Donetsk. The football city

History of Donetsk

Donetsk’s history began in 1869, when British entrepreneur John Hughes built a metallurgical plant, near to which the working settlement grew. Subsequently, this settlement developed into a city. At the same time British workers began to organize the first friendly football matches in Donetsk. Since then, the development of the economy and football, have gone hand in hand in Donetsk.

In 1917 Donetsk obtained city status, and in 1932 city became the centre of Donetsk Region. In April 1978 population of Donetsk exceeded one million.

One of the symbols of Donetsk is the Palm of Mertsalov, which was made by our master craftsmen in 1885 from one entire piece of rail, without welding or connections of any type. This palm became one of the most unusual exhibits at the World’s industrial exhibition in Paris in 1900.

Officially, the symbolic meaning of the palm is: its one-piece strong stem symbolizes unity and purposefulness; the roots, which are buried deep in the earth symbolize the source of strength and wealth; the wide leaves indicate the latitude for scope in various spheres of activity.

Industry in Donetsk

Industry in Donetsk is represented by metallurgy (ferrous and non-ferrous), coal mining, chemical (including coke-chemical) industries, heavy machinery manufacturing. On a regional scale, engineering plants, consumer goods and food manufacturing, woodwork and timber industries are also developed.


A free economic zone is located in the city and based upon the volume of direct investments, it has become one of the largest in Ukraine.

Science and culture

5 State Universities, 11 institutes and 3 academies are located in Donetsk. Furthermore, Donetsk Scientific centre NAS of Ukraine consisting of 6 institutes and various other institutes for design and scientific research can be found in the city.


Also, there are 140 museums and museum halls, an opera and drama theatre located in Donetsk. Amongst a number of international festivals taking place here, the best known are “The Stars of the world ballet” and “The Donetsk jazz festival”.


Donetsk has always been a major sports centre. Tennis, athletics and boxing championships of former USSR were held there. In recent years the following tournaments have taken place in Donetsk:

  • The Davis Cup
  • International light-athletics tournaments “Zepter - Zvezdy shesta”
  • Championships and Ukrainian Cup in artistic gymnastics
  • The tournament “DonbassTour 2009” (a round of show jumping World Cup) took place in the “Donbass Equicentre”, which is recognised as one of the best Equestrian Centres in Europe.

Many other national and international competitions have taken place in Donetsk.

However, football is the most loved sport. There are 5 football academies, 3 first division clubs, 4 second division clubs and 3 third division clubs, and also many amateur football clubs located in Donetsk region.

Football infrastructure of Donets consists of four large stadiums, where football matches are played. The Donbass Arena is one of the finest stadiums in Europe. Matches of the group stages, quarter-final and semi-final of the Euro-2012 will be played at the Donbass Arena. The Donetsk stadiums also hosted football matches for Euro-2009 (U-19). Besides large football stadiums, there are also many large sports centres located in the city.

Football Clubs

Three football clubs of the First Ukrainian division are located in Donetsk region, including Metalurg Donetsk and Illichivets Mariupol. But the pride of Donetsk and the most famous club, is most certainly, Shakhtar Donetsk - many times Ukrainian champion and the holder of the Ukrainian Cup and the Ukrainian Super cup, and in 2009 the holders of UEFA Cup. It is mainly because of Shakhtar Donetsk that UEFA Euro Cup matches are played on a regular basis in our city.

A portrait of the city