Odessa is a port city on the north-west coast of the Black Sea. This is the third largest city in Ukraine after Kiev and Kharkov, the main industrial, cultural, transport, scientific and resort center of the Northern Black Sea Coast.
Odessa was founded by Catherine II in 1794, when the Russian Empress decided that the country needed a port on the Black Sea to expand ties with Europe. Once in place of today’s Odessa was an ancient Greek settlement, then the Crimean Tatars lived there. They were replaced by the Ottoman Turks, who founded the fortress Hadzhibey, which was captured by Russian troops in 1789.
Successfully located geographically, Odessa quickly evolved from a small settlement into a commercial, industrial and scientific center of European importance. During the First World War and the civil war in Russia, the city experienced devastation and chaos, during the Second World War it was partially destroyed. Today the city continues to develop, now as a major industrial and resort center of Ukraine.
Odessa itself is a landmark, but it’s worth to visit the famous Privoz and Deribasovskaya, the Odessa Opera and Ballet Theater (the second most beautiful in Europe) and the Potemkin Stairs (the largest in the country), the Primorsky Boulevard and the Semicircular Square with the Rishelye Monument, Vorontsov’s Palaces, Naryshkina and Pototsky, Uspensky Monastery (1824) and Odessa Sea Port (the largest on the Black Sea).
No less interesting are the charming streets of Pushkinskaya, Rishelievskaya, Lanzheronovskaya, the famous Moldavanka, the unique complex of underground excavations (the Odessa Metro), the ruins of the Turkish fortress in Taras Shevchenko Park, the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, and the first-class museums — the Archaeological (the richest collection of Egyptian , Scythian and ancient antiquities), Artistic, Museum of the Navy, Literary, Museum of Western and Oriental Art, Historical and Local Lore, A. Pushkin Literary and Memorial Museum and others.
Sights of Odessa
Deribasovskaya is the main street of the city, the heart of Odessa. It got its name in honor of Osip Deribas, the founder of the city, most of it is a pedestrian zone. Deribasovskaya is a popular place for festivities, there are numerous cafes and shops. The City Garden, the first in Odessa, is also popular.
The city garden was opened in 1803, almost immediately after the founding of the city, the brothers Jose and Felix de Ribas. Since mid-2006, the city garden was under restoration, and in May 2007 it was reopened for visitors.
Odessa Opera House — a true architectural masterpiece in 1887 built. Built on the site of the burnt down Opera House of Odessa, it remains to this day the first in popularity and scale in the region. Odessa Opera House is built in the style of the Viennese baroque and flaunts on many postcards and guidebooks.
Vorontsov Palace in Odessa is a palace complex located on Primorsky Boulevard, which is one of the main architectural monuments of the city.
The palace was built in 1826-1828, the last building was completed in 1834. On the site of the palace was once the impregnable fortress of Hadzhibey, and during the new development of Odessa the plot of land on the very northernmost hill of the boulevard was taken over by the Governor-General of the Novorossiysk Territory, VS. Vorontsova.
The house was built in Empire style, its rich guest rooms with plentiful gilding, exquisite stucco, crystal chandeliers and magnificent parquet, impressed with its design and magnificence.
Odessa Savior Transfiguration Cathedral — the largest Orthodox church, it is located on the Cathedral Square in Odessa. The first stone was laid in 1794, and in 1808 the cathedral was already consecrated.
This masterpiece of the era of classicism was built on the design of architect V. Vonsrecant and housed up to 12 thousand parishioners at a time. The interior of the temple was strikingly luxurious: an altar of pure silver, rare icons, one of which belonged to the brush of the French artist Leroy, copper crosses and other valuables.
After coming to power, the Bolsheviks got many religious buildings, but the Transfiguration Cathedral was almost completely plundered. Marauders did not disdain even the burials of the Vorontsovs, whose ashes rested in the cathedral. The coffins were opened, and all decorations were removed from the deceased, MS Vorontsov’s saber was also stolen.
The temple was destroyed to the ground, the present church is a copy of the original. The cathedral began to be restored in the 2000s, and finished only by 2005, even the smallest details were recreated, and the iconostasis icon painter Zhuravsky restored anew on the only small photo that miraculously survived. The ashes of the Vorontsovs were also reburied in the new assembly immediately after his consecration.
The monument to Duke, or rather the monument to Arman Emmanuel du Plessis, the Duke of Richelieu is another attraction of Odessa and the first monument opened in this city. It was created in 1828 and represents a bronze figure in full growth.
