Izmail (Ukrainian: Ізмаїл, pronounced [izmɐˈjil] ; Russian: Измаил; Romanian: Ismail, Smil or Smeilu; Bulgarian: Исмаил), is a city and municipality on the Danube river in Odesa Oblast in south-western Ukraine. It serves as the administrative center of Izmail Raion, one of seven districts of Odesa Oblast, and is the only locality which constitutes Izmail urban hromada, one of the hromadas of Ukraine.[3]

Russian Orthodox Intercession Cathedral
School No. 2
Lesser Mosque
Russian Orthodox Dormition Church
Military hospital
Railway station
From top, left to right: Intercession Cathedral, School No. 2, Lesser Mosque, Dormition Church, military hospital, railway station
Flag of Izmail
Coat of arms of Izmail
Faith, Freedom, Victory
Izmail is located in Odesa Oblast
Izmail is located in Ukraine
Coordinates: 45°21′6″N 28°50′11″E / 45.35167°N 28.83639°E / 45.35167; 28.83639
Country Ukraine
OblastOdesa Oblast
RaionIzmail Raion
HromadaIzmail urban hromada
City status1830
 • Total54 km2 (21 sq mi)
28 m (92 ft)
 • Total69,932
 • Density1,300/km2 (3,400/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal code
Area code+380 4841

In Russian historiography, Izmail is associated with the 18th century storming of the Ottoman fortress of Izmail by Russian general Alexander Suvorov. It was the capital of Izmail Oblast, but it is no longer, as Izmail Oblast joined Odesa Oblast in 1954.

It is the largest Ukrainian port in the Danube Delta, on its Chilia branch. It is also the largest city of the Ukrainian Budjak area. As such, Izmail is a center of the food processing industry and a popular regional tourist destination. It is also a base of the Ukrainian Navy and the Ukrainian Sea Guard units operating on the river. The World Wildlife Fund's Isles of Izmail Regional Landscape Park is located nearby. Population: 69,932 (2022 estimate).[2]



The fortress of Izmail, then known as Licovrissi, was built by Genoese merchants in the 12th century. It belonged for a short period of time to Wallachia (14th century) – as the territory north of the Danube was one of the possessions of the Basarabs (later the land being named after them, Bessarabia). The town was first mentioned with the name Ismailiye, derived from the name of the Ottoman grand vizier Ayaşlı Ismail Pasha. The city was founded by a decree of Sultan Murad III, with a deed where he made the land around the crossing point, property of Habeshi Mehmed Agha which was the head of his harem.[4] The city that Mehmed Agha founded was called after him Mehmedabad and in its significance it was even compared to Baghdad - although the scale, of course, is not the same.

From the end of the 14th century, Izmail was under the rule of Moldavia. In 1484, the Ottoman state conquered the territory, which became from that moment an Ottoman protectorate (under direct rule from 1538). Since the early 16th century it was the main Ottoman fortress in the Budjak region. In 1569 Sultan Selim II settled Izmail with his Nogai subjects, originally from the North Caucasus.

The 1790 siege of Izmail;
by Samuil Schiflar [ru].

After Russian general Nicholas Repnin took the fortress of Izmail in 1770, it was heavily refortified by the Turks, so as never to be captured again. The Sultan boasted that the fortress was impregnable, but during the Russo-Turkish War of 1787–1792 the Russian Army commander Alexander Suvorov successfully stormed it on 22 December 1790. Ottoman forces inside the fortress had the orders to stand their ground to the end, haughtily declining the Russian ultimatum. The defeat was seen as a catastrophe in the Ottoman Empire, while in Russia it was glorified in the country's first national anthem, Let the thunder of victory sound!.

