The final Ukrainian city on our tour is Odessa which is situated on the Black Sea. Already we have discovered the beauty of Kiev, the industrial power of Donetsk and the historical past of Sevastopol.
Odessa is known for its great beaches but there is far more to this city than just sun, sea and sand. It also has wonderful architecture and a buzzing cultural scene. There are bijou pavement cafes and some great cosmopolitan restaurants. If you go down to the water’s edge you can find the grand Primorsky Boulevard, take a stroll and marvel at the magnificent monuments and big mansions.
Odessa Old Town
One of the main delights of Odessa is its Old Town, it is like a graceful old lady hiding many galleries, museums and churches in the many folds of its petticoat. Apparently, the Old Town was based on the ruins of an ancient Greek settlement and on the site of the Vorontsovsky palace there was formerly an Italian fortress. You can get to the Old Town by way of the Potemkin Stairs which have the enviable reputation of being considered as being one of the most beautiful stairs in the world.
Odessa has an old history, but modern Odessa really started taking formation in the 14th Century when the Tartars established a fortress. Around three hundred years later the Russians took control and built a naval base as well as a commercial port.
Due to the expansion of the railways in 1866 Odessa boomed. Its growth was rapid and lucrative and it became Russia’s third most important city. In 1905 it saw a revolution and the scenes of the mutiny on the Potemkin are legendary. During WWII, Odessa like most of the Ukraine, suffered badly as the Germans and Romanians continuously bombarded it for its strategic position.
Today the city remains an important port for the Ukraine and is the base of a large fishing fleet. It also has great industrial significance and has strong links to the chemical industry as well as engineering.
Odessa is full of tradition and is an important educational and cultural center for this part of the Ukraine. One of the finest research facilities is the Filatov Institute of Eye Diseases which is famed as one of the best facilities of its type in the world.
Odessa also has a plethora of theaters and museums, including the famous opera house and ballet theaters which date back to the early 1800’s. Many Ukrainians head to the south seashore of the harbor as here there are many sanatoriums and holiday camps to spend their holidays. It is a great place for some much-needed R&R for the citizens of Odessa and other Ukrainians.
Odessa really has it all, it is a thriving city with good industries and a great port. It also has fine architecture and great buildings, that house theaters, museums, galleries and all manner of cultural activities. The four great cities in our blog highlight the diverse nature of the Ukraine and its wonderful cultures. Paying a visit to any one of the cities highlighted will be well worthwhile and invigorating to the body and the mind.