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Bohdan Khmelnytskyi Avenue in Melitopol
Bohdan Khmelnytskyi Avenue in Melitopol
Flag of Melitopol
Official seal of Melitopol
Location of Melitopol
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Country Ukraine
Oblast Zaporizhia
Established 1784
 • Mayor Sergiy Valter
 • Total 51 km2 (20 sq mi)
Population (2013)
 • Total 156,984
Postal Index 72300

Melitopol (Ukrainian: Мелітополь, translit. Melitopol’, Russian: Мелитополь) is a city in Zaporizhia Oblast (region) of the southeastern Ukraine. It is situated on the Molochna[1] River that flows through the eastern edge of the city and into the Molochnyi Liman, which eventually joins the Sea of Azov. Population: 156,984 (2013 est.)[2].

Melitopol City Hall

Melitopol is incorporated as a city of oblast significance and is the second largest city in the oblast after Zaporizhia. It serves as the administrative center of Melitopol Raion, though it does not belong to the raion.

Geographically, the city is in the south-eastern Ukraine, at the crossing of two major European highways E58 Vienna - Uzhhorod - Kiev - Rostov-na-Donu and E105 Kirkenes - St. Petersburg - Moscow - Kiev - Yalta. The electrified railway line of international importance goes through Melitopol. 80% of passenger train lines go through toward their destination of Crimean cities. Melitopol is also called "the gateway to the Crimea", because in the summer time the road traffic in the city reaches the level of 45,000 vehicles per day, heading for the coast of Sea of Azov and Black Sea.


In medieval times, there was a small Noghai aul of Kyzyl-Yar where the modern Melitopol is settled. In July 1769, Russian military commanders built a redoubt there, and Zaporizhia Cossacks carried out their duty service there. On February 2, 1784, Ekaterina II issued the decree to create the Taurian Province on the lands that had been won. The deputy of Novorossiya His Highness Prince Potemkin signed the relation to establish a town that very year - and Cossacks' families and those of retired soldiers of Suvorov settled on the right bank of the Molochna River. Among others, Germans were encouraged to settle in the new province, and some villages in this area were for many years German-speaking, such as Heidelberg (now Pryshyb) some 50 kilometres (31 miles) to the north of Melitopol.[3]

Novoalexandrovskaya sloboda, Redin and Fomin painting

In 1816, the settlement got the name sloboda of Novoalexandrovka. Its population was increasing due to the importation of peasants from the northern provinces of Ukraine and Russia. On January 7, 1842, the sloboda was recognized as a town and received the new name of Melitopol after a port city of Melita (from Greek Μέλι (meli) - "honey") which had been situated on the mouth of the Molochna River. At the end of the 19th century, the Honey-city[4] had been developed as a trade center - there were some banks, credit organizations and wholesale stores. The largest enterprises in the city at the time were the iron foundry and the Brothers Klassen's machinery construction factory (1886), the railroad depot and the workshops.

Further development of the city was closely connected with trade, iron and engineering industries, and Crimean direction railway service. In the early twentieth century there were 15 thousand people living in Melitopol. 30 industrial and 350 retail outlets operated in the city at that time. In the second half of the twentieth century there was a strong economic growth of the city: new factories, plants, and housing estates were constructed. 16 Melitopol business enterprises have received the All-Soviet Union significance status. Industrial enterprise production was exported to more than 50 countries worldwide.

Old Alexander Nevsky Cathedral Melitopol

Melitopol in World War II

In 1941, the Soviet Union was attacked by Nazi Germany. The city became strategically important due to its location. The Red Army was not ready for the war and had to retreat. The German Wehrmacht occupied Melitopol on October 6, 1941. Within one week the entire remaining Jewish population of Melitopol (2,000 men, women and children) were murdered by Einsatzgruppe D actively supported by the Wehrmacht.

The Wotan Line Battle

After breaking through on the Mius River and defeating Axis troops in the Donbas and Taganrog, the Soviet Southern Front army pursuing the retreating enemy came to the Milk River on September 22, 1943. Here, in the basin of the Milk River, German troops had built a strong long-term defense which they called the Panther-Wotan line. It was on this line that the fate of the Crimean peninsula and the whole course of offensive operations in the southern Soviet Union were decided.

The German defense consisted of four lines, covered with solid anti-tank ditches and landmines. The first attempt of the Soviet Southern Front army to break through was unsuccessful. Soviet commanders decided to prepare thoroughly a new attempt: the so-called “Melitopol operation”, which was carried out successfully from September 26th to November 5, 1943.

