Kherson is a city in southern Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Kherson Oblast (province), and is designated as its own separate raion (district) within the oblast. Kherson is an important port on the Black Sea and Dnieper River, and the home of a major ship-building industry. The current estimated population is 329,000 (as of 2007).
Until 1774, the region belonged to the Crimean Khanate. Kherson was founded in 1778 by Grigori Aleksandrovich Potemkin, on the orders of Catherine the Great. The city was built under the supervision of General Ivan Gannibal on the site of a small fortress called Aleksanderschanz. The name Kherson is a contraction of Chersonesos, an ancient Greek colony founded approximately 2500 years ago in the southwestern part of Crimea. One of the first buildings in the Kherson Fort was the Church of St. Catherine where Potemkin was eventually buried. The last tarpan was caught near Kherson in 1866.