Luhansk

WARNING: Luhansk is currently experiencing fighting in the wake of the declaration of the Luhansk People's Republic. Proceed with caution in this area.

Luhansk or Lugansk (Ukrainian: Луганськ) is a city in Eastern Ukraine.

Understand

In 1790, Scottish engineer Charles Gascoigne explored the coal and mineral resources in the "region of SlavyanoSerbia" (the name itself originates from local Serb settlements). By 1795 it was found that natural resources were plentiful, and Russian Empress Ekaterina the Second ordered the creation of a metal factory on the Luhan' river near existing village of Kamyanyi Brid. This started the development of a new major industrial region of Tsarist Russia, and eventually Soviet Ukraine, which steadily thrived consistently up until the decay of Soviet Union in 1991. After the fall of the USSR, the regional coal mining and other industries slowly became unprofitable. Having over 100 industrial plants, Luhansk faced several years, of slowed or stopped production (with a notable exception of alcohol making plant). After this financial crisis, the large metal factory, that had given birth to the town and became over the time a rather famous Ukrainian military and machine tool plant, named after V.I.Lenin, was finally closed in 2008. However, the single largest locomotive plant named after October Revolution (commonly named "Zavod OR") still struggles through crisis. Overall, Luhansk has now transformed into a rather remote provincial town with decaying signs of previous glory.

The town is divided into 4 districts by natural borders. The main railroad in west-east direction (from Debalceve and Donbas proper to Stanytsia Luhanska) divides the KamyanoBridskyi district from the rest of the town, western (to the west of Olhivka river, with Yuvileynyi satellite) and eastern (east of Ivanishchev yar) sleeper districts form Artemivskyi and Zhovtnevyi (meaning October) districts. Zhovtnevyi district includes a couple of villages on the north-east of town, generally known as Vergunka, all the way to a former recreation area along Pivdennyi Donets river, which was closed for ecological reason; and a satellite Shchastya town near the coal heating plant, making it the municipal district with largest area within Ukraine.

The central, Leninskyi district, together with parts of KamyanoBridskyi district contains most of the main places of interest. Close to the railroad on both sides are several buildings and streets which survived the destruction of World War II or were reconstructed, and now form a compact so called "old center," along streets of Dahl, Lenina, Karl Marx and Karl Libknecht. The new center was completely rebuilt or built anew on a rather high hill in the center between Luhan' and Olhivka rivers and Ivanischev yar. Due to amount of communist oligarchy that lived there and amount of not drive-through yards it was dubbed "Dvoryanske hnizdo" (a nest of nobles). South of Leninskyi district is a remote district of Hostra Mohyla, containing a memorial to heroes of wars of 20th century, several medical facilities and institute and an air navigators academy.

The town is also known to be renamed 4 times, although it has only two names: the name was changed from Luhansk to Voroshilovgrad, than back to Luhansk, than once more forth and back.

Situated on some high hills, Luhansk may not be the best of tourist attraction, but it does provide a specific nice atmosphere if only a bit ruined by recent degradation, and a large number of scenic city landscape views from different points almost in any part of town.

A note on naming: while Luhansk is an official English transliteration of the city name, the direct (sometimes called 'Russian-based') transliteration as Lugansk is certainly much more popular.

