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Odessa, Ukraine- Your Colorful Travel Destination. Visit Odessa on the Black Sea.

Updated on February 5, 2014

Location of Odessa, Ukraine

The famous Odessa Opera (Opera House)
The famous Odessa Opera (Opera House)
Duke de Richelieu monument
Duke de Richelieu monument
Svyato-Pantelemonovskiy cathedral
Svyato-Pantelemonovskiy cathedral
Odessa University Building
Odessa University Building

Odessa- the Perl by the Sea

Odessa or Odesa (in Ukrainian: Одеса; in Rusian: Oдесса) is a very colorful city located in southern Ukraine. When I say “colorful”, I mean an extraordinary, different from any other place, city which is rich in specific traditions, outstanding ways, inhabited by absolutely hilarious people. Humor of Odessa is something that you will never see or hear in any other part of the world. The population of Odessa is extremely diverse, Odessa is the most cosmopolitan city you can ever visit.

The city is a major seaport located on the northwest shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 (as of the 2001 census).

The origin of the name Odessa is not known. The Turkish name for the district was Yedisan, meaning "nine arrows", and this is a more likely explanation of the name Odessa.

This region was populated sentures ago. A Greece colony is believed to be there, and Crimean Tatars traded there in 14th century. As a city Odessa was established in the eighteen century and quickly developed in the first part of the nineteenth century and in the seventy's of the nineteenth century became the fourth biggest Russian/Ukrainian city. In the beginning of the 20th century Odessa was a site of workers’ uprising (1905). Odessa was occupied by German and Romanian forces from 1941 to 1944 during World War II and suffered heavy damages, also many civilians were killed.

Now Odessa is the largest port on the coast of the Black Sea in the South of Ukraine. It is a major industrial, cultural, scientific center and health resort of high countrywide meaning.

“The southern Palmira”, “The Black Sea Babylon”, “Small Paris”, “The Capital of The South”, "A Perl by the Sea" - these are just a small number of epithets to Odessa!

Odessa is a great place to visit! There are many beautiful beaches and very developed structure of night life, with many disco clubs, cafes and restaurants, different entertainment programs and concerts. Tourists can find in Odessa everything they wish according to their interests and tastes!

One of the attractions for extreme tourism are The Odessa Catacombs (underground tunnels), which represent estimated 2,500 kilometers (1554 miles) of underground labyrinths under the city and surrounding region of Odessa.

These tours are not officially permitted, because the catacombs are not mapped properly and are very dangerous.

The Odessa Catacombs

Approximately 95-97% of the catacombs were the result of mining, when in the beginning 19th century limestone was mined for cheap construction purposes.  Odessa was growing fast and the majority of building sites used limestone extracted from underground.  

Eventually this way of mining caused many inconveniences for the city and it was banned completely after revolution of 1917. 

The net of underground labyrinths served as a hiding sites for Odessa citizens and Soviet partisans during the World War II, when Odessa was occupied (1941-1944) by German and Roman troops.  

Soviet writer Valentin Kataev gave a great account of that time in his book "The Waves of the Black Sea", which is actually a trilogy about life of two Russian boys, their friendship and growing up. 

Duke de Richelieu monument
Duke de Richelieu monument

Potemkinskaya Ladder

One of the most famous places in Odessa is well-known Potemkinskaya Ladder, which has 192 steps and the citizens of Odessa have the legend that if you want to receive enormous luck in your life, you should go down and up the Ladder by your feet, all 192 steps.

When you walk, you will be surprised how the air and landscape changes when you come closer to the sea or go away from it, to the city!

The Ladder was constructed by very famous Odessa leader Vorontsov as a gift for the city and for his wife, Elisabeth.

Construction of this huge ladder has begun in 1837 and finished in 1841. The author of the project was famous architect of that time F. Boffo.

At the top of Potemkinskaya Ladder you can see the Duke de Richelieu monument.

Arcadia beach
Arcadia beach

Odessa is a huge beach resort

The climate in Odessa is famous by its softness and the abundance of sunny days. Thanks to breezes, even in hot days you don't feel the heat.

The resort zone of Odessa is stretched on ten kilometers along the coast of the Black Sea. One of the most popular tourist attractions in Odessa is Arcadia, which is situated on the coast of the sea and includes the system on night clubs, famous beaches and places for summer activities on your taste and works twenty four hours a day in warm season.

