NIKOLAYEV, a town, seaport and chief naval station of Russia on the Black Sea, in the government of Kherson, 40 m.
N.W. of the city of Kherson. Pop. (1881) 35,000; (1891) 77, 21 0; (1897) 92,060. Nikolayev stands a little above the confluence of the Ingul with the Bug, at the head of the liman, or estuary, of the Bug, and is the natural outlet for the basin of that river. The estuary, which is 25 m. long, enters that of the Dnieper. The entrance to the double estuary is protected by the fortress of Ochakov and by the fort of Kinburn, erected on a narrow headland opposite, while several forts surround Nikolayev on both sides of the Bug and protect it from an attack by land. Over the bar at Ochakov the water has been deepened to 25 ft., and over the bar of the Dnieper to 20 ft. by dredging. The town, which occupies two flat peninsulas between the Bug and the Ingul, extends up the banks of the latter, while its suburbs reach still farther out into the steppe. The streets are wide, and intersect one another at right angles. The bank of the Ingul is taken up with shipbuilding yards, docks, slips and various workshops of the admiralty for the construction of armour-plates, guns, boilers, &c. On the river there is a floating dock for armoured ships. Before the Crimean War the activity of the dockyards was very great; the suburbs - which belong to the admiralty - were bound to supply the necessary hands to the number of 3000 every day, and all the inhabitants had to perform compulsory service. Since 1870 the construction of armoured ships and torpedo-boats has been carried on here. From 1893 Nikolayev was the chief port for the Russian volunteer fleet, which sailed to and fro between this port and Vladivostok until the RussoJapanese War of 1904 - 05. Nikolayev has steam flour-mills, iron and machinery works, saw-mills, soap, tobacco, vinegar, carriage and agricultural machinery works. The foreign exports consist almost entirely of cereals, especially wheat and rye, with a little sugar, iron and manganese ore and oilcake. The total value reaches 7,000,000 to £9,000,000 annually. Navigation is maintained during the whole winter by the aid of a powerful ice-breaker. Nikolayev is the chief market for the governments of Kherson, Poltava, Kharkov, Ekaterinoslav and parts of Kiev, Kursk and Podolia. In addition to the naval harbour, there are the harbour of the Russian Steamship Company and the coasting harbour, made in 1893; while large storehouses stand close to the commercial port, 2 m. from the town, at Popovaya-Balka on the Bug. The educational institutions include an artillery school, a school of navigation, two technical schools, an astronomical and meteorological observatory, museums and libraries, and a hydrographical institute. Amongst the public buildings, the cathedral, which contains some good Italian pictures, the theatre, the artillery arsenal, the admiralty and other state buildings are worthy of mention.
The remains of the Greek colony Olbia have been discovered close to the confluence of the Ingul with the Big, Io m. S. of Nikolayev. In medieval times the country was under the Lithuanians, and subsequently under the Zaporogian Cossacks. Russian colonists settled in the locality about the end of the 18th century, and after the fall of Ochakov, Prince Potemkin established (1789) a wharf on the Ingul which received the name of Nikolayev. (P. A. K.; J. T. BE.)
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