almost since its founding, Mykolaiv was known as “the City of Brides.” The origin of this name goes over two centuries back, when men from all corners of the Russian Empire came to build ships and buildings in the city. Most of them were bachelors, and they came not on their own wills, but under the orders of Grigori Potemkin. To keep the independent men in the city, the general decided to give them a chance to make families in Mykolaiv. To help facilitate this process, he ordered inhabitants from the city’s outskirts to bring their most beautiful daughters to Mykolaiv.
However, beautiful women are not the city’s only attraction. One of the oldest observatories of the Black Sea marine habitat is located here. The Mykolaiv Naval Astronomic Observatory was founded almost 200 years ago, and is currently a candidate for UNESCO’s list of world treasures. Another of Mykolaiv’s sources of pride is the city zoo, considered to be the best in Ukraine and one of the best in all of Europe. The zoo is home to over 350 species of animals.
But Mykolaiv’s true landmark is the Museum of Shipbuilding and Fleet – the only museum of its kind in Ukraine! The museum is housed in a building that is recognized as a monument to Classicism architecture, and keeps over 3000 exhibits, describing the history of Ukraine’s fleet, from its beginnings until today. The country’s oldest yacht club and its longest pedestrian street – the Soviet Street - are also located in Mykolaiv. Numerous shops, cafes and restaurants are nestled on this street, and both locals and tourists like to spend their time strolling down the promenade.
Each year, Mykolaiv and its surrounding boroughs attract more and more tourists. They come here not only to rest and to improve their health in the Black Sea resorts, but also to admire the fantastic nature of southern Ukraine: its clear lakes and granite mountains, relict forest groves and canyons of Southern Buh River, picturesque meadows and uninhabited steppe. And the world-class hospitality of the region is only helping to draw in and enchant more visitors!