When did Odessa become part of Ukraine

Odessa - pearl on the Black Sea coast

Catherine the Great and Odessa

With the Peace of Jassy in 1792, the country around Odessa fell from the Ottoman to the Russian Empire. In the place of today's Odessa there were settlements, but nothing like a big city. Tsarina Catherine the Great had big plans for this position. Not only should a large, European-looking city be built, but also the largest port in the Black Sea.

The hinterland of Odessa has very fertile black earth soils. This part of Ukraine is still the breadbasket of the region today. Catherine the Great wanted to do large-scale trade from here and ship the grain. So she built a city and a port out of the ground in the middle of the steppe, similar to what was done in St. Petersburg. The hinterland, however, remained steppe, so that this city appeared like a mirage.

City with a special flair

Because of this remote location, Odessa was partly a place of exile to which unpopular but famous poets were sent. Most did not find the exile so bad. Because the port made the city much more open than other cities.

Strangers arrived here, and St. Petersburg, the capital of the time, was 14 days away. The Russian poet Alexander Pushkin came to Odessa in 1823/24 as part of his exile. It seemed to him as if "you breathe all of Europe here".

Of course, the Soviet era also left its mark on Odessa. Nevertheless, in the old core, the style that Catherine the Great dictated by having leading European architects build the city predominates in the old core. In addition, the climate and vegetation do the rest to give the city a southern flair.

Numerous sights

One of the special sights is the Potemkin Staircase, which director Sergej Eisenstein set a monument in his film "Battleship Potemkin". These 142-meter-long stairs lead up 192 steps from the harbor to the old town.

The architect Francesco Boffo used a perspective trick to make the stairs look extremely long from below. The steps below are much wider than above, so that the stairs are visually elongated. Viewed from above, however, the stairs appear banal, because from above all the steps look the same width.

Another attraction is the Odessa Opera. After the original building burned down, a new neo-baroque opera was built, the hall of which is famous for its excellent acoustics.

The Odessa Catacombs are also a tourist attraction. The network of underground passages dates back to when the city was founded. During the Second World War, the catacombs served partisans as a shelter.

Author: Christiane Gorse

As of March 27, 2018, 4:35 pm