The Journey of Mariupol from Pre-settlement to The war in Donbass

The first gymnasium of Mariupol founded in 1876

Mariupol is a town of regional significance in southeastern Ukraine, located on the north coast of the Sea of Azov at the entrance of the Kalmius river in the Pryazovia section. It is the tenth-largest town in Ukraine and the second-largest by area in the Donetsk Oblast.

The town is primarily built on land made of sodium enriched (solonetzic) chernozem, with a necessary amount of underground subsoil water that leads to landslides.

History of Mariupol


Around the Middle Ages through the early modern period, here taken from the 12th through the 16th century CE, Mariupol lay within a larger region that was primarily devastated and slaughtered by the bitter conflict among the neighboring peoples, including the Nogay Horde, the Crimean Tatars, Muscovy, and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. By the middle of the 15th century CE, much of the Azov and Black Seas region was annexed by the then Crimean Khanate and became a province of the Ottoman Empire. East of the Dnieper reached a desolate steppe, extending to the Sea of Azov, where the lack of water made early establishment precarious. Moreover, near the Muravsky Trail, the quarter was subject to many raids and looting by the Tatar tribes, which prevented the region’s permanent settlement, keeping it sparsely populated, or even an uninhabited land under Tatar rule. Hence it was known as the ‘Deserted Plains’ or the Wild Fields.


After the bloody Russo-Turkish War, the governor of the Azov Governorate reported to Grigory Potemkin on February 23, 1776 CE that researchers found ruins of ancient domakhas (homes) in this area in 1778 CE. Here, he planned the new town of Pavlovsk. However, on September 29 1779 CE, the city of Marianοpol in Kalmius County was established on the site. For the Russian authorities, the town was named after the Russian Empress Maria Feodorovna; its de facto title was identified after the Greek Mariampo settlement, a Bakhchisaray suburb. The name was taken from the Hodegetria Icon of the Holy Theotokos and Virgin Mary. Consequently, in 1780 CE, Russian authorities forcefully relocated many Orthodox Greeks from Crimea to the Mariupol region.

After the railway line construction from Yuzovka to Mariupol in 1882 CE, traders exported much of the coal and wheat grown in the Yekaterinoslav Governorate from the Donets Basin via the Mariupolport, which served as a critical funding source for opening a public library, hospital, urban water supply system and electric power station.

During the Second World War, the city was conquered by Nazi Germany from October 8, 1941 CE to September 10, 1943 CE. During this time, enormous damage was done to the town, and many people were slaughtered. The Jewish population was wiped out by two operations aimed explicitly at murdering them.

The war in Donbass

Following a 2014 CE revolution, anti-Revolution and pro-Russian protests exploded across eastern Ukraine. This tension later emerged into a war between the Ukrainian government and the Donetsk People’s Republic or DPR forces. In May of 2014, a battle between the two sides broke out in Mariupol after it temporarily came under DPR control. Government forces ultimately recaptured the town, and on June 13, Mariupol was declared the temporary capital of Donetsk Oblast until they could recapture the town of Donetsk.

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