On the Odessa coast you can find such beaches as: Luzanovka, Lanzheron, Otrada (Joy), The Dolphin, the group of beaches of Big Fountain, Chernomorka and others.

You also can visit very famous beach "the Gold Coast", it is luxurious beach with soft white sand, lots of small cafes.

I've heard that there is also a nude beach in Odessa. It is situated in the rest zone of Odessa, next to French boulevard, the former aristocratic area of Odessa.

Odessa Mama's phrase pearls

In Odessa people use their own language to communicate. We call it Odessa language.

  • "Listen to here"
  • "Silence your mouth"
  • "Chew well, make your moth empty"
  • "In general, yes. But actually, no".
  • "You, a piece of idiot!"
  • "These are two big differences"
  • “Tell me in what honor do tomatoes cost not a rouble, but a rouble and a half today, in what honor?”
  • “He married Rosa with a verandah and hot water…”

Odessa Mama

The Russian language as spoken in Odessa is a crazy mixture of dialects, as it is influenced by Yddish (a spoken language of European Jews) and Ukrainian language in grammar, vocabulary , and phraseology.

As a result, many phrases sound inherently and uniquely humorous to Russian speakers and constitute a staple of Odessa humor.

The Odessa humor is a notable part of both of Jewish and Russian humor..

Since 1972 Odessa has been hosting the annual festival of humor, Humorina. For this and other reasons Odessa was known as the "capital of humor" in the Soviet Union.

Gambrinus, the real beer bar

My fellow hubber iriaalec reminded me about an interesting place you should visit in Odessa- a beer bar Gambrinus.

It is one of the oldest beer bars in Odessa. This pub, opened in 1883, was described by Kuprin in the story of the same name. Nobody can't tell exactly how old the contemporary building housing this bar is. There are heavy oak barrels instead of tables and small kegs instead of chairs. If you are coming to Odessa - be certain to visit "Gambrinus". The air here is really filled with Odessa color and vividness. Traditional European cuisine, excellent beer. Live music every evening.

You will find this place easily, it is situated on Deribasovskaya street, a famous Odessa walking street in the center of the city.

By the way, if you are visiting New York, NY try to find there bar "Gambrinus" in a region called "Little Odessa" on Brighton Beach. It not the same, of course, but....

You haven’t seen Odessa if you haven’t visited Privoz.

A trip to the Odessa Privoz Market is a must.

This massive ‘farmer’s’ market is one of the biggest markets in the world.

It is filled with both new and old items – cheap bargains and pricey luxuries.

Even if you do not want to spend much money shopping, a visit to the Privoz Market is recommended since it is an excellent way to experience the local culture.

Privoz is even more colorful that an Eastern market.

According to the history books, the Privoz farmer’s market started in 1827 when wares were first sold from the back of several horse-driven carts in Privoznaya Street.


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    • profile image

      David Gage 

      4 years ago

      thank you for sharing this post, really Odessa is very colorful city of Ukraine. there are many places of travel like, Odessa Beach, Privoz Market etc.

    • ReuVera profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from USA

      James, thank you for stopping; it is always a pleasure to hear from you.

      Odessa is something special, different from any other city you've visited!

      Here, where I live, in a small town in Wisconsin, there is a woman whose name is Odessa. Her parents (or grandparents, not sure) were from Ukraine and actually named her after a city of Odessa.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      7 years ago from Chicago

      I very much enjoyed this journey to Odessa with you today. The very name sounds exotic to me and you have satisfied my curiosity about the city and its environs. Thank you for this pleasure!

    • ReuVera profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from USA

      irina, I was in Odessa several times but all when I was under drinking age. I've never been in Gambrinus, but i heard about this pub and I think I will add it to the hub. Thank you.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Have you ever been in the pub called Gambrinus? I had been in the pub long ago and don't know if it still exist . But it was a really very famous place for odessists and not only for them.There were drinking beer , eating dry fish-volbla and listening to violonists. Violonists were playing greatly. I lived not far near Odessa and visited all the resort places near Odessa quite often.

    • ReuVera profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from USA

      suzie, you should! Let's go there! I love Black Sea and Odessa is never boring.

    • suziecat7 profile image


      8 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Looks like a place I should have visited in my traveling days. Enjoyed this Hub.

    • ReuVera profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from USA

      Thanks, Vladimir.

    • Vladimir Uhri profile image

      Vladimir Uhri 

      8 years ago from HubPages, FB

      Great hub.


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