Suvorov "announced the capture of Ismail in 1791 to the Tsarina Catherine in a doggerel couplet, after the assault had been pressed from house to house, room to room, and nearly every Muslim man, woman and child in the city had been killed in three days of uncontrolled massacre, 40,000 Turks dead, a few hundred taken into captivity. For all his bluffness, Suvorov later told an English traveler that when the massacre was over he went back to his tent and wept."[5]

At the end of the war, Izmail was returned to the Ottoman Empire, but Russian forces took it for the third time on 14 September 1809. After it was ceded to Russia with the rest of Bessarabia by the 1812 Treaty of Bucharest, the town was rebuilt thoroughly. The Intercession Cathedral (1822–36), the churches of Nativity (1823), St. Nicholas (1833) and several others date back to that time. Izmail's oldest building is the small Turkish mosque, erected either in the 15th or 16th centuries, converted into a church in 1810[6] and currently housing a museum dedicated to the 1790 storm of Izmail.

The entrance to the territory of the Izmail Fortress
Suvorov Museum, Izmail
Small Mosque in Izmail
Port of Izmail
Danube River
Izmail city garden

After Russia lost the Crimean War, the town returned to the Principality of Moldavia, which would soon become part of the Romanian Principalities. Russia gained control of Izmail again after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878. With the breakup of the Russian Empire in 1917 and in the aftermath of World War I, the city was occupied by the Romanian Army on 22 January 1918, after a skirmish with troops of the Danube flotilla. Later that year, the Sfatul Țării of Chișinău, which claimed to be the representative of the whole of Bessarabia, voted to formally unite the region with Romania. This union was recognized by the United Kingdom, France and Italy in the Treaty of Paris, but not by the Soviet Union which had territorial claims over Bessarabia.

In 1940, and again during World War II, it was occupied by the Soviet Red Army and included (August 1940, as a result of Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact ) in the Ukrainian SSR; the region was occupied in 1941 by the Romanian Army participating in Operation Barbarossa. During the Soviet period following World War II, many Russians and Ukrainians migrated to the town, gradually changing its ethnic composition.[citation needed] Izmail Oblast was formed in 1940 and the town remained its administrative center until the oblast was merged to Odesa Oblast in 1954. Since 24 August 1991, Izmail has been part of independent Ukraine.

Until 18 July 2020, Izmail was incorporated as a city of oblast significance and served as the administrative center of Izmail Raion though it did not belong to the raion. In July 2020, as part of the administrative reform of Ukraine, which reduced the number of raions of Odesa Oblast to seven, the city of Izmail was merged into Izmail Raion.[7][8]

The monument to Alexander Suvorov in Izmail's city centre was placed in temporary storage on 12 November 2022, until city deputies decide where it will be kept permanently.[9]


Danube Delta



The city is located in the Danube Delta on the right-bank of its Chilia branch. On the opposite side of the river belongs to Romania. The city is surrounded by several lakes among which are Yalpuh, Kuhurluy, Kotlabuh and many smaller ones.

The city is located in area known as the Budjak steppe which is a southern portion of Bessarabia. The opposite bank of Danube elevates as the Tulcea Hills.



Under the Köppen climate classification, Izmail falls within either a hot-summer humid continental climate (Dfa) if the 0 °C (32 °F) isotherm is used or a humid subtropical climate (Cfa) if the −3 °C (27 °F) isotherm is used. Izmail experiences four distinct seasons and generous precipitation year-round, typical for the inland South. Summers are hot and humid, with temperatures somewhat moderated by the city's elevation[dubiousdiscuss]. Winters are cool but variable, with an average of 48 freezing days per year.

Climate data for Izmail (1991–2020, extremes 1886–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 18.4
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 3.1
Daily mean °C (°F) −0.5
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) −3.7
Record low °C (°F) −25.4
Average precipitation mm (inches) 28.6
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 5.2 5.3 5.4 6.1 5.7 6.6 5.0 4.5 4.5 4.9 5.2 6.0 64.4
Average relative humidity (%) 81.1 73.5 70.8 67.2 61.7 60.9 58.9 60.7 70.5 74.1 81.7 79.1 70.0
Mean monthly sunshine hours 83.2 107.2 151.6 199.5 283.4 298.6 324.5 299.3 230.4 174.2 94.8 77.4 2,324.1
Source 1: Pogoda.ru[10]
Source 2: World Meteorological Organization (precipitation, humidity, and sun 1981–2010)[11]



