Dnipro, until May 2016 Dnipropetrovsk is Ukraine's fourth largest city, with about one million inhabitants. It is 391 kilometres (243 mi) southeast of the capital Kiev on the Dnieper River, in the south-central part of Ukraine. Dnipro is the administrative centre of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. Administratively, it is incorporated as a city of oblast significance, the centre of Dnipro municipality and extraterritorial administrative centre of Dnipro Raion. Its population is approximately 976,525 (2017 est.).
Dnipro was originally known as Ekaterinoslav, which could be approximately rendered as "the glory of Catherine", presumably with reference to Catherine the Great (technically, the naming might have been in honour of Saint Catherine of Alexandria). It was founded in 1787 (the official founding year was set to 1776 in 1976 in an effort to please the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Leonid Brezhnev) as the administrative centre of Russia's newly re-established Azov Governorate, which in 1783 was merged into a much bigger Ekaterinoslav Viceroyalty; later, from 1796 to 1802, as Novorossiysk, it was the centre of the recreated Novorossiya Governorate, and subsequently, till 1925, of the Ekaterinoslav Governorate.
Cossacks and the Russian army had fought against the Ottoman Empire for control of this area in the Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774). The Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca ended this war in July 1774; and in May 1775 the Russian army destroyed the Zaporozhian Sich, thus eliminating the political autonomy of Cossacks. In 1775, Prince Grigori Potemkin was appointed governor of Novorossiya, and after the destruction of the Zaporozhian Sich, he started founding cities in the region and encouraging foreign settlers. The original town of Yekaterinoslav was founded in 1776, not in the current location, but at the confluence of the River Samara with the River Kil'chen' at Loshakivka, north of the Dnieper. By 1782, the city population was 2,194. However the site had been badly chosen because spring waters were transforming the city into a bog. The settlement was later renamed Novomoskovsk. In 1783, Yekaterinoslav was refounded on its current site, on the south bank of the Dnieper, near the Zaporozhian village of Polovytsia. The population of Yekaterinoslav-Kil'chen' were (according to some sources) transferred to the new site. Potemkin's plans for the city were extremely ambitious. It was to be about 30 by 25 km (19 by 16 mi) in size, and included Transfiguration Cathedral (the claim that it was intended as the largest in the world probably results from confusing Potemkin's reference to San Paulo-fuori-le-mura in Rome with St Peter's Basilica.); The Potemkin palace; university (never built); botanical garden on Monastyrskyi Island and wide straight avenues through the city.
Over time, Dnipro has been known by a number of names:
- Ekaterinoslav 1776–1782, reestablished 1783–1797
- Novorossiysk 1797–1802
- Ekaterinoslav 1802–1918
- Sicheslav 1918
- Katerynoslav / Yekaterinoslav 1918–1926
- Dnipropetrovsk / Dnepropetrovsk 1926–1992
- Dnipropetrovsk 1992–2016
- Dnipro 2016–present
The city has a variety of theatres (plus an Opera) and museums of interest to tourists, including the Dmytro Yavornytsky National Historical Museum. There are also several parks, restaurants and beaches.
The major streets of the city were renamed in honour of Marxist heroes during the Soviet era. Following the 2015 law on decommunization these have been renamed.
The central thoroughfare is known as Akademik Yavornitskyi Prospekt, a, wide and long boulevard that stretches east to west through the centre of the city. It was founded in the 18th century and parts of its buildings are the actual decoration of the city. In the heart of the city is Soborna Square, which includes the majestic cathedral founded by order of Catherine the Great in 1787.
On the square, there are some remarkable buildings: the Museum of History, Diorama "Battle for the Dnieper River (World War II)", and also the park in which one can rest in the hot summer. Walking down the hill to the Dnieper River, one arrives in the large Taras Shevchenko Park (which is on the right bank of the river) and on Monastyrsky Island. This island is one of the most interesting places in the city. In the 9th century, the Byzantine monks based a monastery here.
FC Dnipro football club, play in the Ukrainian Premier League and UEFA Europa League, and are the only Soviet team to win the USSR Federation Cup twice. Since independence they have won the Ukrainian Championship once and the Ukrainian League Cup three times. The club is owned by the Privat Group. Note: A bandy team, a basketball team and others use the same name.
Other local football include: FC Lokomotyv Dnipropetrovsk and FC Spartak Dnipropetrovsk, both of which have large fan bases.
Recently the city built a new soccer stadium; the Dnipro-Arena has a capacity of 31,003 people and was built as a replacement for Dnipro's old stadium, Stadium Meteor. The Dnipro-Arena hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification game between Ukraine and England on 10 October 2009. The Dnipro Arena was initially chosen as one of the Ukrainian venues for their joint Euro 2012 bid with Poland. However it was dropped from the list in May 2009 as the capacity fell short of the minimum 33,000 seats required by UEFA.
The city is the centre of Ukrainian bandy. The Ukrainian Federation of Bandy and Rink-Bandy has its office in the city. The foremost local bandy club is Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, which won the Ukrainian championship in 2014.