Odesa (Одеса)
Odessa (Одесса)
Potemkin Stairs


Coat of arms
Odesa (Одеса) is located in Ukraine
Odesa (Одеса)
Location in Ukraine
Coordinates: 46°28′00″N 30°44′00″E / 46.4666667°N 30.7333333°E / 46.4666667; 30.7333333
Country  Ukraine
Oblast  Odessa Oblast
City Municipality Odessa
Port founded 2 September 1794
 – Mayor Alexey Kostusev
 – City 236.9 km2 (91.5 sq mi)
Elevation 40 m (131 ft)
Highest elevation 65 m (213 ft)
Lowest elevation -4.2 m (-14 ft)
Population (1 July 2011)
 – City decrease1,006,242
 – Density 6,141/km2 (15,905.1/sq mi)
 – Metro 1,191,0001
 – Demonym Odessit / Odessitka
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 – Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal code 65000–65480
Area code(s) +380 48
Website www.odessa.ua
1 The population of the metropolitan area is as of 2001.

Odessa or Odesa (Ukrainian: Одеса, pronounced [ɔ'dɛsɑ]; Russian: Одесса, pronounced [ɐ'dʲesːə]) is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast (province) located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the northwest shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 (as of the 2001 census).[1]

The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement, was founded by Hacı I Giray, the Khan of Crimea, in 1240 and originally named after him as "Hacıbey". After a period of Lithuanian control, it passed into the domain of the Ottoman Sultan in 1529 and remained in Ottoman hands until the Ottoman Empire's defeat in the Russo-Turkish War of 1792. The city of Odessa was founded by a decree of the Empress Catherine the Great in 1794. From 1819 to 1858 Odessa was a free port. During the Soviet period it was the most important port of trade in the Soviet Union and a Soviet naval base. On 1 January 2000 the Quarantine Pier of Odessa trade sea port was declared a free port and free economic zone for a term of 25 years.

In the 19th century it was the fourth largest city of Imperial Russia, after Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Warsaw.[2] Its historical architecture has a style more Mediterranean than Russian, having been heavily influenced by French and Italian styles. Some buildings are built in a mixture of different styles, including Art Nouveau, Renaissance and Classicist.[3]

Odessa is a warm water port, but is of limited military value.[4] The city of Odessa hosts two important ports: Odessa itself and Yuzhne (also an internationally important oil terminal), situated in the city's suburbs. Another important port, Illichivs'k, is located in the same oblast, to the south-west of Odessa. Together they represent a major transport hub integrating with railways. Odessa's oil and chemical processing facilities are connected to Russia's and EU's respective networks by strategic pipelines.



The origin of the name, or the reasons for naming the town Odessa, are not known. A legend regarding a link with the name of the ancient Greek colony persists, so there might be some truth in the oral tradition. The Turkish name for the district was Yedisan, meaning "seven flags", and this is a more likely explanation[citation needed] of the name Odessa.



The Vorontsov Lighthouse in the Gulf of Odessa. The city is located on the Black Sea.

Odessa is situated (46°28′N 30°44′E / 46.467°N 30.733°E / 46.467; 30.733) on terraced hills overlooking a small harbor on the Black Sea in the Gulf of Odessa, approximately 31 km (19 mi) north of the estuary of the Dniester river and some 443 km (275 mi) south of the Ukrainian capital Kiev. The average elevation at which the city is located is around 50 metres, whilst the maximum is 65 and minimum (on the coast) amounts to 4.2 metres above sea level. The city currently covers a territory of 163 км², the population density for which is around 6,139 persons/км². Sources of running water in the city include the Dniester River, from which water is taken and then purified at a processing plant just outside of the city. Being located in the south of Ukraine, the geography of the area surrounding the city is typically flat and there are no large mountains or hills for many miles around. Flora is of the deciduous variety and Odessa is famous for its beautiful tree-lined avenues which, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, made the city a favourite year-round retreat for the Russian aristocracy.[citation needed]

The city's location on the coast of the Black Sea has also helped to create a booming tourist industry in Odessa.[citation needed] The city's famous Arkadia beach has long been a favourite place for relaxation, both for the city's inhabitants and its many visitors. This is a large sandy beach which is located to the north of the city centre. Odessa's many sandy beaches are considered to be quite unique in Ukraine, as the country's southern coast (particularly in the Crimea) tends to be a location in which the formation of stoney and pebble beaches has proliferated.


Odessa has an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfb)[5] near the borderline of the continental climate (Dfb) and the semi-arid climate (BSk). This has, over the past few centuries, aided the city greatly in creating conditions necessary for the development of tourism. During the tsarist era, Odessa's climate was considered to be beneficial for the body, and thus many wealthy but sickly persons were sent to the city in order to relax and recuperate. This resulted in the development of a spa culture and the establishment of a number of high-end hotels in the city. The average annual temperature of sea is 13–14 °C (55–57 °F), whilst seasonal temperatures range from an average of 6 °C (43 °F) in the period from January to March, to 23 °C (73 °F) in August. Typically, for a total of 4 months – from June to September – the average sea temperature in the Gulf of Odessa and city's bay area exceeds 20 °C (68 °F).[6] The city typically experiences dry, relatively mild winters, which are marked by temperatures which rarely fall below −3 degrees Celsius. Summers on the other hand do see an increased level of precipitation, and the city often basks in warm weather with temperatures often reaching into the high 20s and mid 30s. Snow cover is often only light and municipal services rarely experience the same problems that can often be found in other, more northern, Ukrainian cities. This is largely because the higher winter temperatures and coastal location of Odessa prevent significant snowfall. Additionally the city does not suffer from the phenomenon of river-freezing.

