Kherson was founded in 1778 by Potemkin as a naval station, fortress, and shipbuilding center. Its name derives from its location on the probable site of the Greek colony Chersonesus Heracleotica.
In the IV - III centuries BC Scythians and later - Sarmathians settled on the territory of modern Kherson. At the times of Kyiv Rus (IX - XII centuries) the path from Varangians to Greeks laid through the territory of modern Kherson, the Slavs used it for trading purposes. Slavic settlement was on the Big Island of Potemkin.
During the Russian-Turkish war of 1735-1739, the first Russian fortress "Alexander-Shants" was built here in 1737. After the next Russian-Turkish War (1768-1774) the Kyuchuk-Kaynardzhiysky contract was signed. It granted Russia access to the Black Sea by giving it the land between the Dnieper and Southern Bug. Russia’s aim was to strengthen the country's southern border and one of the steps was foundation of the city Kherson by decree of Catherine II from June 18, 1778.The city was created to protect the southern borders of the Russian Empire. To strengthen them, it was decided to build a town at the mouth of the Dnieper to become the shipyard, commercial harbor and the fortress as well as the basis for creation of the Black Sea Fleet. Kherson was named after the ancient Greek and later Byzantine colony Chersonesos.
The emergence of a new city on the map is directly connected with the name of G.A Potemkin; he decided that Alexander-Shants - a small Russian fortification, located 30 km from the mouth of the Dnieper River is the best place to found a city. According to the legend, the territory of modern Kherson was the place where Potemkin found ancient gates with Greek inscription "This path leads to Byzantium." Kherson had become the main reference point for the expansion of Russia against the Ottoman Empire. I.A Hannibal, uncle of A.S Pushkin on mother’s side, was the main builder of Kherson. Under his leadership the first ship of the Black Sea Fleet 66-gun "Glory of Catherine" was built at the Kherson shipyard. Kherson was planned to become the major trading city of southern Russia. In the 1792-1794 A.V Suvorov, famous military leader, lived and worked here. One of Kherson streets was named in his honor.
After foundation of Nikolaev (1789) and Odessa (1794), Kherson lost value as the main commercial port in southern Russia. Since then, the Admiralty moved to Nikolaev, and a part of merchants' offices - to Odessa. In 1803 Kherson became the center of the province, and started to develop as a commercial port. In 1813 the first elementary school was opened, in 1815 - Men's Provincial High School, in 1834 - Merchant Marine Academy, which trained navigators, shipbuilders and skippers. Plants, factories, theaters, museums, libraries, publishing houses appeared in Kherson. In the early twentieth century in Kherson, there were 166 streets and lanes, 10 squares; 10913 residential and commercial buildings. According to 1905 register, 328 plants, factories and workshops operated in the city. In 1919 Kherson was occupied by Austro-German troops, and then French and Greek troops.
Soviet power was established here in January 1920 with the help of 14th Army under the command of I.P Uborevich. Since 19 August 1941 to March 13, 1944 Kherson was occupied by German fascist troops. After the Second World War industry was completely destroyed in Kherson. In the postwar years, Kherson became the industrial, agricultural and cultural center in the southern Ukraine. Equipped with modern technology, Kherson sea port became one of the leaders in the Black Sea and took a worthy place in foreign relations of the USSR.
The city became the administrative and defense center for Russia's newly acquired holdings along the Black Sea. By the late 19th cent. It was an important export center. The dredging of a deepwater canal along an arm of the Dnieper to the sea in 1901 further stimulated Kherson's growth as a port. The city's importance was enhanced still more with the building of the Dniprohes power station in 1932 and the development of navigation on the Dnieper. Kherson's landmarks include the fortress with earthen ramparts and stone gates and the 18th-century cathedral that contains Potemkin's tomb. There are 64 national reserves in Kherson region in general. In the back way from Askania-Nova we cross the main channel of the largest in Europe irrigating system which gives the Dnipro water to one million hectares of fertile Kherson.
The region is rich with good harvests of fields, gardens, vineyards, and watermelon plantations. And this land is very hospitable. The villagers will meet you with old Ukrainian custom - bread-and-salt, acquaint with the farm, tell about their life, and sing the charming Ukrainian song. It is no doubt that the present day will be interesting for you as well. Kherson attracts by the panorama of the marine and river ports, shipyards, which export goods to England, Norway, Holland, Germany and other countries of the world. All paints of picturesque Ukraine play on the textiles of the Kherson cotton factory. In addition, the maize harvester combine of the Kherson production has no analogues on the world market. It is warm in the city in summer but it doesn't matter. The pleasant cool of parks, spacious Dnipro beaches wait for you.
On the South of Ukraine in confluence of Dnipro and Molchnaja rivers is located ''Askania-Nova" park, one of oldest reserve in Ukraine. There is a place only in Europe where virgin feather grass steppe (about 11 thousand hectares) with characteristic soils, vegetation and animal life survive. More than 600 species of plants grow there, thousands of different kinds of insects and other invertebrate and also about 50 species of vertebrate inhabit the reserve. 16 Unique kinds. There are a lot of birds, which feel fine in the droughty climate with long and hot summers and a short winter in "Askania-Nova".
