Once part an integral part of the Ukraine’s shipping industry, and during the Soviet era the most important USSR port, Odessa is today becoming a tourist destination for international cruise passengers and adventurers alike.
The city, though dark and brooding in some aspects, provides an enchanting look into Ukraine’s troubled history. It is famous for its many therapeutic resorts, and boasts some imposing and elegant architecture ranging from grand palaces to the Uspensky Catherdal.
Odessa, on the shores of the Black Sea, is a cruise port on the up, and keen to shed its image as an industrial wasteland.
Odessa is the site of the famous 192 steps of the Potemkin stairway from Sergei Eisenstein’s film Battleship Potemkin. The Black Sea city is also a centre of renewal of Jewish culture, with a community of 45,000. There is a vast Opera House – one of the world’s largest – whose ceiling is decorated with scenes from Shakespeare’s plays.
Odessa Opera and Ballet Theatre
Odessa Numismatic Museum
Potocki Palace Fine Arts Museum
Ganezh, Novoselskogo Street 60
Tel: +380 4872 88096.
Artwork is the best buy. Top-quality paintings, ceramics and jewellery may be purchased quite cheaply at galleries or direct from artists on the street, particularly at the Souvenir Market on Deribasovskaya Street. Another large market, ‘The 7th Kilometre’ offers a huge range of goods at bargain prices, about 30 minutes by bus from the city centre. Local wine and fashion are also popular.
Odessa is well supplied with cafes and restaurants, offering a good choice for the cruise passenger. Specialities include Borsch (beetroot soup), varenniki (dough containing cheese, meat or fruit) and holubtsi (cabbage rolls). Ukrainian wines are excellent.
When to go:
Moderately continental and comparatively dry. There are more than 290 sunny days each year. Winter is short and mild with an average temperature of around freezing point. Summer is long and hot with an average temperature of 25°C (77°F). Temperatures above 35°C (95°F) are usual in the summer.
3km (1.8 miles).