Climate data for Odessa
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 1.6
Daily mean °C (°F) −0.9
Average low °C (°F) −3.5
Precipitation mm (inches) 31
Avg. precipitation days 12 12 11 10 11 11 10 8 8 8 11 13 125
Sunshine hours 77.5 84.1 124.0 186.0 263.5 291.0 313.1 300.7 240.0 170.5 78.0 55.8 2,184.2
Source: pogoda.ru,[7] weather2travel.com[8] for data of avg. precipitation days & sunshine hours


Although Ukrainians make up the majority of (57 percent) Odessa's inhabitants, there is also a very large minority of ethnic Russians (34 percent). However, despite this, the primary language spoken in the city continues to be Russian. Even among the ethnic Ukrainian population of the city Russian is the most widely spoken and understood language, with Ukrainian being primarily used for the fulfilment of official business and in interregional commerce.[citation needed] The city is home to a number of nationalities and minority ethnic groups, including, in addition to the city's majority Ukrainian-Russian population; Albanians, Armenians, Azeris, Crimean Tatars, Bulgarians, Georgians, Greeks, Jews, Romanians, Turks, amongst others. Up until the early 1940s the city also had a large Jewish population, however, as the result of mass deportation to extermination camps during the second world war, the city's Jewish population is now only a shadow of what it once was.


From the first settlements to the end of the 19th century

The site of Odessa was once occupied by an ancient Greek colony. Archaeological artifacts confirm links between the Odessa area and the eastern Mediterranean. In the Middle Ages successive rulers of the Odessa region included various nomadic tribes (Petchenegs, Cumans), the Golden Horde, the Crimean Khanate, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and the Ottoman Empire. Yedisan Crimean Tatars traded there in the 14th century.

Russian troops take the fortress of Khadjibey, defeating the Ottomans and thus providing the impetus to found Odessa.

During the reign of Khan Hacı I Giray of Crimea (1441–1466), the Khanate was endangered by the Golden Horde and the Ottoman Turks and, in search of allies, the khan agreed to cede the area to Lithuania. The site of present-day Odessa was then a town known as Khadjibey (named for Hacı I Giray, and also spelled Kocibey in English, Hacıbey or Hocabey in Turkish, and Hacıbey in Crimean Tatar). It was part of the Dykra region. However, most of the rest of the area remained largely uninhabited in this period.

Khadjibey came under direct control of the Ottoman Empire after 1529 as part of a region known as Yedisan, and was administered in the Ottoman Silistra (Özi) Province. In the mid-18th century, the Ottomans rebuilt a fortress at Khadjibey (also was known Hocabey), which was named Yeni Dünya. Hocabey was a sanjak centre of Silistre Province.

Odessa Сircuit Court building and Church of the monastery of St. Panteleimon (church consecrated in 1895; used as a planetarium from 1961–1991).

During the Russo-Turkish War of 1787–1792, on 25 September 1789, a detachment of Russian forces under Ivan Gudovich took Khadjibey and Yeni Dünya for the Russian Empire. One part of the troops came under command of a Spaniard in Russian service, Major General José de Ribas (known in Russia as Osip Mikhailovich Deribas), and the main street in Odessa today, Derybasivska Street, is named after him. Russia formally gained possession of the area as a result of the Treaty of Jassy (Iaşi) in 1792 and it became a part of the so-called Novorossiya ("New Russia").

The city of Odessa, founded by order of Catherine the Great, Russian Empress, centres on the site of the Turkish fortress Khadzhibei, which was occupied by Russian Army in 1789. De Ribas and Franz de Volan recommended the area of Khadzhibei fortress as the site for the region's basic port: it had an ice-free harbor, breakwaters could be cheaply constructed and would render the harbor safe and it would have the capacity to accommodate large fleets. The Governor General of Novorossiya, Platon Zubov (one of Catherine's favorites) supported this proposal, and in 1794 Catherine approved the founding of the new port-city and invested the first money in constructing the city.

Ivan Martos's statue of the Duc de Richelieu in Odessa

However, adjacent to the new official locality, a Moldavian colony already existed, which by the end of 18th century was an independent settlement known under the name of Moldavanka. Some local historians consider that the settlement pre-dates Odessa by about thirty years and assert that the locality was founded by Moldavians who came to build the fortress of Yeni Dunia for the Ottomans and eventually settled in the area in the late 1760s, right next to the settlement of Khadjibey (since 1795 Odessa proper), on what later became the Prymorsky Boulevard. Another version posits that the settlement appeared after Odessa itself was founded, as a settlement of Moldavians, Greeks and Albanians fleeing the Ottoman yoke.[9]

In their settlement, also known as Novaia Slobodka, the Moldavians owned relatively small plots on which they built village-style houses and cultivated vineyards and gardens. What became Mykhailovsky Square was the centre of this settlement and the site of its first Orthodox church, the Church of the Dormition, built in 1821 close to the seashore, as well as of a cemetery. Nearby stood the military barracks and the country houses (dacha) of the city's wealthy residents, including that of the Duc de Richelieu, appointed by Tsar Alexander I as Governor of Odessa in 1803.

