The City of Odessa is often referred to as "The Pearl of the Black Sea".
Odessa is a beautiful city on the Black Sea coast that 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 in 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 1.1 million. It is a cosmopolitan city with 150,000 tourists each year from all over the world. In the summer, they relax along 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 sampling 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 35 minibus routes.
History of Odessa Odessa was founded in 1794 by Catherine the Great. In 1803, Tsar Alexander I appointed 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 statesmanship, both in Russia and abroad. His statue now points out to the sea, clothed inexplicable in a toga, presumably to indicate the source of Odessa's wealth.
By 1820, Odessa had become an important commercial, industrial and cultural center in 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 today 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. Odessa averages only 35 cm (14 in) of precipitation annually. Odessa has many therapeutic resorts. Modern Odessa is a city rebuilding itself, and its downtown is slowly being revitalized.
Odessa looks more like a city located on the Mediterranean, having been heavily influenced by French and Italian architectural styles. Odessa has always had a spirit of freedom, probably endowed by its ability to accept many different peoples. The city is constantly hosting exhibits, symposia, and conferences. It is the site of consulates and trade missions of many countries and many cultural exchange societies are active in the city.
The city has more local character than any other city in Ukraine. People of Odessa are very famous for their sharp wit and canny trading abilities. The tourists are attracted by Odessa's scenic boulevards, the 200 steps of 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.