Despite the courage and heroism of Soviet soldiers, fighting lasted long, as the Germans introduced fresh reserves in order to keep Melitopol. Finally, after many days of heavy street fighting against vastly superior numbers of men and equipment, German resistance was broken and on October 23rd the Red Army took complete control of the city. By decrees of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet, 87 Red soldiers and airmen were awarded the title of "Hero of the Soviet Union" for their actions in the reconquest of Melitopol.


Melitopol is a melting pot of different ethnicities and cultures. Representatives of more than 100 ethnic groups have been living here together in peace. An association of national-cultural societies is actively working in the city. In 2008 Melitopol became a member of the international project of the Council of Europe "Intercultural Cities". The City confidently and clearly stated its goals in this program. Three flagship projects were identified as belonging to the future of the municipal program "Melitopol - European Intercultural City." The project on which the city works under the Council of Europe project, is called "Creation of Intercultural Park “Melito-Park”. The aim of the project is to create an intercultural park where people of different nationalities could meet and communicate. There is a design project of the Intercultural Park, prepared by a group of European architects and designers led by Mark Glaudemans - Director of the European Laboratory for urban planning, the Dean of the Academy of Architecture and Urbanism (city of Tilburg, Netherlands).[5] In Melitopol removed first short film in 2015, "The Zone". As ethnic conflicts are not a problem for Melitopol, city authorities are trying to identify the potential diversity for the mobilization of efforts and creativity of different ethnic groups to develop and implement innovative projects revival.

File:Medovo festival.jpg
Honey festival called "Medovo"

Among all the diversity of cultural events in Melitopol there are these unique activities:

  1. the Festival of Brides
  2. "Miss and Mister Interculturality" contest
  3. the Cherry Festival "Chereshnevo"
  4. the Honey Festival "Medovo"

Melitopol has 38 monuments, memorials and statues registered.[6]

One of them is the statue of Bogdan Khmelnitsky, the famous hetman of Ukraine. His images are printed on Ukrainian 5 hryvnia's banknotes.

The other one represents Ostap Bender a hero of the book of Ilf and Petrov "12 chairs".

File:Ostap Bender Sculpture.jpg
Ostap Bender sculpture

Special notes

The Stone Grave

There is the unique relic of the Stone Grave (Ukrainian: Кам'яна могила, translit. Kamyana mohyla, Russian: Каменная могила) 12 kilometres (7 miles) north of Melitopol. It is a relic of sandstone from the Sarmatian epoch of the Tertiary period. Its exact coordinates are Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.

Melitopol cherries

Melitopol has justly gained fame as the City of Cherries. In the city territory there is, unique in CIS, the Sidorenko Scientific Research Institute of Irrigated Horticulture (Ukrainian Academy of Agrarian Sciences), that is professionally engaged in selection of stone fruit crops (cherries, apples, peaches, etc.). The main base of this research institute is located in Melitopol. There are experimental black cherry orchards located in the heart of the city. Citizens of Melitopol rightly call it the "city-garden". A symbol of Melitopol is Chereshnya Melitopolskaya,[7] a type of cherry for which the city is known.

Melitopol honey

Recently, the city actively created its own brand as a " City of Honey" (a version of the historical origins of the name of the town has "Greek roots": in translation "melitos" is a "city of honey"). The city formed a cluster of honey producers, prepared investment projects for the establishment of an Apitherapy center (treatment with the help of bee products) and encourages the creation of souvenir products made from honey.

Twin towns – Sister cities

Melitopol is currently twinned with:


In 1874, a technical school was founded in the city, which, after a series of reforms and transformations, became Tavria State Agrotechnological University. The city now has two public universities − Tavria State Agrotechnological Academy[8] and Melitopol State Pedagogical University, as well as a private institute - Zaporizhia Institute of Economics and Information Technologies.[9]

A long history of universities and schools is one of the reasons that Melitopol is called «the city of students», where more than 10% of citizens are students. The strong system of education is represented by different types of educational institutions at all levels of accreditation: 2 universities, 4 branches of different universities in Ukraine, seven professional schools, and three colleges.

26 pre-schools are operating in the city, in which 6,000 young citizens are being educated. In addition, for more than 500 children with special needs under the age of 7 years there are rehabilitation programs to provide the needed services.

Educational services for 14,000 students are provided by 23 secondary schools. There is a center of labor training and professional orientation for young people. A network of six non-school institutions are the following: the Centre of Ecological-Naturalistic Art for Youth, the Center of Tourist and Local Lore Creativity for Youth, the Station of Young Technicians, the Vodvudenko Palace for Children and Teenagers Creativity, Small Academy of Sciences, as well as the Center of Children and Teenagers, and other creative centers that unites 9 communal hobby clubs.


