The Coal Fields of Lysychansk
If you travel to the eastern side of Ukraine you will find a truly beautiful region along the Donets River known as the Luhansk Oblast. It is here, amidst breathtaking panoramas that the landscape slowly changes to include a pretty little city known as Lysychansk. The city’s name can also be spelled ‘Lisicansk’ and it dates back to the 18th century when coal was first discovered in the Donets Basin. Today Lysychansk in Ukraine is a charming little city worthy of exploration should you have the time to do so.
In 1710, a small Cossack village by the name of Lisya Balka was established in more or less the same location as present day Lysychansk. Like most Cossack villages, those living here made a simple living from harvesting crops and breeding livestock. Then, in 1721, massive coal belts were discovered in the Donets Basin. Since Lisya Balka was the closest established settlement, it became the chosen location for hundreds of coal miners to settle so that they could easily access the mines. This led to the growth of the city of Lysychansk which sprang up on and around that original Cossack settlement. Today, coal mining continues to play a prominent role in the local industry but several other industries have also since become firmly established in Lysychansk.
Today, the largest industries in the city of Lysychansk, apart from coal mining, are: the underground gasification of coal, glass making, petroleum refinery and the production of chemicals for soda. The larger metropolitan area surrounding Lysychansk includes the towns of Syeverodonetsk and Rubizhne and together all three make up one of the largest chemical complexes in the country. Sadly, Lysychansk’s population seems to be declining in size, since in 1993 there were approximately 127,000 people living in the city, but by 2001 there were only 115,000 people. This certainly does not override the importance of the region to Ukraine’s economy and likely the trend will stabilize or turn around in the future. In the meantime, the city of Lysychansk is a pretty place with numerous places of interest to visit so take a drive through the city and become acquainted with it at your own pace.