Lugansk (also spelled Luhansk) city, former (1935-1958, 1970-1989) Voroshilovgrad, is an administrative center of Lugansk region, most eastern region of Ukraine. Lugansk city lies along Lugan River at the latter’s confluence with Olkhovaya River. The distance to Kiev is 811 km.
In 1795 Catherine II signed a decree on founding the cast iron mill - the first in the south of Russian Empire. It was constructed in the river Lugan valley and due to it the town was founded.
In 1797 the settlement which grew round the plant was called Lugansky plant. Specialists and workers were recruited from inner Russian gubernias and partly from abroad. In 1800 the first blast-furnace at Lugansky canon foundry produced cast iron. It was the first blast-furnace in Ukraine. In 1812, during the war with Napoleon the plant became one of the main suppliers of canons and ammunition for Russian army.
In early 19th century its favorable location on the ways among central regions of Russia and port towns Rostov and Taganrog promoted development of trade. Trade and handicraft institutions grew around the town.
In mid 70s of 19th century Lugansk was involved into transportation construction. The railway was opened. In 1882 the emperor signed a decree on founding the town of Lugansk on the base the settlement Lugansky.
In 1896 German businessman Gustav Hartman began constructing a large steam engine-making plant. The equipment was brought from Germany. In 1900 a steam engine left Lugansk - the first one built there.
In early 20th century Lugansk was a large industrial center of Russia. There were 16 plants and factories there and about 40 handicraft firms. In Lugansk there were 6 Orthodox churches, a synagogue, a Polish Rome-Catholic church and a Lutheran church. The first church was built in 1761 in Kamennye Brody - a wooden Petropavlovskaya church. In 1792-1795 it was replaced by a church of stone. This is the only church preserved till nowadays.
In December 1919 Soviet power was established in the city. In 1926 the population of Lugansk was 77,000. In 1931 a heavy cargo steam engine of “Felix Dzherdzhinsky” series was produced in Lugansk - the first in the USSR. In 1935 the city was renamed into Voroshilovgrad.
In 1956 the population of Lugansk was over 250,000. In 1958 the historical name Lugansk was returned to the city. In 1970 it was again renamed into Voroshilovgrad after death of K.Ye. Voroshilov (1969).
In 1972 the football team “Zarya” (Voroshilovgrad) became the USSR champion for the first and the last time. It was the first USSR champion from the city which was not the capital of the republic.
In 1990 the original name of the city was returned to Lugansk.