The Capital of Shipbuilding and Indomitability
The region’s major city, Mykolaiv, with a population of 500,000 inhabitants, is the largest city in the south of Ukraine after Odesa. The official age of the city bearing this name is 234 years, although settlements had existed in this place before. In the times of Rus, there were outposts built here that ensured trade, while in the 14th century a city of Vitovka appeared. When in 1789 a shipyard was started to be erected here, it was surrounded by Cossack settlements.
The modern city of Mykolaiv has emerged around the shipbuilding industry. Its utilitarian function is evidenced by the fact that in the first 45 years of existence, the city’s streets had no names. In 1790, the first ship was constructed here — a 44-cannon sailing frigate “Saint Mykolai.”
In Ukraine, Mykolaiv is called “the city of ships,” for a great variety of ships has been built here: tankers, gas-turbine ships, research vessels, and even a floating hotel ordered by a Danish company. Shipbuilding personnel is trained right in Mykolaiv — the city has several technical educational institutions, including the specialized National University of Shipbuilding, which suffered two massive attacks in 2022. Another university that was seriously damaged due to rocket strikes is the Black Sea National University.
The only Museum of Shipbuilding and Fleet is located, of course, in Mykolaiv — in the Admiralty building of 1794. Inside it, one will find ancient maps and documents, different marine equipment, sailor uniform, old weapons, and ship models; in total, the museum’s collection numbers over 15,000 exhibits.
Nonetheless, the museum has been closed for almost a year. From the very beginning of the full-scale war, Mykolaiv has been under Russian attacks. According to the museum’s staff, not a single window of the building remained undamaged. However, the institution plans to resume its work even with plywood instead of windows. Like in the previous centuries, todays Mykolaiv is the city of not only ships but also invincible people.