In the mid-nineteenth century Odessa became resort-town famed for its popularity amongst the Russian upper classes. This popularity prompted a new age of investment in the building of hotels and leisure projects.

In the period from 1795 to 1814 the population of Odessa increased 15 times over and reached almost 20 thousand people. The first city plan was designed by the engineer F. Devollan in the late 18th century.[3] Colonists of various ethnicities settled mainly in the area of the former colony, outside of the official boundaries, and as a consequence, in the first third of the 19th century, Moldavanka emerged as the dominant settlement. After planning by the official architects who designed buildings in Odessa's central district, such as the Italians Franz Karlowicz Boffo and Giovanni Torichelli, Moldovanka was included in the general city plan, though the original grid-like plan of Moldovankan streets, lanes and squares remained unchanged.[9]

The new city quickly became a major success. Its early growth owed much to the work of the Duc de Richelieu, who served as the city's governor between 1803 and 1814. Having fled the French Revolution, he had served in Catherine's army against the Turks. He is credited with designing the city and organizing its amenities and infrastructure, and is considered[by whom?] one of the founding fathers of Odessa, together with another Frenchman, Count Andrault de Langeron, who succeeded him in office. Richelieu is commemorated by a bronze statue, unveiled in 1828 to a design by Ivan Martos.

By the 1920s Odessa had become a large, thriving city, complete with European architecture and electrified urban transport.

In 1819 the city became a free port, a status it retained until 1859. It became home to an extremely diverse population of Albanians, Armenians, Azeris, Bulgarians, Crimean Tatars, Frenchmen, Germans (including Mennonites), Greeks, Italians, Jews, Poles, Romanians, Russians, Turks, Ukrainians, and traders representing many other nationalities (hence numerous "ethnic" names on the city's map, for example Frantsuzky (French) and Italiansky (Italian) Boulevards, Gretcheskaya (Greek), Yevreyskaya (Jewish), Arnautskaya (Albanian) Streets). Its cosmopolitan nature was documented by the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, who lived in internal exile in Odessa between 1823 and 1824. In his letters he wrote that Odessa was a city where "the air is filled with all Europe, French is spoken and there are European papers and magazines to read".

Odessa's growth was interrupted by the Crimean War of 1853–1856, during which it was bombarded by British and French naval forces.[10] It soon recovered and the growth in trade made Odessa Russia's largest grain-exporting port. In 1866 the city was linked by rail with Kiev and Kharkiv as well as with Iaşi in Romania.

The city became the home of a large Jewish community during the 19th century, and by 1897 Jews were estimated to comprise some 37% of the population. They were, however, repeatedly subjected to severe persecution. Pogroms were carried out in 1821, 1859, 1871, 1881 and 1905. Many Odessan Jews fled abroad, particularly to Palestine after 1882, and the city became an important base of support for Zionism.

First half of the 20th century

The 142-metre-long Potemkin Stairs (constructed 1837–1841), made famous by Sergei Eisenstein in his movie The Battleship Potemkin (1925).

In 1905 Odessa was the site of a workers' uprising supported by the crew of the Russian battleship Potemkin (also see Battleship Potemkin uprising) and Lenin's Iskra. Sergei Eisenstein's famous motion picture The Battleship Potemkin commemorated the uprising and included a scene where hundreds of Odessan citizens were murdered on the great stone staircase (now popularly known as the "Potemkin Steps"), in one of the most famous scenes in motion picture history. At the top of the steps, which lead down to the port, stands a statue of the Duc de Richelieu. The actual massacre took place in streets nearby, not on the steps themselves, but the film caused many to visit Odessa to see the site of the "slaughter". The "Odessa Steps" continue to be a tourist attraction in Odessa. The film was made at Odessa's Cinema Factory, one of the oldest cinema studios in the former Soviet Union.

Bolshevik forces enter Odessa. February 1920.

Following the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 during World War I, Odessa was occupied by several groups, including the Ukrainian Tsentral'na Rada, the French Army, the Red Army and the White Army. In 1918, Odessa became the capital of the independent Odessa Soviet Republic. Finally, in 1920, the Red Army took control of the city and united it with the Ukrainian SSR, which later became part of the USSR.

