Mykolaiv is the largest shipbuilding port in all of Ukraine, and perhaps even all of Eastern Europe. Founded in 1789, the city is young by European standards. Wide tree-lined boulevards and spacious parks characterize this well-planned metropolis. Mykolaiv is known by a couple of names. The Russian name for the city is Nikolaev. It is also sometimes called Mykolaiv on Buh; the name is also sometimes spelled Mykolaiva.
Vereshchagin Art Museum
The museum was founded in 1914 to house a collection of work from Russia’s most famous battle painter, Vasily Vereshchagin. The collection grew over the years through donations from The Academy of the Arts and through rehousing paintings after the October Revolution. However, the museum was looted during the Nazi invasion, and the collection had to be started anew. The museum’s directors put forth effort to include the works of a wide range of regional artists. In 1986, the museum had to be moved to a larger building. The collection now houses three stories worth of paintings, sculpture and decorative art.
The Museum of Shipbuilding and Fleet
Mykolaiv was established as a ship-building city. Its first sailing warship, a 46 gun frigate, was completed in 1790. The city remains an important shipbuilding center and river port. The Museum of Shipbuilding and Fleet depicts the city’s history through 3000 exhibits housed in the 14 room building. Exhibits trace the history from the first boats built there to modern innovations. The museum also houses a large collection of weapons from the 18th and 19th century.
The Nikolaev Zoo was established as the mayor’s private collection in 1924. It eventually became the property of the city, and has run continuously through such strife as the October revolution and the Nazi invasion. Today, you can see a small museum that depicts the Nikolaev Zoo’s history, as well as monkeys, many sea creatures, birds, reptiles, lions, tigers and more. In fact, the zoo has two brand new residents: twin cougar cubs born in the zoo late last year.
Dikiy Sad Ancient Settlement
This ancient settlement marks the center of the old city of Nikolaev. Archeologists have found bronze tools that are over 3,000 years old. Other finds include pottery shards, animal bones, and the remains of the foundations of buildings. These are all that remain of a port that was in use at the time of the Trojan war.
Herons stalk through the dunes. Swans serenely swim by. Rabbits nibble on grass right next to your blanket without a care. Enjoy pristine waters of the fresh and salt lakes, and walk around the Cossack and Turkish ruins. The Kinburn Spit is the perfect place for a relaxing day trip with your favorite Mykolaiv girl.
Aquarius Water Park
Water slides, saunas, whirlpools, high diving boards and an Olympic sized pool are just some of the attractions at this indoor water park. Enjoy European cuisine at the café or take in the fresh air and scenery from the outdoor terrace.
Nicholas Academic Ukrainian Drama and Musical Comedy
Over its run, the theater has put on productions of plays by local Ukraine artists and ones from all over the world. Musical productions have included Mister X, My Fair Lady and others. The theater was awarded academic theater status in 2001 in honor of its work preserving Ukrainian art and heritage. If you have a chance to get tickets to a show there, snap them up! The theater is popular and many productions sell out in advance.
Namyv Beach has a free and a pay beach that you can enjoy during the day and cafes and bars to liven things up after dark. The clean white sands and exciting nightlife make this Mykolaiv’s most popular summer destination.
DaVinci Deluxe Café
This is one of Mykolaiv’s most posh cafes. Visitors rave about the chef’s tasting menu and amazing desserts. The luxe décor is a huge draw, as well. They also have DJs and live music for dancing at night. There are discounts from 2 pm to 6 pm if you want to grab a bite to eat but wish to save your cash.
Kerosin Night Club
Looking for some exciting night life? Head out to Kerosin to take in their electric atmosphere, great music and fantastic drink prices. Each night has a different theme: Free Beer nights, dance parties and more. If you are feeling a little peckish, the chef will whip up one of his famous fish or meat dishes for you. Dancing not your thing? The club also houses a small movie theater.
If the weather is nice, head out for a walk with your sweetie in Kashtanoviy Skver, which translates as "Chestnut Park". The courtyard around the fountain offers a great place to sit and people watch.
Along the sidewalks that wind through the park, people set up stands to peddle original art and small souvenirs. After your walk in the park, head over to one of the many nearby cafes to have a bite to eat.