Izmail – Ukrainian Sea Guard and Navy Base
Izmail, or as its referred to ‘Ismail’, a historic town, is now one of the largest Ukrainian ports along the Danube Delta, thus making it an appropriate site for the food processing industry due to the easy access brought about by the port. It is located within the beautiful Odessa Oblast, a province in the south-west of Ukraine. Izmail's main purpose is to serve as an administrative center for the district of Izmailsky. Interestingly, the city is regarded as a separate district or raion within the Odessa Oblast itself.
The town of Izmail was originally named ‘Smil’, taken from the Ottoman Empire Grand Vizier. Izmail has a rather vast history, which has contributed to much of what is seen in the town today. We begin with one of the most remarkable examples of 12th century architecture, that being the ‘fortress of Izmail’, built by the Genoese merchants. It changed ownership for a short while during the 14th century when it was taken over by the Wallachia. Izmail then came under the rulership of the Moldavians shortly after the Wallachia in the middle of the 14th century.
The Ottoman state then conquered the province in 1484 and the town would continue to change hands. Then between 1918 and 1940, Izmail became part of the Kingdom of Romania, thus joining with the rest of the Bessarabia area. During 1940 the Izmail Oblast was formed and remained the administrative centre until 1954 when it merged with the Odessa Oblast. Nevertheless, since August 24 of 1991 the town of Izmail has become part of the Independent Ukraine. Presently the city boasts a population of over 85,000 people, dominated by ethnic Russians who make up 43.7% of the population, followed by Ukrainians at 38%, Bessarabian Bulgarians at 10% and lastly Moldovans making up 4.3%.
Izmail has over time become a sought after tourist destination with the World Wildlife Fund’s “Isle of Izmail Regional Landscape Park” located close by. The town is also the home base for the Ukrainian Navy and Ukrainian Sea Guard which operate their units from Danube. Some interesting names native to the area are Alexandru Averescu, who became Prime Minister, Galina Chistyakova, the 1998 Summer Olympic bronze medalist for long jump, Ruslan Maynov, a Bulgarian actor and musician, and Ivan Shishman, a Bulgarian artist, to mention just a few.