The people of Odessa barely suffered from a famine that occurred as a result of the Civil war in Russia in 1921–1922. Before being occupied by Romanian troops in 1941, a part of the city's population, industry, infrastructure and all cultural valuables possible were evacuated to inner regions of the USSR, and the retreating Red Army units destroyed as much as they could of Odessa harbour facilities left behind. The city was land mined in the same way as Kiev.[citation needed]

During World War II, from 1941–1944, Odessa was subject to Romanian administration, as the city had been made part of Transnistria.[11]

Soviet gun crew in action at Odessa in 1941

During the April 1944 battle Odessa suffered severe damage and many casualties. Many parts of Odessa were damaged during its siege and recapture on 10 April 1944, when the city was finally liberated by the Red Army. It was one of the first four Soviet cities to be awarded the title of "Hero City" in 1945, though some of the Odessans had a more favourable view of the Romanian occupation, in the contrast with Soviet official view that the period was exclusively a time of hardship, deprivation, oppression and suffering – claims embodied in public monuments and disseminated through the media to this day.[12] Subsequent Soviet policies imprisoned and executed numerous Odessans (and deported most of the German and Tatar population) on account of collaboration with the occupiers.[13]

The Odessa Massacre

Following the Siege of Odessa, and the Axis occupation, approximately 25,000 Odessans (mostly Jews) were murdered in the outskirts of the city and over 35,000 deported. Most of the atrocities were committed during the first six months of the occupation which officially began on 17 October 1941, when 80% of the 210,000 Jews in the region were killed.[14] After the Nazi forces began to lose ground on the Eastern Front, the Romanian administration changed its policy, refusing to deport the remaining Jewish population to extermination camps in German occupied Poland, and allowing Jews to work as hired labourers. As a result, despite the tragic events of 1941, the survival of the Jews in this area was higher than in other areas of occupied eastern Europe.[14]

Second half of the 20th century

Passenger Terminal of the Odessa port

During the 1960s and 1970s the city grew tremendously. Nevertheless, the majority of Odessa's Jews emigrated to Israel, the United States and other Western countries between the 1970s and 1990s. Many ended up in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Brighton Beach, sometimes known as "Little Odessa". Domestic migration of Odessan middle and upper classes to Moscow and Leningrad that offered even greater opportunities for career advancement, also occurred on a large scale. But the city grew rapidly by filling the void with new rural migrants elsewhere from Ukraine and industrial professionals invited from all over the Soviet Union.

Tolstoy Street.

As a part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, the city preserved and somewhat reinforced its unique cosmopolitan mix of Russian/Ukrainian/Jewish culture and a predominantly Russophone[citation needed] environment with the uniquely accented dialect of Russian spoken in the city. The city's Russian, Ukrainian, Jewish, French, Italian, Romanian, Tatar, Turkish, Greek, Armenian and Bulgarian communities have influenced different aspects of Odessa life.

In 1991, after the collapse of Communism, the city became part of newly independent Ukraine. Today Odessa is a city of more than 1 million people. The city's industries include shipbuilding, oil refining, chemicals, metalworking and food processing. Odessa is also a Ukrainian naval base and home to a fishing fleet. It is also known for its huge outdoor market, the Seventh-Kilometer Market, the largest market of its kind in Europe.

Government and administrative divisions

Odessa City Hall, the seat of the city's municipal authorities

Whilst Odessa is the administrative centre of the Odessa Oblast (province), the city is also the main constituent of the Odessa Municipality. However, since Odessa is a city of oblast subordinance, this makes the city subject directly to the administration of the oblast's authorities, thus removing it from the responsibility of the municipality.

The city of Odessa is governed by a mayor and city council which work cooperatively to ensure the smooth-running of the city and procure its municipal bylaws. The city's budget is also controlled by the administration.

The mayoralty[15] plays the role of the executive in the city's municipal administration. Above all comes the mayor, who is elected, by the city's electorate, for four years in a direct election. Since 6 November 2010 this office has been held by Aleksei Kostusev, a chevalier (II class) of the Order of Merit. Kostusev had, up until his election as mayor of Odessa on 31 October 2010, held numerous positions in the city's Kyiv district administration and served as a member of the Verkhovna Rada. He is a member of the Party of Regions. There are five deputy mayors, each of which is responsible for a certain particular part of the city's public policy.

The City Council[16] of the city makes up the administration's legislative branch, thus effectively making it a city 'parliament' or rada. The municipal council is made up of 120 elected members,[17] who are each elected to represent a certain district of the city for a four year term. The current council is the fifth in the city's modern history, and was elected in January 2011. In the regular meetings of the municipal council, problems facing the city are discussed, and annually the city's budget is drawn up. The council has seventeen standing commissions[18] which play an important role in controlling the finances and trading practices of the city and its merchants.

The territory of Odessa is divided into four administrative raions (districts):

  • Kyivsky Raion (Ukrainian: Київський район)
  • Malynovsky Raion (Ukrainian: Малиновський район)
  • Prymorsky Raion (Ukrainian: Приморський район)
  • Suvorovsky Raion (Ukrainian: Суворовський район)

In addition, every raion has its own administration, subordinate to the Odessa City Council, and with limited responsibilities.


The main building of the Odessa State Economic University.

Odessa is home to a number of universities and other institutions of higher education. The city's best-known and most prestigious university is the Odessa 'I.I. Mechnikov' National University. This university is the oldest in the city and was first founded by an edict of Tsar Alexander II of Russia in 1865 as the Imperial Novorossiysk University. Since then the university has developed to become one of modern Ukraine's leading research and teaching universities, with staff of around 1,800 and total of thirteen academic faculties. Other than the National University, the city is also home to the 1921-inaugurated Odessa State Economic University, the Odessa State Medical University (founded 1900), the 1918-founded Odessa National Polytechnic University and the Odessa National Maritime University (established 1930).

