Lugansk (Luhansk) is a city in Eastern Ukraine.
In 1790, Scottish engineer Charles Gascoigne explored the coal and mineral resources in the "region of SlavyanoSerbia" (the name itself originates from local Serb settlements). By 1795 it was found that natural resources were plentiful, and Russian Empress Ekaterina the Second ordered the creation of a metal factory on the Lugan' river near existing village of Kamenniy Brod. This started the development of a new major industrial region of Tsarist Russia, and eventually Soviet Ukraine, which steadily thrived consistently up until the decay of Soviet Union in 1991. After the fall of the USSR, the regional coal mining and other industries slowly became unprofitable. Having over 100 industrial plants, Lugansk faced several years, of slowed or stopped production (with a notable exception of alcohol making plant). After this financial crisis, the large metal factory, which became over the time a rather famous Ukrainian military and machine tool plant, named after V.I.Lenin, was finally closed in 2008. However, the single largest locomotive plant named after October Revolution (commonly named "Zavod OR") still struggles through crisis. Overall, Lugansk has now transformed into a rather remote provincial town with decaying signs of previous glory.
The town is divided into 4 districts by natural borders. The main railroad in west-east direction (from Debalcevo and Donbass proper to Stanica Luganskaya) divides the KamennoBrodskii district from the rest of the town, western (to the west of Olhovka river, with Yubileynii satellite) and eastern (east of Ivanischev yar) sleeper districts form Artyomovkii and Zhovtnevii (meaning Oktober) districts. Zhovtnevii district includes a couple of villages on the north-east of town, generally known as Vergunka, all the way to a former recreation area along Severnii Donets river, which was closed for ecological reason; and a satellite Schastya town near the coal heating plant, making it the municipal district with largest area within Ukraine.
The central, Leninskii district, together with parts of Kamennobrodskii district contains most of the main places of interest. Close to the railroad on both sides are several buildings and streets which survived the destruction of Great Patriotic War or were reconstructed, and now form a compact so called "old center," along streets of Dahl, Lenina, Karl Marx and Karl Libknecht. The new center was completely rebuilt or built anew on a rather high hill in the center between Lugan' and Olhovka rivers and Ivanischev yar. Due to amount of communist oligarchy that lived there and amount of not drive-through yards it was dubbed "Dvoryanskoe gnezdo" (a nest of nobles). South of Leninskii district is a remote district of Ostraya Mogila, containing a memorial to heroes of wars of 20th century, several medical facilities and institute and an air navigators academy.
The town is also known to be renamed 4 times, although it has only two names: the name was changed from Lugansk to Voroshilovgrad, than back to Lugansk, than once more forth and back.
Situated on some high hills, Lugansk may not be the best of tourist attraction, but it does provide a specific nice atmosphere if only a bit ruined by recent degradation, and a large number of scenic city landscape views from different points almost in any part of town.
Lugansk is now served by a single daily flights from Moscow by Utair, from Kiev by DneprAvia, and 2 weekly flights from Egypt - Hurgada on Saturdays and Taba on Fridays. The timetable is subject to change up to completely stopping the service, so check in advance. Lugansk airport is situated 8 km south of Ostraya Mogila, and 16 km south of city center and is connected with center of the town by infrequent 234 bus. If you missed the airport bus, however, you can walk 400m and catch marshrutka from village Peremognoe (6 times a day).
Lugansk railroad station was electrified only recently, though only in the western direction. The notorious 4 hrs diesel train to Donetsk was finally replaced by elektrichka. Even though Lugansk remained somewhat remote in transport access, especially comparing to neighboring regional centres in Ukraine and Russia. Train services include trains from Ukrainian towns, namely Kiev (2 a day), Simferopol, Lviv, Odessa (on odd dates), Dnepropetrovsk, Sumy; express from Kharkiv. Services to Russia include daily train to Moscow (runs for about 24 hours, due to rather slow old rails within Lugansk region between Lugansk and Valuiki), train Mariupol-Voronezh-Lipetsk on days (every 2nd or 4th day, depending on season), summer trains to Ekaterinburg. There's a direct car to Sankt-Peterburg.
