35 °F / 2 °C
Izmail is a Danube River cruise port and city in southwestern Ukraine (Odessa Oblast) with population around 70,000. City's current -day economy is based on cargo shipping (the port is Ukraine's largest in the Danube Delta), food processing and tourism (mostly domestic).
Port Izmail also houses an Ukrainian Navy base and homeports Ukrainian Sea Guard (coastguard) vessels. As cargo port, it handles mainly bulk carriers and river barges. As cruise port, Izmail is mainly visited by the Ukraine-flagged riverboats Moldavia, Ukraina, Volga and Dnipro, which are owned by PJSC UDP (Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company) and chartered (via PJSC's travel agency Transkruiz) to the German cruisetour company Nicko Tours (subsidiary of Mystic Cruises).
The town was founded in the 12th century as a fortress protecting a Genoa-owned merchant colony. Between late-14th-century and late-15th-century, the town was part of Moldavia (Romania) when in 1484 was conquered by the Ottoman Empire (1299-1922). The Izmail fortress was captured by the Russian Army thrice - in 1770, in 1790 (during the Russia-Turkey War 1787-92) and in 1809. It became officially part of Russia in 1812 (by the Treaty of Bucharest between the Ottoman and Russian empires) along with the rest of Bessarabia.
After the Crimean War (1853-56), Izmail was returned to Moldavia (Romania) by regained again after the Russia-Turkey War 1877-78. After the end of WW1 (1914-18) the town together with the whole Bessarabia was ceded to Romania. During WW2 (1939-45), 1940 Izmail was occupied by the Soviet Army and given to Ukraine. In 1941-44, Bessarabia was occupied by the Romanian Army which participated in Nazi Germany's Operation Barbarossa (invasion into the USSR-Soviet Union). After the war's end, the town became part of the Ukrainean SSR. Since the collapse of the USSR (1922-1991) Izmail is part of Ukraine.
Among the city's best-known tourist attractions are Intercession Cathedral (1836), Nativity Church (1823), St Nicholas Church (1833), a Turkish mosque (16th-century, town's oldest building, currently a museum)