In addition to these universities, the city is home to the Odessa Law Academy, the National Academy of Telecommunications and the Odessa National Maritime Academy. The latter of these institutions is a highly specialised and prestigious establishment for the preparation and training of merchant mariners which sees around 1,000 newly-qualified officer cadets graduate each year and take up employment in the merchant marines of numerous countries around the world. The South Ukrainian National Pedagogical University is also based in the city, this is one of the largest institutions for the preparation of educational specialists in Ukraine and is recognised as one of the country's finest of such universities.

In addition to all the state-run universities mentioned above, Odessa is also home to a large number of private educational institutes and academies which offer highly specified courses in a range of different subjects. These establishments, however, typically charge much higher fees than government-owned establishments and may not have hold the same level of official accreditation as their state-run peers.[citation needed]

With regard to primary and secondary education, Odessa has a large number of schools catering for all ages from kindergarten through to lyceum (final secondary school level) age. Most of these schools are state-owned and operated, and all schools have to be state-accredited in order to teach children.


Roads and automotive transport

The M05 Highway links Odessa with the nation's capital, Kiev.

The first car in Russian Empire, a Mercedes-Benz belonging to V. Navrotsky, came to Odessa from France in 1891. He was a popular city publisher of the newspaper The Odessa Leaf.

Odessa is linked to the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, by the M05 Highway, a high quality multi-lane road which is set to be re-designated, after further reconstructive works, as an 'Avtomagistral' (motorway) in the near future. Other routes of national significance, passing through Odessa, include the M16 Highway to Moldova, M15 to Izmail and Romania, and the M14 which runs from Odessa, through Mykolaiv and Kherson to Ukraine's eastern border with Russia. The M14 is of particular importance to Odessa's maritime and shipbuilding industries as it links the city with Ukraine's other large deep water port Mariupol which is located in the south east of the county.

Odessa also has a well-developed system of inter-urban municipal roads and minor beltways. However, the city is still lacking an extra-urban bypass for transit traffic which does not wish to proceed through the city centre.

Odesa Golovna is one of Ukraine's largest mainline railway terminals. Every day trains depart to a large number of national and international destinations.

Intercity bus services are available from Odessa to many cities in Russia (Moscow, Rostov-on-Don, Krasnodar, Pyatigorsk), Germany (Berlin, Hamburg and Munich), Greece (Thessaloniki and Athens), Bulgaria (Varna and Sofia) and several cities of Ukraine and Europe.

Rail transport

Odessa is served by a number of railway stations and halts, the largest of which is Odesa Golovna (Main Station), from where passenger train services connect Odessa with Warsaw, Prague, Bratislava, Vienna, Berlin, Moscow, St.-Petersburg, the cities of Ukraine and many other cities of the former USSR. The city's first railway station was opened in the 1880s, however, during the Second World War, the iconic building of the main station, which had long been considered to be one of the Russian Empire's premier stations, was destroyed through enemy action. In 1952 the station was rebuilt to the designs of A Chuprina. The current station, which is characterised by its many socialist-realist architectural details and grand scale, was renovated by the state railway operator Ukrainian Railways in 2006.

Air transport

Odessa International Airport, which is located to the south-west of the city centre, is served by a number of airlines. The airport is also often used by citizens of neighbouring countries for whom Odessa is the nearest large city and who can travel visa-free to Ukraine.

A new K1 model Odessa tram passes the city's main bus station on the New Ring.

Transit flights from the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East to Odessa are offered by Ukraine International and Aerosvit through their respective hubs at Kiev's Boryspil International Airport. Additionally transfer flights to Odessa can be secured with other non-Ukrainian carriers through their hubs.

Public transport

Odessa was the first city in Imperial Russia to have steam tramway lines since 1881, an innovation which came only one year after the establishment of horse tramway services in 1880 operated by the "Tramways d´Odessa", a Belgian owned company. The first metre gauge steam tramway line ran from Railway Station to Great Fontaine and the second one to Hadzhi Bey Liman. These routes were both operated by the same Belgian company. Electric tramway started to operate on 22 August 1907. Trams were imported from Germany.

The city's public transit system is currently made up of trams,[19] trolleybuses, buses and fixed-route taxis (marshrutkas). Odessa also has a cable car, funicular railway, and recreational ferry service.

Maritime transport

Passenger ships and ferries connect Odessa with Istanbul, Haifa and Varna.

Main sights

A panoramic view of central Odessa, as seen from the Black Sea

Potemkin Step

Odessa’s most iconic symbol, the Potemkin Steps (Primorsky Stairs) is a vast staircase that conjures an illusion so that those at the top only see a series of large steps, while at the bottom all steps appear to merge into one pyramid-shaped mass. The original 200 steps (now reduced to 192) were designed by Italian architect Francesco Boffo and built between 1837 and 1841..

Port of Odessa

One of the biggest in the Black Sea, Odessa’s busy port is a place to see some impressive ships.

