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08 Oct 2011 9:51 PM

Biographies of cities in many respects are similar to the fate of people. First they are born, get a name, grow, acquire a profession ... But with Nikolayev it was  an exactly opposite story  - first it  received a profession, and only then the name. 

First the Black Sea Fleet was basing in the city of Kherson. But because of the shallow-waters the place  seemed to be  unsuccessful in terms of navigation. In view of the coming  Russian-Turkish war that began in autumn 1787, there became a need to create a new shipyard.  In 1788 the most suitable place was selected by Grigory Potemkin in the  area with the merger of two rivers the Ingul and the Yuzhny Bug. Working people from the northern provinces started to arrive. They were mostly men and as to women, they  became a minority  there ( a very unique episode in the history of  any country!). People say that due to the very strict biological selection the most beautiful women hence live in Nikolayev.

A year later, August 27, 1789, Potemkin gave the order to call the place the city of Nikolaev" (in the memory of December 6, 1788 , St. Nicholas Day  when the Russian troops  captured the Turkish fortress Ochakov) . It is well known that St. Nicholas is  considered a patron saint of the sailors. In October 1790 Catherine II gave Nikolayev city status. Prince Grigory Potemkin was not only a founding father of  the city of Nikolayev, but also a driving force in the creation and development of shipbuilding. He outlined the program of building ships at Nikolayev shipyard. 
After  many decades  Nikolaev became a  shipbuilding base in southern Russia.

In 1862 the permission to open  a port  to foreign vessels, customs, and foreign consulates was granted to Nikolayev. This  has contributed to the development of the city, and at the end of the XIX century Nikolaev by the  volume of maritime trade was taking the  third place, and by the  sales of grain – the  first place in the Russian Empire and the third and the fourth place  in the world. 

In 1895-97 Nikolayev started to be known for its shipbuilding plants.

Meanwhile, the city has started its construction fulfilling the ideas of  the famous Russian architect IE Starov. Arriving at the place, Starov first visited the building site designated for a new city. It was a large peninsula, which stretched to the east-west direction for five miles  and for three miles across. The shape of the  peninsula looked like a giant ship , washed up by the Ingul and the Bug waves. Later Starov broke peninsula into equal rectangular blocks, giving each of them its number. For decades the town has been created according to this plan.IE Starov  rejected the idea of a fortified city . The main axes according to  IE Starov were outlined by two streets intersecting at right angles. One of them is current Lenin Avenue, which runs east-west along the peninsula, and the second is Sadovaya street ,which is  stretching from north to south. Both of these highways are in the middle of the  green boulevards

History of the town was such that more or less beautiful stone houses and administrative buildings were erected only over Ingul along Admiral Street and continued towards the Spassky descent. Unfortunately the rest of the city regions - Sloboda and Military Street, Long Slobodka, Vodopoy – were constructed by  a single-storey blocks of houses. 

Nikolaev has five entries into the city. Perhaps the most spectacular entry is from Odessa. A view from the bridge across the Southern Bug offers a wide coast of white houses with terraces. 
The  entry from Krivoy Rog. fascinates by the cherry orchards on the left  and the  field freeway on the right. Cosmonaut Street comes as a sudden, with its  trams, buses, shops and crowds. 
Another entry, from the ship's area Karabel.. Like a satellite, the are is  still  cut off from the city and  it stretches along  the broad highway. 
The fourth entry  is from Kherson - the only one that does not give a complete picture of the city. It  crosses the eastern industrial zone. However, reconstruction and improvement of this area is under the way.  
And finally, the fifth entry  from Kiev  represents a wide paved highway with multi-row traffic. Kiev highway crosses the line of the multi-kilometer peninsula formed by the left-hand bend Ingul bizarre, and the right-wide mouths spill of the  Ingul and the Southern Bug. Highway smoothly enters into the beautiful bridge over the river Ingul, which in turn opens up the northern gate of the city. 

Many boulevard of Nikolayev are full of  the sea symbols:  anchors, taken from the ancient ships, cannons, etc.  When you walk along the  boulevard decorated by  granite parapets, it gives you the the impression that you are walking on the decks of a huge ship  from  the top or the  bottom.This "deck" is combined by  a wide granite staircase - a kind of "trap" to a river. 
The staircase in Nikolaev may be compared with Potemkin staircase in Odessa. And, perhaps, not without reason. After all, from the shipyard, which once was  built there, went into the history  the legendary battleship "Potemkin". 

Nowadays Nikolaev is most  famous for its zoo, which was founded April 26, 1901 by NP Leontovich. In 1977 the zoo moved to a new territory, occupying the  area of 23 hectares. The zoo's collection enumerates  more than 350 animal species, many of which are listed as endangered.  Nikolaev Zoo is  considered to the best in the Ukraine. 

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