Located 80 kilometers from the Black Sea, Mykolayiv (Nikolaev) was founded in 1789 by the Russian Governor General of New Russia, Prince Grigory Potemkin, first as a shipyard called simply "a new shipyard" on the river Ingul. Kniaz Potemkin signed an order to build a shipyard on 27 August 1789 (considered as the birthdate of the city). The purpose of the shipyard was to repair the ships of the Russian Navy in the Russo-Turkish War (1787-1792). Potemkin later commanded the shipyard Mykolayiv be named to commemorate the date Ochakov fell to Russian troops under his command Dec. 6, 1788, near the day of Saint-Nicolas (Nikolay) December 19, in the Calendar of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Today, the town is a major transportation hub, with seaport, airport and train stations. In fact, it is one of the most important ports in the country, as well as a leading producer of ships. Despite the busy commercial side of Mykolayiv, the population is only 506,000 inhabitants. A small population has allowed the rich history of the city and its culture to be preserved. Nestled in southern Ukraine, Mykolayiv is a modern city with wide avenues. One can see the history of the city simply by walking its streets. The architecture of the churches of the city is breathtaking. Be sure to include the four architectural gems in your tour of the city: the Cathedral of the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Casper, Saint Nicolas Church, St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church and the Cathedral the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mar.
Another attraction is the Museum of shipbuilding and the navy. Located on the Admiral'skaya street, this museum was opened in 1978 and has a huge marine collection. Visitors can see beautiful ship models, old maps, flags etc. Mykolayiv is located near one of the largest Greek-Ukrainian ancient cities of the country - Olvia (http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olbia_du_Pont), which is now an archaeological reserve (6 centuries BC) - an inexhaustible treasury of scientific discoveries. Its territory covers about 330 hectares. And at the height of its development it had a population of 25,000 people. The city was part of the Delian League. Many artistic works have been discovered, which are now in museums, not only in Ukraine but also in museums in Berlin, London, Paris, and St. Petersburg.
Another attraction of the city is the zoo, which was founded in 1901. Today, the zoo has 370 species and 2,700 animals, including 80 species listed in the International Red Book. This is the largest Ukrainian zoo. More than 50 species of animals in zoos in Ukraine are represented only in Nikolaev. In 1993 the zoo was added to the European Association of Zoological Gardens and Aquariums (EAZA). It participates in 18 European breeding programs of rare species (EEP). The zoo also houses a museum (it is the only zoological garden housing a museum in Ukraine), where visitors can see a collection of skulls and stuffed animals that once lived in the zoo as well as a collection of eggs, kartoplany and guides to other zoological gardens.
One of the most incredible buildings in the city is the hyperboloid water tower (1907). It was built according to the plans of Vladimir Shukhov. This is one of the first hyperboloid structures in the world, which is a tower of round openwork mesh steel. There are only 11 towers of this type in the world (like the tower at Shukhov). Near Mykolayiv is a kind of underground city - the Catacombs of Mykolayiv - a network of underground tunnels and mazes in the city, which runs more than 2 km. The Mykolayiv region is full of rivers, vineyards and beautiful flower gardens. It is located in the most southern part of Ukraine, in the lowlands of the Black Sea. To really appreciate the beauty of Mykolayiv, you must wander in the city or along the quay of the river Ingul. You can picnic or a walk along the river Ingul. No matter what you decide to visit in Mykolayiv, you will find warm and welcoming people. You might go to meet beautiful Ukrainian women, but you will also have a rich and unique cultural experience.
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