Vorontsov’s Palace

Another supreme work-of-art from Italian architect Francesco Boffo, this 19th century palace and colonnade was built for supreme Odessa governor Prince Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov.[citation needed]

Deribasovskaya Street

An attractive pedestrian avenue named after José de Ribas, Spanish-born founder of Odessa and decorated Russian Navy Admiral from the Russo-Turkish War.

Odessa Opera & Ballet Theater

A grand Renaissance-era theater finished in 1887 which still hosts a range of performances. The theater is regarded as one of the world’s finest.

Museum of Western and Eastern Art

Odessa's most important museum with large European collections from the 16–20th centuries together with art from the Orient. There are paintings from Mignard, Hals, Teniers and Del Piombo.

Alexander Pushkin’s Museum The museum details how Pushkin was exiled for a short period to Odessa and spent a very creative period in the city. The poet also has a city street named after him together with a statue.[citation needed]

Resorts and health care

Odessa is a popular tourist destination, with many therapeutic resorts in and around the city.[citation needed]

The Filatov Institute of Eye Diseases & Tissue Therapy in Odessa is one of the world's leading ophthalmology clinics.

Odessa catacombs

Most of the city's 19th century houses were built of limestone mined nearby. Abandoned mines were later used and broadened by local smugglers. This created a gigantic complicated labyrinth of underground tunnels beneath Odessa, known as "catacombs". During World War II, the catacombs served as a hiding place for partisans. They are a now a great attraction for extreme tourists. Such tours, however, are not officially sanctioned and are dangerous because the layout of the catacombs has not been fully mapped and the tunnels themselves are unsafe. The tunnels are a primary reason why no subway system was ever built in Odessa.


Chornomorets Stadium

The most popular sport in Odessa is football. The main professional football club in the city is FC Chornomorets Odesa, who play in the country's second division, the Ukrainian First League. Chornomorets currently plays their home games in the small Spartak Stadium, while their home arena – Chornomorets Stadium, is under major renovation.

Basketball is also a prominent sport in Odessa, with BC Odessa representing the city in the Ukrainian Basketball League, the highest tier basketball league in Ukraine.

Notable people from Odessa

The Philharmonic Society
School of Stolyarsk Odessa, Ukraine
Odessa Archaeological Museum was designed in the Neoclassical style just like many other landmarks of the city.

Political leaders

Ze'ev Jabotinsky was born in Odessa, and largely developed his version of Zionism there in early 1920s.[20]

Military leaders

Marshal of the Soviet Union Rodion Yakovlevich Malinovsky a military commander in World War II and Defense Minister of the Soviet Union was born in Odessa. Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal lived in Odessa.

Poets and writers

Poet Anna Akhmatova was born in Bolshoy Fontan near Odessa.[21] The city has produced many writers, including Isaac Babel, whose series of short stories, Odessa Tales, are set in the city. Other odessites are the duo Ilf and Petrov, and Yuri Olesha. Vera Inber, a poet and writer, as well as the famous poet and journalist, Margarita Aliger were both born in Odessa. The Italian writer, slavist and anti-fascist dissident Leone Ginzburg was born in Odessa into a Jewish family, and then went to Italy where he grew up and lived.

One of the most prominent pre-war Soviet writers, Valentin Kataev, was born here and began his writing career as early as high school (gymnasia). Before moving to Moscow in 1922, he made quite a few acquaintances here, including Yury Olesha and Ilya Ilf (Ilf's co-author Petrov was in fact Kataev's brother, Petrov being his pen-name). Kataev became a benefactor for these young authors, who would become some of the most talented and popular Russian writers of this period. In 1955 Kataev became the first chief editor of the Youth (Russian: Юность, Yunost’), one of the leading literature magazines of the Ottepel of the 1950s and '60s.[citation needed]

These authors and comedians played a great role in establishing the "Odessa myth" in the Soviet Union. Odessites were and are viewed in Russian culture (in the broad sense of the word "Russian") as sharp-witted, street-wise and eternally optimistic.[citation needed] These qualities are reflected in the "Odessa dialect", which borrows chiefly from the characteristic speech of the Odessan Jews, and is enriched by a plethora of influences common for the port city. The "Odessite speech" became a staple of the "Soviet Jew" depicted in a multitude of jokes and comedy acts, in which the Jew served as a wise and subtle dissenter and opportunist, always pursuing his own well-being, but unwittingly pointing out the flaws and absurdities of the Soviet regime. The Jew in the jokes always "came out clean" and was, in the end, a lovable character – unlike some of other jocular nation stereotypes such as The Chukcha, The Ukrainian, The Estonian or The American.[citation needed]

Frank Cass, the founder of Frank Cass & Co. was a noted publisher in United Kingdom, specialising in the social sciences and humanities subject areas and publishing military and strategic studies titles and journals, until bought by Taylor & Francis Publishers on 28 July 2003.[22] He was the unofficial publisher of the Anglo-Jewish community, and retained the Vallentine Mitchell Publisher even after the sale of Frank Cass & Co.[23]


