Odesa (Odessa)

Odesa (Odessa)

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Odessa is a large port city on Ukraine's southern coast. It has long been one of the Black Sea's most important shipping centers and it played a historical role in the 1905 revolution, when the mutinous battleship Potemkin Tavrichesky supported rebellious workers.

Nowadays it is a polluted place, although large parts of the city serve as seaside holiday retreats. Odessa's city center is not far southwest of the waterfront. It boasts numerous beautiful low-rise buildings and most streets are lined with lush trees. The city's famous Opera & Ballet Theatre is also located there. The building was designed by Viennese architects, who gave it a Baroque cast with a Renaissance twist. It dates from the 1880's. In the vicinity you'll find the Pasazh, a shopping mall that was built at the end of the 19th century and boasts ornate decorations and rows of Baroque sculptures.

There are several excellent museums in Odessa, most of which are situated in the city center. The Archaeology Museum, which was built in 1875, is probably the most interesting one. It boasts collections of artifacts, such as jewelry and coins, from ancient Black Sea civilizations. The Museum of Maritime History, across the road, has exhibitions on Odessa's shipbuilding and navigation history. There are countless models of ships, as well as all sorts of naval paraphernalia. The nearby Literature Museum holds works of Ukrainian masters like Shevchenko and Franko, as well as their Russian counterparts Chekov, Pushkin, Tolstoy and Gorky. One of Odessa's most famous sights, the huge Potemkin Steps are also in the city center. They were immortalised by Eisenstein in his film Battleship Potemkin in 1925.

Another interesting place to visit is the labyrinth of caves and tunnels, known as the katakombi (catacombs), which were quarried out of the sandstone on which Odessa stands. The material was used to build many of the city's buildings in the 19th century. The total length of the catacombs exceeds 1000 km (620 miles) and it was used as a hideout by smugglers, revolutionaries and WWII partisans. Parts of the tunnels have been converted into museums. For example, the Museum of Partisan Glory in the village of Nerubayske, on Odessa's northwestern edge, consists of a network of tunnels that sheltered partisans in WWII. Guided tours of relics of the partisan occupation are available. The museum can be reached by city bus.

There are countless hotels, apartments, restaurants and bars in Odessa. The city is 445 km south of Kiev.

Because of the current situation in Ukraine it is not recommended to travel to Odesa (Odessa), or any other destination in Ukraine at this moment.


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