Before 1920, the population of Izmail was estimated at 37,000. During that time, approximately 11,000 of the population were Jewish, 8,000 Romanians and 6,000 Germans. Additional members of the population were Russians, Bulgarians, Turks and Cossacks.[12]

The city of Izmail, which was also the same as the Izmail urban hromada, had 85,098 inhabitants in 2001, including 32,500 who identified themselves as ethnic Ukrainians (38.2%), 37,166 as ethnic Russians (43.67%), 8,609 as Bulgarians (10.1%), 3,670 as Moldovans (4.31%), 788 as Gagauz (0.01%) and 31 as Romanians (0.04%).[15] The raion of Izmail, in its boundaries at that time, and excluding the city of Izmail, had 54,692 inhabitants in 2001, including 15,798 who identified themselves as ethnic Ukrainians (28.89%), 15,083 as Moldovans (27.58%), 14,072 as Bulgarians (25.73%), 8,870 as Russians (16.22%), 230 as Gagauz (0.42%) and 34 as Romanians (0.06%).[16] The population also consists of many other nationalities: Greeks, Jews, Armenians, etc. - 75 nationalities in total. The city of Izmail had 85,098 inhabitants in 2001, including 15,353 Ukrainian-speakers (18.04%), 1,538 Romanian-speakers (1.81%), 3,898 Bulgarian-speakers (4.58%), 63,180 Russian-speakers (74.24%), and 327 Gagauz-speakers (0.38%).[17]

Notable people



  1. ^ Українські та нідерландські вчені вивчатимуть ранню історію Ізмаїла на півдні Одещини
  2. ^ a b Чисельність наявного населення України на 1 січня 2022 [Number of Present Population of Ukraine, as of January 1, 2022] (PDF) (in Ukrainian and English). Kyiv: State Statistics Service of Ukraine. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 July 2022.
  3. ^ "Измаильская городская громада" (in Russian). Портал об'єднаних громад України.
  4. ^ NEW BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: OTTOMAN CITY OF IZMAIL (Ismail) ON THE DANUBE. networks.h-net.org. 16 January 2020
  5. ^ J. Goodwin, Lords of the Horizons, p. 244, 1998, Henry Holt and Company, ISBN 0-8050-6342-0
  6. ^ Весніна, Олена (15 June 2018). ""Измаил для нас всегда был и будет священным местом": Генконсул Греции в Одессе посетила столицу Придунавья". Бессарабия ИНФОРМ (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 7 December 2023.
  7. ^ "Про утворення та ліквідацію районів. Постанова Верховної Ради України № 807-ІХ". Голос України (in Ukrainian). 18 July 2020. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  8. ^ "Нові райони: карти + склад" (in Ukrainian). Міністерство розвитку громад та територій України.
  9. ^ "The monument to Suvorov from the center of Ishmael will be removed". Ukrayinska Pravda (in Ukrainian). 12 November 2022. Retrieved 12 November 2022.
  10. ^ Погода и Климат – Климат Измаил [Weather and Climate – The Climate of Izmail] (in Russian). Weather and Climate (Погода и климат). Retrieved 29 October 2021.
  11. ^ "World Meteorological Organization Climate Normals for 1981–2010". World Meteorological Organization. Archived from the original on 17 July 2021. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
  12. ^ Kaba, John (1919). Politico-economic Review of Basarabia. United States: American Relief Administration. p. 16.
  13. ^ "О городе. История Измаила. Краткая информация о Измаиле. - Интернет Портал города Измаил". izmail-city.org (in Russian). Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  14. ^ Государственный комитет статистики Украины. Сборник: Численность наличного населения Украины на 1 января 2011. Киев 2011. Ответственная за выпуск Тимошенко Г. В. (doc) Archived 2012-10-10 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ http://pop-stat.mashke.org/ukraine-ethnic2001.htm
  16. ^ http://pop-stat.mashke.org/ukraine-ethnic2001.htm
  17. ^ https://socialdata.org.ua/projects/mova-2001/