  • Melitopol has a railroad station that serves as the transit point for passengers going from Moscow to the Crimea and back. The city is also called the "gateway to the Crimea".
  • The city has two bus stations: the newer intercity station, and the old station of local buses. Two highways lead through Melitopol: The M14 Odesa-Novoazovsk Highway and the M26 Kharkiv-Simferopol National Highway.
  • The marshrutkas are the sole kind of the city's public transport. They run 34 routes. They work from 5:00 a.m. till 12:30 a.m. (from 05:30 till 00:30). Formerly, during the time of the USSR, there were buses of Ikarus, LiAZ, LAZ, PAZ running around 15 routes.
  • The common length of the roads of Melitopol is 333 km (207 mi), 70% of them do not meet the basic requirements.


There is a well-developed, internationally important engine-constructing industry. Thanks to the rich historical heritage, economic and geographical situation and enterprising citizens the city has developed mechanical engineering, light and food industry. The city’s dynamic development is driven by engineering industries, that have received new impulse with the establishment of more than 100 new small and medium engineering business enterprises, united in the cluster "AgroBOOM”. The dynamics of the machinery transformation from a "Soviet" model to a "European" one surprises many visitors of our city. The principles of cooperation and production outsourcing are working actively.

Machine engineering complex of the city is represented by 8 large plants and more than 100 small and medium-sized enterprises formed after 1991. Mechanical engineers of the city mainly produce goods for the agricultural sector: wide range of spare parts, components and assemblies for mobile equipment of local and foreign producers. Production capacity and availability of experienced, qualified staff allows entrepreneurs to design and produce parts of any complexity, including large ones. All the processes necessary to create parts can be made in the city: starting with metallurgical operations (casting) and ending with assembly and testing.

There are many unique enterprises that stand out for their products and customers:

  • The plant "BIOL" - makes the dishes comparable to international brands,
  • The plant “TALCO” - collaborates with General Motors, Camozzi and Festo;
  • The plant “AUTOPRIVOD" is the third company in the world that has mastered the knot for YaMZ engine;
  • The only plant in the Ukraine that produces engines for cars “AvtoZAZ-MOTOR”;
  • The plant “AVTOTSVETLIT” is the only plant in Ukraine, that produces 5 types of complex castings (steel, including stainless steel, cast iron (grey and ductile iron), magnesium, aluminum); produces shock absorbers for VAZ,
  • The company "ROSTA" – performs the commercialization of research and innovation in the field of agricultural machinery and irrigation systems (connection of science and business),
  • The plant "MzTK" is a unique enterprise that produces turbines for mobile equipment,
  • The plant “TERMOLIT” - induction furnaces for foundry operations and other products of metal processing. The mechanic engineering of the city is valuable because it does not offer materials, but products with added value obtained after the processing of raw materials (metal).

The following companies can be called the basis of light industry in the city:

  • Melitopol Sewing Production Enterprise that exports its goods. The factory has "dressed" the AIR France and French railway «Polaris» employees, Dutch police and firefighters, Italian tax Police, it delivers its production to a world-famous network of boutiques «Grosso-Moda» in Netherlands,
  • Melitopol Knitting Factory "Nadezhda" is the manufacturer of knitwear products that meet the highest requirements. The company uses cloth of both local and foreign manufacturers in its production process. Cloths are made from the cotton yarn and the combination of cotton yarn and synthetic fibers,
  • Furniture production is well developed: more than 20 small and medium enterprises are working in this field, distributing its products throughout Ukraine.

Thanks to the proximity of agricultural areas and raw materials of Zaporizhia, Mykolaiv, Kherson, and Dnipropetrovsk regions the food industry is well presented in the city. The main enterprises of food industry are:

  • Melitopol Meat Processing Plant is well known in the whole country because of the high quality of its products (sausages),
  • Melitopol Milk Plant and Oil Extraction Plant are enterprises that belong to a major food-holding "Olkom",
  • Melitopol Grain Elevator.

Small and medium businesses of the city are proud of their high quality production: bakery and confectionery, convenience foods (dumplings, pancakes).

People from Melitopol



  1. Milky
  2. "Чисельність наявного населення України (Actual population of Ukraine)" (in Ukrainian). State Statistics Service of Ukraine. Retrieved 21 January 2015.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Richard Konkel, genealogist
  4. i.e. Melitopol, this is how Melitopol sometimes is referred in the local mass-media
  5. information from the Melitopol investment portal
  6. The data from Melitopol's official site - (uk.)
  7. translated Melitopol Cherry
  8. Tavria State Agrotechnological Academy official site
  9. Melitopol State Pedagogical University official site

External links