A list of world known scientists lived and worked in Odessa. Among them: Illya Mechnikov (Nobel Prize in Medicine 1908),[24] Igor Tamm (Nobel Prize in Physics 1958), Selman Waksman (Nobel Prize in Medicine 1952), Dmitri Mendeleev, Nikolay Pirogov, Ivan Sechenov, Vladimir Filatov, George Gamow, Nikolay Umov, Leonid Mandelstam, Aleksandr Lyapunov, Mark Krein, Alexander Smakula, Waldemar Haffkine and Valentin Glushko. George Gamow, the famous physicist, was born in Odessa; there, his father was a high school teacher of Russian literature; among his students, Lev Bronstein, a. k. a. Trotzkij, who speaks about him in rather unobliging terms in his autobiography.[25]


Jacob Adler, the major star of the Yiddish Theater in New York and father of the actor, director and teacher Stella Adler, was born in and spent his youth in Odessa. The most popular Russian show-business people from Odessa are Yakov Smirnoff (comedian), Mikhail Zhvanetsky (legendary humorist writer, who began his career as port engineer) and Roman Kartsev (comedian). Zhvanetsky's and Kartsev's success in 1970s, together with Odessa's KVN team, much contributed to Odessa's established status of a "capital of Soviet humour", culminating in the annual Humoryna festival, carried out on and around the April Fools' Day. Odessa was also the home of the late Armenian painter Sarkis Ordyan (1918–2003), the Ukrainian painter Mickola Vorokhta and the Greek philologist, author and promoter of Demotic Greek Ioannis Psycharis (1854–1929). Yuri Siritsov, bass player of the Israeli Metal band PallaneX is originally from Odessa. Igor Glazer Production Manager Baruch Agadati (1895–1976), the Palestinian-Israeli classical ballet dancer, choreographer, painter, and film producer and director grew up in Odessa, as did Israeli artist and author Nachum Gutman (1898–1980). Israeli painter Avigdor Stematsky (1908–89) was born in Odessa.


Odessa produced one of the founders of the Soviet violin school, Pyotr Stolyarsky. It has also produced a famous composer Oscar Borisovich Feltsman and a galaxy of stellar musicians, including the violinists Nathan Milstein, Yuri Vodovoz, David Oistrakh and Igor Oistrakh, Boris Goldstein, Zakhar Bron, and pianists Sviatoslav Richter, Benno Moiseiwitsch, Vladimir de Pachmann, Shura Cherkassky, Emil Gilels, Maria Grinberg, Simon Barere, Leo Podolsky and Yakov Zak. (Note that Richter studied in Odessa but wasn't born there.)


Chess player Efim Geller was born in the city. Gymnast Tatiana Gutsu (known as "The Painted Bird of Odessa") brought home Ukraine's first Olympic gold medal as an independent nation when she outscored the USA's Shannon Miller in the women's all-around event at 1992 Summer Olympics held in Barcelona Spain. Figure skaters Oksana Grishuk and Evgeny Platov won the 1994 and 1998 Olympic gold medals as well as the 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997 World Championships in ice dance. Both were born and raised in the city, though they skated for at first the Soviet Union, the Unified Team, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and then Russia.

Other notable sportsmen:

International relations

Twin towns – sister cities

Odessa is twinned, has sister and partner relationships with many other cities throughout the World:

Partner cities

See also



  • Zipperstein, Steven J. (1986, 1991). The Jews of Odessa: A Cultural History, 1794–1881. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-1251-4, hardcover; ISBN 0-8047-1962-4, paperback reprint. 