Get in

By plane

By train

If you are looking for connection from Russia and are adventurous, you can try to reach Luhansk via stations of Millerovo or Kamenka on Moscow - Rostov-on-the-Don railroad. Consult bus timetable from these stations however (phone Millerovo or Kamensk-Shahtinskii bus stations as internet information is unreliable, you may need to speak Russian to do this though). From Millerovo you'll have to take bus to Luhansk which runs only 2-3 times a day. Alternative is shared taxi for about $35 for car, with all warnings about old cars and too insistent service apply. Hitchhike while possible if you're arrived to Millerovo in the morning, is not recommended due to international traffic almost non-existent (in case you want to try, take minibus 1 to university to the final stop, then walk 1.5 km along R-272 to the west to ring crossing). You may be stopped by police on railway station, tell them that you intend to go to Lugansk by bus or shared taxi or stop in the hotel if you fail and do that. From Kamensk-Shahtinskii there also 2-3 direct buses to Luhansk, some of them at night. Alternatively you can take bus to Donetsk(RF) (8 a day, hitchhike alternative is good on this leg only), then minibus across border to Krasnodon and then minibus to Lugansk. Minibuses, while somewhat frequent, stop service early. Note, that another border crossing from Chertkovo to Melovoe is only for citizens of Russia and Ukraine. If you happen to have such citizenship, crossing the border from Chertkovo to Melovoe might look attractive transport-wise, as Melovoe is connected to Luhansk several times a day, but major drawback is that you'll have to walk or take a taxi to the crossing point 4 km north of the station and back.

If you go from the south of Russia, you can change to bus in Rostov-on-the-Don.

By bus

By car

Luhansk is on transit E-40 highway from Kharkiv and Debalcevo to Krasnodon and further international crossing in Donetsk RF, Kamensk-Shahtinskii and Volgograd. That said, the quality vary greatly from decent to quite poor (and it is mostly poor on other highways) so be advised. Other accesses to Luhansk include P272(RU)+P22(UA) connection road from Russian highway M4 from Millerovo (expect several kilometers of rather extreme quality of the road on Russian side until international border crossing in Krasnaya Talovka), north-south local road H-21 Starobelsk - Luhansk - Lutugino - Torez - Donetsk. Access from Russia is also possible by E-50, via international border crossing in Dolzhanskyy, than changing to T-1305 to Sverdlovsk, T-1322 to Krasnodon and then E-40.

Get around

By tram and trolleybus

Once extensive tram and trolleybus network were declined, even although a tram bridge near railway station was reopened after reconstruction and a new 2 km trolleybus line to Mirnii kvartal was finally opened after several years of construction. Trams and trolleybuses become old and slow and either not replaced, or replaced by used mashines from other towns. Amount of lines also diminished from its peak: 10 tram lines against 15 and 5 trolleybus lines against 8. Both trams and trolleybuses now close their movement between 17:30 and 19:00 except trolleybuses 51 and 52 and from April 2011 also except trams 6 and 13 which are run to 21:00.

Peculiarities of tram and trolleybuses network include: (former express) tram line to Ostraya Mogila (tram 6), de facto suburb trolleybus line to Yubileiniy settlement (trolleybus 57, although formally it runs over territory of Luhansk and Yubileyniy, major part of line has out of the town feel), arguably failed attempt to build an express line to Vergunka - abandoned forever after recreation zone was closed, existed for some time in form of a side line to 7th entrance of Zavod OR, reached by tram 3a, now closed, quite a lot of tram lines in the private one-storied sector, including tram-only streets.

By bus and marshrutkas

The network is quite extensive and is a primary means of transport in the town. One may keep in mind, that the network is organized based on 3 main arteries, the first two of which also have roads in a bit better state than rest of the town. They are:

By foot

The new and old centers are in principle walkable. A leisure walk through the whole new and old center, visiting museums, is possible to complete within a day if only a bit winded. It's may be advisable to start from the most southern place of interest in center: open museum of stone women statues on the ground of pedagogical institute near "Ukraine" cinema, and than go all the way downtown in order to save energy.

By diesel and elektrichka

Some parts of town (mostly remote) are served infrequently by local diesel trains (and west-bound electric trains). East-bound diesels reach former Lenin plant, Zavod OR plant and adjacent KamBrod area, and then Vergunka. West-bound trains are an alternative root to satellite town of Alexandrovsk. South-bound diesel to Izvarino run along the border of Leninskii and Artyomovskii district daily.

See

Churches

Museums

Monuments

Do

Eat

Budget

Sleep

Cope

- Major mobile operators Kyivstar, DCC, UMC.

Internet

Post Offices

The post office is in communication services through a network of 48 Lugansk liaison offices.

Churches

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, September 26, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.