Euro 2012 Host Cities: Donetsk, Ukraine
It should be noted form the get-go that Donetsk hasn’t really been an actual tourist destination, it’s been more well-known internationally for coal mine disasters and the like, however it hosting the 2012 European Football Championship sees it trying to do things a bit differently.
When you first hear of it, the capital of this coal-rich region sounds rather miserable, but you may be surprised to find the overall Soviet vibe of the place quite intriguing, partly due to the rather sci-fi terakony, or slag heaps, which dot the landscape. Actually the city got a UNESCO award once for its relative cleanliness.
It’s interesting to behold actually, the people are friendlier and even the drivers are less aggressive than in the capital.
The city itself has seen a serious influx of funds in later years, with the local coal oligarchs investing into the centre which is flooded with neon lights and fancy cars. This is after all the hometown of one of the country’s richest men, Rinat Ahmetov as well as the president, Viktor Yanukovych, there is wealth here. That wealth coupled with the younger generation’s penchant for escapism gives birth to interesting clubbing and restaurant cultures.
For a city located so far in Easter Europe it sure is obsessed with all thing British, and this should come at no surprise considering that it was founded by a Welshman, John Hughes, and even the city’s street grid plan is said to be attributed to the Brits.
While you’re there for the matches, take your time and enjoy the great parks that the city has to offer, there’s also an Aqua Park here, as unexpected as that might seem at first thought. It’s not as architecturally interesting as other cities are, but more of a working city, it has its own particular type of charm.