Odessa is a beautiful city on the Black Sea coast, which holds a special place in the hearts of Russians and Ukrainians. A visit to Odessa is sure to be unlike a visit to any other city. In contrast to other cities of the former Soviet Union, Odessa is rich for the Western European culture. Odessa is known throughout the world for its art and culture and has what is considered to be the second most beautiful and important Opera House in the world.
The population of Odessa is about 1.3 million. It is a cosmopolitan city hosting 150,000 tourists each year from all over the world. In the summer, they relax at the sandy shores of Odessa beaches and experience this eternally young city.
The beaches allow tourists to feel like they are in the Mediterranean. All of the coast of Odessa is lined with popular beaches. In the summer they are filled with beautiful girls, music, and visitors trying tasty food. One of the most popular beaches is Arcadia Beach, which is located about 10 minutes from downtown.Walking in Odessa you can see its history from classical Italian influences to Soviet era apartment complexes. On Deribasovskaya Street - the central street - there is a variety of restaurants, theatres, concerts and a promenade of people. The port of Odessa has ships from all over the world arriving daily.Odessa has 1185 streets, 62001 buildings, 24 hotels, 34 educational institutions, 88 health care centers, and 20 museums. Public transportation in Odessa city includes 21 tram routes, 15 trolley bus routes, 47 bus routes and 85 minibus routes.
History of Odessa
Odessa was founded in 1794 by Catherine the Great. In 1803, Tsar Alexander I commissioned the 36 year old French emigrant, the Duke de Richelieu to be the mayor of Odessa. Eighteen months later, in 1805, the Tsar enlarged de Richelieu's authority by appointing him to serve simultaneously as the governor of the three provinces of Ukraine. In the 11 years of his administration, the Duke de Richelieu acquired an extraordinary reputation as a statesman, both in Russia and abroad. His statue now points out to the sea, clothed inexplicably in a toga, presumably to indicate the source of Odessa's wealth.
By 1820, Odessa had become an important commercial, industrial and cultural center of the southern part of Russia and the greatest seaport on the Black Sea. Historically, the economy was based on private businesses. Prosperous private businesses made Odessa a dissident in the old feudal Russia. The unique position of the city established it as a vital trade link between the West and the East. The growth in importance of Russia's external trade through the Black Sea in the 19th century made way for the establishment of a big trade port center and for the development of Odessa into an advanced European city.
Odessa is the 3rd largest city in Ukraine, the most important city for trade and the 2nd most popular city for tourism in Ukraine. It is the largest city along the entire Black Sea. Many years ago, Odessa was once after Moscow and St. Petersburg, the 3rd leading trading city in old Russia. Odessa is the most important port of Ukraine. With its beautiful harbor on the Black Sea, Odessa has become Ukraine's southern window to Europe and an important cultural center.
In addition to the importance of the seaport, the city's industries include ship building, oil refining, chemicals, metal working and food processing. Odessa is also the home of a Ukrainian naval base and many fishing fleets.Odessa is situated on terraced hills, overlooking a small harbor. The weather is mild and dry with average temperatures in January of 29 F and 73 F in July.
The tourists are attracted by Odessa's scenic boulevards, the 200 steps of the Potyomkin's stairs, the maritime railway, beautiful sandy beaches along the Black Sea, shops, restaurants, numerous new structures, and the unusual classic architecture of old Odessa. The design of Potyomkin's stairs creates somewhat of an optical illusion making the steps seem bigger than their actual size. The upper flights are 44.22 feet (13.4 meters) wide while the lower flights are 71.28 feet (21.6 meters). The stairs' name was taken from the battleship Potyomkin and was to be memorialized in the famous film of that name by the Russian producer Sergei Eizenstein.
Odessa is renowned for its nightlife. Unlike Moscow and Kiev, Odessa is a relatively small city, and all of Odessa's nightlife attractions are easily accessible. People often switch several nightclubs before the dawn. Prices for nightlife entertainment are much lower in Odessa than in Kiev or Moscow. Arcadia district is the best place for summer nightlife in Odessa. Teeming with dozens of discos, nightclubs, and bars, the area provides ample opportunities for visitors of Odessa. There are some famous summer clubs here, such as Assol, which is a large ship-type club, operating as a seafood restaurant all day and during night turning into a wild club with dancers and striptease shows. Itaka is the club designed as an ancient Greek temple, with columns, Greek statues and marble elements that create a unique atmosphere for the guests. The place is very crowded during weekends, and the most popular nightclubs in Odessa are already full by 11pm. You can always sneak in by giving a $10 bill to security guys. In winter, there are many nightclubs in Odessa city centre, as the town is bustling with nightlife. Popularity of nightclubs in Odessa changes often so it's best to ask the locals what is popular at present.
There are many Odessa restaurant options that provide intimate dining for when you want to be close and solitary. Known for its special coffee and American style menus, the “Steakhouse” also boasts catering for business dinners and romantic interludes. The menu is a bit pricey, but the food and ambiance are worth it. There is no shortage of specialty Odessa restaurants; there is something for everyone’s palette available. If you’re looking for a Mexican cuisine, try “Estrellita”. If you have a craving for great fish, try the “Gulf Stream”. Perhaps you require a kosher establishment; in this case there is “Rozmarin”. This is a cosy and modern café providing a traditional Jewish menu. If a Japanese atmosphere is more to your liking, try “Yokogama” where they offer stylish Japanese fair.
As well as the great food there are also great beaches nearby. Lanzheron is a popular Odessa beach among the locals and tourists. As it is located next to Park Schevchenko, one can enjoy the greenery of the park and take a dip in the warm black sea at the same time. This is the closest beach to Odessa's historical centre, about a 15 minute walk from the Opera Theatre. Lanzheron stretches over many different beaches, each with its own unique Odessa flavour. Some are fully equipped while others were left alone in their natural state. There are even numerous water slides available for your entertainment along the water, just in case you get bored while in Odessa. If you get bored, you can visit a large newly built Dolphinarium. The well known the Khutorok Restaurant is perched on the bank nearby offering the panoramic sea views from the terrace. It offers a decent food also.