What did this Frenchman deserve this honor, and how did he end up in Odessa? The Duke de Richelieu arrived in Odessa on March 9, 1803. At that time Odessa already existed for 8 years, but it was a small village with a couple of hundred wooden houses. The Duke de Richelieu, who became the first mayor of Odessa, turned it into a real pearl by the sea, creating here one of the largest commercial ports. During his rule, Odessa began to actively build up, there was the first Odessa Opera House, a printing house, a commercial college and the Institute of Noble Maidens were opened. The Duke de Richelieu remained the unchanged mayor of Odessa for eleven years. During this time, the city’s population reached 35 thousand people.
However, when the Bourbons came to power in France again, he returned to his homeland, where he became prime minister. Alexander I, who visited Odessa three years after the Duke left Russia, was so impressed with the metamorphosis and transformation of the city that he immediately issued a decree awarding the Duke de Richelieu with the Order of St. Andrew the First-Called. The duke died at the age of 56 in France. When news of his death reached Odessa, all residents of South Palmyra were amazed at the sudden death of the most respected person in the city. And then Alexander-Louis André de Lanzheron, the then mayor of Odessa and a great friend of the duke, called on the inhabitants to collect donations for the construction of the monument. The sketch of the monument was designed by the greatest sculptor of the time Ivan Martos, who portrayed the duke in full growth, as if marching along Odessa. The permission to install the monument was signed by Alexander I himself.
A lot of water has expired since then, a lot has changed in Odessa, but the Duke monument still remains a favorite meeting place for Odessa citizens and a visiting card of the city.
The Potemkin Stairs. The Most Serene Prince Vorontsov gave his wife Elizabeth a ladder, costing him 800 thousand rubles. The author of the project was the architect F. Boffo, who carefully developed the proportions of the building, pleasing the eye with several optical effects.
Originally the staircase was wooden, then 200 of its steps were laid out from the Trieste sandstone. Almost 100 years later, it was replaced with granite, and the sites were asphalted. Now there are 192 steps and 10 sites on the stairs.
In Soviet times, the staircase was renamed in memory of the rebellion on the battleship Potemkin in 1905, and before the revolution it was called Rishelyevskaya. at its beginning there is a monument to the duke (duke) De Richelieu — the first governor-general of the city of Odessa and Novorossiysk region.
Monument to Empress Catherine II and her companions. Monument to the founders of Odessa, or, more precisely, the monument to Catherine the Great and her companions, is located on Ekaterininskaya Square in Odessa. The monument was erected in honor of the great Empress Catherine II, who is considered the founder of the city and outstanding personalities from her surroundings who led Odessa to blossom, creating a real pearl on the sea from a small fishing town. The monument was first erected in the distant 1900, but after 20 years it was dismantled. And only after almost a century, in 2007 the monument was restored.
Catherine the decree of 1794 marked the beginning of the construction of a large commercial port on the Black Sea, and thus became the founder of Odessa. In gratitude for this, the residents of Odessa decided to install a monument to Catherine II on the square of the same name. When the Bolsheviks came to power in Odessa, the monument was dismantled, it was even wanted to be melted down on shells. However, due to chance, the figures remained intact, and for many years were stored in the cellars of the museum of local lore. And in the place where the monument stood, in 1965 a monument to the rebellious sailors of the battleship Potemkin was erected.
In 2007 it was decided to restore the monument. «Potemkin» was transported to the Customs Square, and the monument to Catherine was raised to its former place. The monument almost entirely consists of former fragments, only the head of the empress has been restored. In addition to it, the complex includes the figures de Ribas, de Volan, Grigory Potemkin and Zubov. All of them played an important role in the development of the city.
House of Colonel Grigoriev. The restaurants in the old Odessa were not only gastronomic delights, famous cultural figures, respected citizens gathered there. Variations for lunch — a lot, for every taste and pocket. Choose, and hardly you will be mistaken — Odessa citizens always knew how to build a restaurant business and properly manage it.
Pay special attention to the house on the corner of Lanzheronovskaya Street and Ekaterininskaya Street — the house of Colonel Grigoriev. In 1872, Jacob Fanconi opened the famous Fanconi cafe here. It was the best confectionery in town. Cafes visited Bunin, Mayakovsky, Gumilyov, Shalyapin, Babel, Utochkin, Petrov, etc. And in the Soviet era, Fanconi turned into a dining room number 86, it was in it Ostap Bender pondered the «Case Koreiko.»