When taking Lugansk trains, especially in cold seasons, keep in mind, that local regulations, due to Lugansk being coal region, require somewhat ridiculously high temperature inside cars. Prepare to sweet rather profusely, combining also with the fact, that many trains reach Lugansk not in the morning, but rather around midday, so that sunlight will add to the temperature.
If you are looking for connection from Russia and are adventurous, you can try to reach Lugansk via stations of Millerovo or Kamenka on Moskva - Rostov-na-Donu. Consult bus timetable from these stations however: Millerovo has only 3-4 buses a day, and the evening one runs on days, from Kamensk-Shahtinskii you'll likely make 2 changes to marshrutkas: in Donetsk(RF) and Krasnodon. Crossing the border from Chertkovo to Melovoe might look attractable transport-vise, as Melovoe is connected to Lugansk several times a day, but major drawback is that the crossing point is 4 km north of the station, and you have to walk there all the way and than back, and there's no transport there.
Lugansk is situated on the transit E-40 highway from Kharkiv and Debalcevo to Krasnodon and further Volgograd. That said, the quality vary greatly from decent to quite poor, so be adviced. Other accesses to Lugansk include A122(RU)+R22(UA) connection road from russian highway M4 from Millerovo (expect several kilometers of rather extreme quality of the road on russian side), north-south local road H-21 Starobelsk - Lugansk - Lutugino - Torez - Donetsk
Lugansk is a huge regional bus hub, even if most of the destinations are within Lugansk region. Besides them there are several connections with Rostov-na-Donu, including nightly bus, and other towns in Rostov region, daily bus from Voronezh (11 hours), and towns in Ukraine.
By tram and trolleybus
Once extensive tram and trolleybus network were declined, even although a tram bridge near railway station was reopened after reconstruction and a new 2 km trolleybus line to Mirnii kvartal was finally opened after several years of construction. Trams and trolleybuses become old and slow and either not replaced, or replaced by used mashines from other towns. Amount of lines also diminished from it's peak: 10 tram lines against 15 and 5 trolleybus lines against 8. Both trams and trolleybuses now close their movement between 17:30 and 19:00 except trolleybuses 51 and 52 and from April 2011 also except trams 6 and 13 which are run to 21:00.
Peculiarities of tram and trolleybuses network include: (former express) tram line to Ostraya Mogila (tram 6), de facto suburb trolleybus line to Yubileiniy settlement (trolleybus 57, although formally it runs over territory of Lugansk and Yubileyniy, major part of line has out of the town feel), arguably failed attempt to build an express line to Vergunka - abandoned forever after recreation zone was closed, exist for some time in form of a side line to 7th entrance of Zavod OR, reached by tram 3a, now closed, quite a lot of tram lines in the private one-storied sector, including tram-only streets.
By bus and marshrutkas
The network is quite extensive and is a primary means of transport in the town. One may keep in mind, that the network is organized based on 3 main arteries, the first two of which also have roads in a bit better state than rest of the town. They are:
The new and old centers are in principle walkable. A leisure walk through the whole new and old center, visiting museums, is possible to complete within a day if only a bit winded. It's may be advisable to start from the most southern place of interest in center: open museum of stone women statues on the ground of pedagogical institute near "Ukraine" cinema, and than go all the way downtown in order to save energy.
By diesel and elektrichka
Some parts of town (mostly remote) are served by suburb diesel trains and elektrichkas in the western direction several times a day. East-bound diesels reach former Lenin plant, Zavod OR plant and adjacent KamBrod area, and then Vergunka. West-bound elektrichka is an alternative root to satellite village of Alexandrovka. South-bound diesel to Lutugino run along the border of Leninskii and Artyomovskii district.
Alexander Cherednichenko phone: +380502242890 http://www.luganskukraine.info LuganskUkraine.info]