It is said that it is a place where the sun always shines! Odessa, an incredible Black Sea resort that impresses with sandy beaches and charming monuments, is opening the holiday season.
Odessa is a relatively young over 200 year-old city with a quite turbulent history. Although the traces of the first settlers date back to ancient times, and the city remained under Turkish rule for a long period, the region started to significantly develop only when the land was brought under the Russian rule. In 1794, the empress Catherine the Great ordered to build the city and the harbour, whose rapid development attracted merchants from all over the world. The 19th century is the heyday of Odessa,
as it became a cosmopolitan city that writers and artists were eager to visit. The outbreak of the October Revolution caused chaos and resulted in a large wave of emigration, especially among merchants and intelligentsia. The city suffered during the first and second World Wars, but has been developing dynamically since 1945 – both as a harbour and as a city. How to conveniently explore the city? OdessaCard, which entitles to many discounts on transport and museum tickets, mat prove quite helpful.
The most famous for:
the Potemkin Stairs.
The most interesting architecture styles:
Viennese Baroque and French Rococo, monuments of the
19th century architecture.
A breakthrough moment in history:
in the 19th century, the city played the role of the main port for export of Russian grain, and was one of the richest and fastest growing cities of tsarist Russia at that time.
Famous historical monuments:
the Odessa National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet, the Transfiguration Cathedral in Odessa, Odessa's Philharmonic Theatre, the City Hall, Belvedere, Odessa Passage hotel, the Vorontsov Palace.
One definitely needs to see:
visit Odessa City Dolphinarium "Nemo".
restaurants and cafes along Odessa’s promenade - Derybasivska street.
A place for a walk:
Shevchenko Park, Coastal Boulevard.
Off the beaten track:
The Odessa Catacombs, which are 3000 km long subterranean network of
poet Anna Akhmatova, writer Isaac Babel, Nobel prize-winner Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov.
Boulevards and walking promenades
The heart of Odessa is undoubtedly Derybasivska Street, which is the most representative avenue in the city. It features many nice cafes, restaurants and clubs. In its vicinity, there are many antique sculptures and a city garden, where concerts and performances cyclically take place, including a show during which the fountain dances to the rhythm of the music. One of the city’s attractions is unquestionably Passage hotel, which was built in the Art. Nouveau style – full of rich ornaments and with a glass roof. Another prestigious street is Primorsky Seaside Boulevard, a promenade with Art.
Nouveau tenements and palaces, which is the symbol of the former wealth and prestige of this city. The street has retained its original design, although in the past, it was possible to admire the sea and the harbour from there – whereas today the view is blocked by tall trees. At the end of the boulevard, there is the Vorontsov Palace, which was partially destroyed during Soviet times, whereas in its vicinity stands Rotunda, a former part of the palace which serves now as a vantage point.
A ticket to theatre
The Odessa National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet is the most well-known and representative building in Odessa. The edifice, constructed at the beginning of the 19th century, was burned down, and then rebuilt in 1887 in the Neo-Baroque style. Particularly decorative is its facade, ornamented with busts of such artists as Alexander Pushkin or Nikolai Gogol. Art and music fans should definitely visit the Philharmonic Theatre that is located in an equally impressive building
inspired by the Venetian Doge’s Palace. Initially, the building was intended as the new stock exchange, however, in 1924, it became home to the Philharmonic Theatre. The interior astonishes with a painted ceiling and Lebanon cedar panels. The Odessa National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet, built at the beginning of the 19th century, burned down. It was then rebuilt in 1887 in the Neo-Baroque style.
A stairway to the sea
They were commemorated in the iconic film “Battleship Potemkin” by the Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein – it is here that the scene of the Tsar’s army shooting the civils takes place. The stairs have 192 steps, are 137 meters long, and connect the city with the harbour. The monumental Potemkin Stairs (they were named at the 50th anniversary of the battleship revolt) are undoubtedly the symbol and the most recognizable place of Odessa. Another important place for the city is located at their top,
i.e., a semi-circular square with a monument depicting a great builder and mayor – the Duke de Richelieu, under whose government Odessa became the most important harbour of the Black Sea. If you are intimidated by the number of stairs, you can try a cable car that goes from French Boulevard to Widrada Beach.
Harbour and beaches
Today, Odessa has the biggest base of maritime fleet and harbour in Ukraine. These can be admired when walking around Shevchenko Park (Odessa), a place with a sea promenade running through it and a beautiful view at the sea and colourful, harbour cranes. One of the characteristic buildings in Odessa is also the modern Marine Station located at the promontory, which is an extension of Potemkin Stairs. It is the largest passenger terminal in Ukraine, which handles several million tourists a year. When walking around the terminal pier, it is possible to admire an exhibition of marine anchors and historic cannons used to defend the city during fights against the French and English fleets.
It also features the characteristic “Sailor’s Wife” monument that was unveiled in 2012 – it depicts a woman with a child, awaiting her husband’s return from a voyage. As expected for a coastal city, Odessa can boast beautiful, sandy city beaches. The most famous of them is the always bustling Arcadia. It is a very prestigious place full of clubs and cafes, among which there can be found modern hotels and shopping malls. Another interesting beach, especially for families with children, is Luzanovka, with its gentle descent to the sea and shallow water.
The flavours of Odessa
When visiting Odessa, you cannot overlook the delicacies of Ukrainian cuisine, which has been influenced by Hungarian, Russian and Turkish food. The iconic dishes are of course dumplings (varenyky) and borsch, however it is also worth trying other specialities. Particularly worthy of notice are cold soups (okróshka) and fish soups (juszka). The true delicacy is also korovai,
which is a bread baked in special ovens. Not many Polish tourists know that Ukraine can boast two brands of delicious wine from Odessa vineyards – Shabo and Koblevo. What is more, it is possible to visit Shabo Wine Cultural Center, which is famous for production of wine, vermouth and cognac, and whose vineyards occupy 1200 ha.
A place where you can see various warships, yachts and passenger ships,as well as fishing boats.
On 1 April, the festival of humour is organized. One of its parts is Comediada, an international
festival of clowns and mime artists.
THE VORONTSOV LIGHTHOUSE
It is over 27 m high and guards the entrance to the harbour in Odessa. It is named after Mikhail Vorontsov, the governor-general of Odessa.
one of the traditions cultivated in Odessa. It is worth visiting “Platform No. 7” club.
It is estimated that the number of sunny days in Odessa in a year amounts to over 290.