"Askania-Nova" also has on its territory of rare animals that were brought from Europe, Africa, Australia, and America as well. The reserve "Askania-Nova" includes the magnificent arboretum - "the emerald oasis" - with the shady lane and picturesque glades on more than 200 hectares. A lot of nature-lovers visit "Askania-Nova" to see the riches of the unique reserve complex, the real pearl of the south of Ukraine.
Kherson is a city of two ports, a River and Sea port, that's why the Kherson trade port is connected with 42 countries of the world.
Kherson Ukraine stretches along the high right bank of the river Dnipro, this is the area where the Dnipro runs into many branches and forms many islands. Kherson Ukraine is situated on the plain territory called the Steppe. The city's large railway junction connects Kherson Ukraine with Moscow, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Simferopol and other cities of the countries and CIS. Modern Kherson is a large city with an area of about 100 square km; the city is famous in history and rich culture. The Dnipro River and the wide green zone of the city boundaries create magnificent conditions for the people of Kherson and its visitors.
The climate of Kherson is moderate continental. The average temperature is rather high - plus 9-10°C and the rainfall is quite small - only 320-400 mm. It remains to add that the frostless period in the region lasts for about 288 days and the sunny days in the year amount to 260-280. As you can see Kherson is one of the warmest cities in Ukraine.
Kherson has many parks and is one of the «green» cities in Ukraine. The city of Kherson Ukraine has quit a few urban parks. The Park of Lenin Comsomol, Lenin Park is where the Great Oaks that are over a hundred years old grow; there is also the Park of Glory which stretches above the Dniepro.
Places to visit - For souvenirs the best place to go in Kherson is Suvorova Street.
Kherson has a huge number of shopping malls and world standard stores that you would find convenient to use. Most of them accept major credit cards. Kherson has several high standard modern cinemas, so if you know some Russian, we would recommend you visiting. For man who want to see films in English we have small cinema for private visits. Night life in Kherson is very active. There is a number of great night clubs, restaurants and bars for all tastes and ages.
Guides and excursions - Kherson is worth to visit and you will find it out after you come here. It plays an important role in the development of all the Southern part of Ukraine. It was founded earlier than Nikolaev and Odessa and has more than 3 centuries of its history and development. It was founded in 1778 by Ekaterina II order as a fortress on the Tatars way and very important trade point. It is also famous for its mild climate, history and of course "bunches" of beautiful Kherson girls.
There are many museums and lots of memorials to visit in Kherson.
The Museum of Local Lore will put you in the atmosphere of ancient times - the period of tribes and colonization of vast steps. Art Museum is located in one of the oldest buildings of Kherson (lately Municipal Duma) and has the masterpieces of painting, sculpture and carving.
St. Catherine's Cathedral, Kherson
The Cathedral of St. Catherine (Russian: Свято-Екатерининский собор) in the fortress of Kherson was built in 1781-1786 and was one of the earliest churches in New Russia. It is a domed sandstone structure with a Tuscan portico and heavily rusticated walls. The church was dedicated to Catherine of Alexandria, the patron saint of the reigning empress.
The church was built by General Ivan Gannibal in the aftermath of the Russo-Turkish war and Russia's annexation of New Russia. It was intended as a memorial to the war of conquest and is full of symbolism illustrating Russia's claims to the Byzantine heritage. The architect is thought to have been Ivan Starov (who worked extensively for Prince Potemkin); but the actual construction was supervised by the little-known Ivan Sitnikov.
The earliest description of the church is found in the diary of Francisco de Miranda. In 1790 Prince Potemkin asked Starov to remodel the dome in imitation of his own palace in St. Petersburg. The belfry was added in 1800 but was dismantled within several years, after an earthquake. The existing belfry dates from about 1806. After Potemkin's death he was buried in the cathedral, as was Prince Charles Frederick Henry of Württemberg, Maria Feodorovna's brother.
The cathedral's icons were patterned after the Hermitage paintings by the 17th-century Spanish artists such as Murillo. Vladimir Borovikovsky may have had a hand in their creation. The walls contain the copies of six life size figures of the apostles and saints executed by Gavrila Zamorayev from Moscow (1758-1823).
Today Kherson is a very interesting city both for tourists and businessmen. Kherson is, first of all, the famous shipbuilding town. The symbol of the city is a monument to sailer’s. Kherson port is one of the ten largest ports in Ukraine. Kherson is not a tourist center, but tourist groups come here regularly. One of the most popular trips to Ukraine - a cruise on the Dnieper - passes through this hospitable city. Tourists have possibility to see such Kherson attractions like the Kherson fortress ruins, Spassky Cathedral and the famous lighthouse of Kherson (Adzhigolsky lighthouse).