  1. ^ "About number and composition population of UKRAINE by All-Ukrainian Population Census 2001 data.". State Statistics Committee of Ukraine. http://www.ukrcensus.gov.ua/eng/results/general/city/. Retrieved 2006-07-30. 
  2. ^ Herlihy, Patricia (1977). The Ethnic Composition of the City of Odessa in the Nineteenth Century. pp. g. 53. 
  3. ^ a b "Odessa: Architecture and Monuments". 2009 UKRWorld.Com. http://ukrworld.com.ua/odesskaya-oblast/odessa/97-odessa-architecture-and-monuments.html. Retrieved 2009-06-09. 
  4. ^ Turkey's control of the Dardanelles and Bosphorus has enabled NATO to control water traffic between Odessa and the Mediterranean Sea.
  5. ^ "World Map of Köppen−Geiger Climate Classification". http://www.schweizerbart.de/resources/downloads/paper_free/55034.pdf. 
  6. ^ "Odessa Climate Guide". http://www.weather2travel.com/climate-guides/ukraine/odessa.php. Retrieved 5 June 2009. 
  7. ^ pogoda.ru. "Погода и Климат – Климат Одессы". http://pogoda.ru.net/climate/33837.htm. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  8. ^ Weather2travel.com. "Odessa Climate Guide". Weather2travel.com. http://www.weather2travel.com/climate-guides/ukraine/odessa.php. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  9. ^ a b Richardson, p. 110.
  10. ^ Clive Pointing, The Crimean War: The Truth Behind the Myth, Chatto & Windus, London, 2004, ISBN 0701173904.
  11. ^ Nataliya and Yuri Kruglyak, KRT Web Studio at www.webservicestudio..com , Odessa, Ukraine. "Odessa population during WWII". Odessitclub.org. http://www.odessitclub.org/en/archives/dallin/chapter_5.html#Elite. Retrieved 28 October 2011. 
  12. ^ Richardson, p. 103.
  13. ^ Richardson, p. 17.
  14. ^ a b Richardson, p. 33.
  15. ^ "Official Website of the city administration: Structure of the Mayorality". Odessa.ua. 1 April 2008. http://www.odessa.ua/ua/mayor. Retrieved 28 October 2011. 
  16. ^ "Official Website of the city administration: City Council". Odessa.ua. 14 July 2011. http://www.odessa.ua/council/. Retrieved 28 October 2011. 
  17. ^ "City Council members". Odessa.ua. 1 April 2008. http://www.odessa.ua/ua/council/members/. Retrieved 28 October 2011. 
  18. ^ "Official Website of the city administration, Standing commissions of the City Council". Odessa.ua. 1 April 2008. http://www.odessa.ua/council/commissions/. Retrieved 28 October 2011. 
  19. ^ "Odessa Tram Themes". http://www.dgmaestro.com/tram. Retrieved 2 May 2006. 
  20. ^ Nissani, Noah. "Ze'ev Jabotinsky – Brief Biography". 1996 Liberal.Org. http://www.liberal.org.il/the_man.htm. Retrieved 2009-06-09. 
  21. ^ Anderson, Nancy K.; Anna Andreevna Akhmatova (2004). The word that causes death's defeat. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300103778. 
  22. ^ Black, Gerry, Frank's way : Frank Cass and fifty years of publishing / Gerry Black Vallentine Mitchell, London ; Portland, OR : 2008
  23. ^ Frank Cass: Eclectic publisher with an eye for opportunity, guardian.co.uk
  24. ^ Schmalstieg, Frank C; Goldman Armond S (May 2008). "Ilya Ilich Metchnikoff (1845–1915) and Paul Ehrlich (1854–1915): the centennial of the 1908 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine". Journal of Medical Biography (England) 16 (2): 96–103. doi:10.1258/jmb.2008.008006 (inactive 2010-03-17). PMID 18463079. 
  25. ^ George Gamow, My time-line, Viking, 1970, New York
  26. ^ "Sister Cities". Baltimore Convention & Tourism Board. http://baltimore.org/visitors/international/sister-cities. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  27. ^ "Liverpool City Council: twinning". http://www.liverpool.gov.uk/Community_and_living/Twinning/index.asp. Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  28. ^ "Twin Cities". The City of Łódź Office. Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Flag of Poland.svg (English), (Polish). http://en.www.uml.lodz.pl/index.php?str=2029. Retrieved 2008-10-23.  2007 UMŁ}}
  29. ^ "Marseille Official Website – Twin Cities". Flag of France.svg (French) 2008 Ville de Marseille. Archived from the original on 2008-05-05. http://web.archive.org/web/20080505065256/http://www.marseille.fr/vdm/cms/accueil/mairie/international/pid/185. Retrieved 2008-11-26. 
  30. ^ "Twin towns". ouka.fi. http://www.ouka.fi/kansainvalisyys/english/ystavyyskaupungit.html. Retrieved 2009-11-07. 
  31. ^ "Sister Cities of Istanbul". http://www.greatistanbul.com/sister_cities.htm. Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  32. ^ Erdem, Selim Efe (2003-11-03). "İstanbul'a 49 kardeş" (in Turkish). Radikal. http://www.radikal.com.tr/haber.php?haberno=94185. Retrieved 2008-11-02. "49 sister cities in 2003" 
  33. ^ "Twin City acitivities". Haifa Municipality. Archived from the original on 2008-06-21. http://web.archive.org/web/20080621013813/http://www.haifa.muni.il/Cultures/en-US/city/CitySecretary_ForeignAffairs/EngActs.htm. Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  34. ^ "Ciudades hermanadas con Valencia". Ayuntamiento de Valencia. http://www.valencia.es/ayuntamiento/rinternacionales_accesible.nsf/vDocumentosTituloAux/D80022569C2533B9C12571F100285E72?OpenDocument&bdOrigen=ayuntamiento%2Frinternacionales_accesible.nsf&idapoyo=&lang=1&nivel=3. Retrieved 2010-06-09. 
  35. ^ "Vancouver Twinning Relationships" (PDF). City of Vancouver. http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20080311/documents/a14.pdf. Retrieved 2009-07-18. 
  36. ^ "Yerevan Municipality – Sister Cities". 2005–2009 www.yerevan.am. http://yerevan.am/main.php?lang=3&page_id=194. Retrieved 2009-06-22. 
  37. ^ "Official Yokohama City Tourism Website: Sister Cities". Yokohama Convention & Visitors Bureau. http://www.welcome.city.yokohama.jp/eng/tourism/mame/a3000.html. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  38. ^ "Побратимские связи г. Бреста" (in (Russian)). City.brest.by. http://city.brest.by/article_in.php?id=1464&tc=26&tc2=31. Retrieved 2010-10-03. 
  39. ^ "Gdańsk Official Website: 'Miasta partnerskie'" (in Polish & English). 2009 Urząd Miejski w Gdańsku. http://www.gdansk.pl/samorzad,62,733.html. Retrieved 2009-07-11. 

External links

Coordinates: 46°28′N 30°44′E / 46.467°N 30.733°E / 46.467; 30.733

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