Mykolaiv is a city in southern Ukraine, the administrative center of the Mykolaiv Oblast. Mykolaiv is arguably the main shipbuilding center of the Black Sea. Aside from three shipyards within the city, there are a number of research centers specializing in shipbuilding such as the State Research and Design Shipbuilding Center, Zoria-Mashproekt and others. The city has a population of 494,763 (2015 est.).
The city is an important transportation hub of Ukraine (sea port, commercial port, river port, highway and railway junction, airport).
Mykolaiv's orderly layout reflects the fact that its development has been well planned from the founding of the city. Its main streets, including the three main east–west Avenues, are very wide and tree-lined. A significant part of Mykolaiv's land area consists of beautiful parks. Park Peremohy (Victory) is a large park on the peninsula just north of the city center of Mykolaiv, on the north side of the Inhul river.
The history of the city has always been closely connected to shipbuilding. The town was founded in 1789 by the Russian Governor General of Novorossiya, Prince Grigory Potemkin, initially as a shipyard called simply a New Shipyard on the Ingul river. Prince Potemkin signed an order to construct a shipyard on 27 August 1789, which is considered to be the city's birth date. The shipyard was to undertake the repair of naval ships in the Russo-Turkish War. Later Potemkin ordered the shipyard to be named Nikolaev to commemorate the date when Ochakov fell to the Russian troops under his command on 6 December 1788, the feast day of Saint Nicholas (Nikolai) on the Russian Orthodox Church calendar.
The Russian Empire's Black Sea Navy Headquarters was in Mykolaiv for more than 100 years until the Imperial Russian Navy moved it to Sevastopol, near the Southern tip of Crimean Peninsula. During the Crimean War Mykolaiv became the main rear base to support Russia's efforts in the war. Most businesses that were created in the city belonged to the military industrial complex, and, in this regard, Mykolaiv, was closed to foreign visitors for many decades.
In March 1816, Admiral Aleksey Greig was appointed to the post of Governor of the city. While in that post until 1833, he did much for Mykolaiv. Port facilities were built. A credit society (cooperative) was established, and Mykolaiv increased its seaborne trade. Morskoii (Marine) Boulevard was built in the city, along with sidewalks. In addition, open men's and women's colleges were, built, as was a shelter. In 1820, Admiral Greig founded the Marine Astronomical Observatory in Mykolaiv. In 1826, he, for the first time in the history of the Russian Navy, set up the Russian Naval headquarters in Mykolaiv. The headquarters included fleet combat training during peacetime and the development of plans for military operations during wartime.
From 1860 to 1871, the military Governor of Mykolaiv was Bogdan von Glazenap. His highest command in the town was in 1862. He encouraged foreign vessels to call at the commercial port and encouraged foreigners to come to Mykolaiv to live. Therefore, foreign governments established foreign consulates in Mykolaiv. This led to the transformation of Mykolaiv into a large commercial port.
By the late 19th century, Mykolaiv's port ranked third in the Russian Empire, after Saint Petersburg and Odessa, in terms of trade with foreign countries. In addition, grain export suppliers of the steppe region (of Ukraine and Southern Russia) were first in the Russian Empire. Mykolaiv had become a great industrial center in the South of Ukraine.
There are three performing arts theaters in Mykolaiv: the Academic Ukrainian Theater of Drama and Musical Comedy, the Mykolaiv State Puppet Theater, and the Mykolaiv Academic Art Russian Drama Theater. In addition, the Mykolaiv Oblast Philharmonic performs in the city.
Mykolaiv has the following museums: Mykolayiv Regional Museum of Local History, The Museum of Shipbuilding and Fleet, the Museum of the World War II Partisan Movement, the V. V. Vereshchagin Art Museum.
Four movie theaters operate in Mykolaiv: Yunost' (Youth), Rodina (Motherland), Pioneer, Multiplex. Movies shown include the latest Hollywood films dubbed into Ukrainian and modern Russian films.
Mykolaiv is one of Ukraine's most important transportation junctions. It is a major commercial river and sea port, and a major highway and rail junction. Mykolaiv also has a dual-function passenger and freight airport, but passenger service at the airport is not significant, compared to Ukraine's major airports. In addition to the airport and sea and river port, Mykolaiv has two train stations, and an intercity bus station.