History of Zaporizhzhia

The modern city of Zaporizhzhia dates back to the founding of the Aleksandrovsk city, which is associated with the construction of a complex of fortresses, the new Dnieper Defense Line. The decree on its creation was signed by Catherine II in May 1770.

The construction of the Aleksandrovsk Fortress began in August 1770 on the banks of the Mokra Moskovka river, where fortress buildings and the city were laid. In the spring after the flooding of the rivers, it turned out that the place for the fortress was chosen unsuccessfully, and it was decided to build it closer to the Sukha Moskovka river.

The fortress occupied an area of 105 dessiatinas (1 dessiatina = 2.7 acres) and represented a polygonal star, created by earth banks, under which actually military buildings were located. The arsenal of the fortress was 137 guns.

In the place where the first fortress was laid down, a settlement was established, which initially had the status of a suburb, and in 1806 it got the status of the county city of Aleksandrovsk.

In 1856 2 brickyards, 5 forges, 5 ostleries were operating in Aleksandrovsk. In 1873, the railroad was laid through the city. On March 9, 1910, the construction of a city power station began, which started in 1911. The central streets of the city got electric lighting.

The First World War was fatal for Russia. Although in Europe 2 more empires collapsed, the greatest amount of blood was shed in the territories that at the beginning of the war were subordinated to the Russian government. Already in 1916 in Aleksandrovsk, the commodity deficit was fixed. Dissatisfaction lead to a revolutionary explosion. The Bolshevik troops began a campaign against the Ukrainian People's Republic. The first attack on the city was reflected in the battles of December 12 - December 15, 1917. After several years of struggle and periodic change of power on October 23, 1920, the Soviet government was established in the city for a long time.

With the formation of the Alexandrovsk province in July 1920, the county center turns into a provincial city. In 1921 Aleksandrovsk was renamed. So the city was called Zaporizhzhia, and the Aleksandrovsk province became the Zaporizhzhia province. However, as early as December 1, 1922, Zaporizhzhia was joined to the Katerynoslav province.

Natural conditions around the city contributed to the construction of a giant hydroelectric power station. This fact, along with the presence of thruways and the location between Kryvyi Rih ore and Donetsk coal, coincided with the desire of the authorities to industrialize the country. Nearby the construction of a powerful industrial place, primarily with metallurgical plants, was planned. In March 1927, the construction of DniproHES was started, and in five years the station generated the first current. In parallel, factories were constructed. During the pre-war five-year period, Zaporizhzhia turned into a large industrial city. The city became one of the centers for the production of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, heavy industry and power industry of the Soviet Union. It made Zaporizhzhia a regional center on January 10, 1939.

In autumn 1939, the Second World War began. These horrible events affected Zaporizhzhia, whose defenders and citizens demonstrated examples of heroism, courage, persistence, and self-sacrifice.

In July 1941, the formation of the 274th Rifle Division began in Zaporizhzhia. In the cities and villages of the region volunteer units of various purposes were created in order to help the army. Air defense units were formed, which were supposed to quickly eliminate the effects of air strikes. In August-October, hundreds of thousands of citizens of Zaporizhzhia province built permanent defenses. Antitank ditches, trenches with dog-out shelters and observation points constructed by Zaporizhzhia citizens extended for many kilometers on the right and left banks of the Dnieper.

From the very beginning of the war, Zaporizhzhia enterprises began to work on the defense capability of the city and the country. The volumes of production of military purposes increased steadily at the enterprises.

At the initial stage of the war, the Red Army suffered significantly. The front quickly moved eastward. Already at the end of July - in early August 1941, the Germans occupied the areas bordering the Zaporizhzhia province. The first bomb attack of Zaporizhzhya was carried out by the German aviation on July 22. In August, fierce battles at the approaches to Zaporizhzhia began.

On August 18, 1941, the German troops managed to break through the defense of the Red Army on the west of Zaporizhzhia and occupy the right bank side of the city and the Khortytsia island. The German troops attacked the left bank of Zaporizhzhia, primarily the Dnieper and the industrial zone, by a gun-mortar shelling. In the evening of August 18, the Soviet troops blew up the DniproHES dam because of the threat of the German troops breakthrough.

On October 3, the Soviet troops were forced to leave, and the next day, German soldiers entered the city. The spring of 1942 was terrible. Mass shootings took away the lives of many residents. In autumn of 1943, the liberation of the city from the Nazi invaders was started. The Soviet troops made the decisive attack in Zaporizhzhia at night on 13 October. At dawn on October 14, the Soviet troops came to the outskirts of the city. In the second half of the day, on October 14, 1943, the Zaporizhzhia left-bank bridgehead, on which the Germans had high hopes, ceased to exist. In the left bank of the city, there was any enemy soldier.

It was not a regular event in the course of the war. As a result, the Germans lost the key bridgehead, from which they planned to counterattack the Soviet troops on the left bank. This was the first successful example of a night armored assault on a big city.


On October 14, the Soviet troops liberated the left bank of Zaporizhzhia. However, Zaporizhzhia continued to remain a front city for a long time. The German troops, defeated on the left bank, fixed on the right bank of the Dnieper and the Khortytsia island. The left-bank part of the city was under constant artillery fire.

At night on October 25, the Dnieper assault crossing within the city began. At night on November 26, the enemy was thrown from the coastal strip of the right bank between the villages of Rozumivka and Bilenke. At the same time, the DniproHES was saved from the complete destruction. The Germans blew up the station's building and prepared the dam of the DniproHES to the explosion. Soviet reconnoiters and mine pickers prevented the destruction.

Almost during the whole December battles continued and at the end of the month, the Soviet troops took control of the right-bank part.

After the victory, the restoration of the economy began. In 1947 the Dnieper gave the first post-war current, the first batches of cold-rolled steel sheet were shipped.

In the mid-50's the period of relative stability came. New branches such as the production of transformers and titanium, were emerging.

On November 18, 1960, the first small car "Zaporozhets" was produced. Since the 1960's, Zaporizhzhia was growing geographically. New micro districts were being built, the population was growing fast. Compared with pre-war times, production, scientific potential, and welfare of the population were growing.

In the early 80's, a highly unbalanced economy entered the peak, culminating in the collapse of the USSR.

Currently, the city of Zaporizhzhia is one of the largest administrative, industrial and cultural centers of the south of Ukraine.

Published: 05.06.2017 00:00