Tourist Information on the City of Odessa, Ukraine
Such eloquent sobriquets as "Pear of the Black Sea"
or the "Western Gate of the (former) Soviet Riviera" have
long been used to describe the Ukrainian seaside city of Odessa
(population 1.1 million), the old Soviet Union's most culturally
The inclination to wax poetic about Odessa is perhaps the legacy
of a long line of writers and poets who for centuries have flocked
to the distant landing on the Black Sea. Many, such as Gogo and
Gorki, came of their own volition to experience the quickened place
and exotic mixture of people. Others, such as Pushkin, were exiled
here by a czarist regime that used the distant city (532 miles/851
km from Moscow) as a sort of sultry Siberia of the southwest. A
political dissident could have been sentenced to a fate worse than
Odessa has enchanted visitors for hundreds of years, pleasing even
the crusty Mark Twain, who unexpectedly visited this port city when
his steam cruiser Quaker City made a stop to reload with
coal. He said the Odessa of the late 1860s looked, surprisingly,
"like an American city." Indeed, Odessa is admired not
for its sweeping history and its link to an ancient, fabled past,
but for its energy and vitality. People visit Odessa not for its
ancient architecture (the city's oldest surviving buildings were
erected in the 18th and 19th centuries) but to see lovely seascapes,
vibrant street scenes, and bustling markets, and to meet the city's
Odessa is at once a melting pot and mishmash of nationalities,
and commercial citadel where buying low and selling high was the
rule (albeit under the table) long before perestroika, and
a raunchy seaport where sailors from scores of foreign ports carouse
until the wee hours. The city's population is remarkable for its
diversity: Russians, Jews, Bulgarians, Armenians, Azerbaijanis,
Gypsies, Turks, Greeks, Moldavians, and Ukrainians have long made
this their home.
It is for its sizable Jewish population, however, that the city
is perhaps best known. Odessa was for centuries a center of Jewish
life and culture. In the years before World War II, more than a
half of the city's citizenry was Jewish. But the history of the
Jewish people of Odessa is marred with tragedy and violence. Few
have forgotten the pogroms that were inflicted on Odessa's Jews
by the czarist regime in the 1880s, and again in the years preceding
the Russian Revolution. Thousands of Jews also where massacred or
deported during the Axis Powers' occupation of Odessa during World
War II. Under the Soviet regime, the practice of Judaism (along
with all other religions) was suppressed. In recent years, however,
organized Jewish religious and community life in Odessa was revived
under perestroika and have flourished since Ukraine's declaration
of independence. Odessa today has Ukraine's largest and most cohesive
Jewish community. However, as the nation's economic and political
woes have mounted, bringing them the fear of resurgence in anti-Semitism,
many of Odessa's Jews have emigrated to more economically stable
countries. As a result, the city is facing a decrease in its Jewish
community and a serious case of brain drain, as skilled workers,
merchants, and professionals depart for Israel, Europe, and the
Though hardly traces of them remain, there have been settlements
on the site that is now Odessa since the Middle Ages. First there
was Kotsubievo, a Slav village that flourished due to its proximity
to the Danube, Dnieper, and South Bug rivers, which brought goods
from the steppes and northern regions. In the 14th century, the
village was sacked by the Tatars, who rebuilt it and named it Khadzhibei.
In 1764 the Tatars gave way to the Turks, who built a fortress here
as a bulwark against the Poses and the more threatening, enterprising
Russians to the north.
But it was only a matter of time, however, before the colossal
powers flanking this region asserted their control. The Russians
arrived first, taking the fortress with a detachment of soldiers
and Zaporozhian Cossacks in 1789. Recognizing the site's strategic
and economic importance, Alexander Suvoruv, the great Russian military
officer, wasted no time in building a fortress and a naval port
at the request of Catherine the Great.
The following year the city was renamed after the ancient Greek
settlement of Odessos, which was thought to have been located nearby.
The very existence of Odessos has been questioned; many claim it
was in Bulgaria.
One name closely linked to Odessa's past is that of the Duc de
Richelieu, the city's first governor, who later become Prime Minister
of France. Often called Odessa's founding father, Armand Emmanuel
de Plessis Richelieu (1766-1822), a descendant of the famous 17th-century
cardinal, came to czarist Russia at the beginning of the French
Revolution, soldiered for Catherine the Great, and commissioned
many major buildings and organized institutes and schools, and under
his tutelage the city expanded rapidly. Odessa's link to Richelieu
only adds to the city's worldly flair. A statue of the duke, by
sculptor I.P. Martos, was the first monument erected in the city
(1828). It stands on the best - and perhaps most visited - spot
in the city: the very top of the Potemkin Staircase.
The rapid growth of rail transportation brought even more rapid
growth to Odessa. Since the city is located at the confluence of
three major rivers and the Black Sea, it is ideally situated as
an outlet for the export of the fruits of the Ukrainian breadbasket,
and the city enjoyed free port status for most of the first half
of the 19th century. In addition, Odessa's climate permits use of
its port year-round; the rivers' ice is never too thick for marine
transport even during a deep freeze.
By the mid-19th century Odessa was czarist Russia's third city,
eclipsed in industrial importance only by Moscow and St. Petersburg.
The city's vitality attracted Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852), who wrote
his masterpiece Dead Souls here; satirist Ilya Ilf (1897-1937),
who co-authored The Twelve Chairs; and the revolutionary
writer Maxim Gorky (1868)1936), who wrote on Odessa's docks as a
stevedore, a period of his life later chronicled.
And then there was Pushkin. It cannot be said that the great Russian
bard came to Odessa willingly, since he was banished to this southern
hinterland by the czar for his controversial and contemptuous poetry.
As it turned out, sending the resilient Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837)
to Odessa was like exiling Hemingway to Spain. Pushkin did some
of his best writing here, completing The Fountain of Bakhchisaray
and more than two dozen other poems. He also worked on The Gypsies,
about Moldavian Gypsies (he was exiled to Moldavia too), and completed
three chapters of Eugene Onegin, his epic work, which makes
ample reference to his life in Odessa. Pushkin enjoyed his punitive-yet-productive
stay in Odessa. And judging from the many monuments, plaques, and
busts in his honor, and the fact that his former residence has been
turned into a museum, Odessa was rather pleased with its prisoner.
Among the 30,000 workers of Odessa's port, railways, and burgeoning
factories, the first proletarian and revolutionary organization
in czarist Russia - the Union of Russian Workers of the South -
was founded. This group joined with the mutineers of the Potemkin
- a battleship in the czar's Black Sea fleet that was the subject
of the eponymous 1925 film classic by Russian director Sergei Eisenstein
- in the abortive revolution of 1905, which V. I. Lenin later called
the Great Rehearsal. The pogroms followed immediately, causing nearly
13 percent of the city's then population of 600,000 to flee.
After the Russian Revolution, Odessa suffered greatly in the ensuing
Civil War between the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. The city changed
hands several times, one-third of its houses were destroyed, and
its population diminished considerably.
There followed a period of relative calm and prosperity until Odessa
was forced to endure a 69-day siege by the Nazis in 1941. The city
was one of the first towns to be bombed and invaded in World War
II as the Germans moved quickly across the steppes toward Leningrad
(now again called St. Petersburg) and Moscow. The city withstood
considerable damage and after the war, it was accorded, along with
three other cities (Leningrad, Sevastopol, and Volgograd), the title
of Hero City by degree of the Soviet government.
Today Odessa remains one of Ukraine's most culturally colorful
cities, a legacy of the writers, performers, musicians, and royalty
who lived or visited here. The city is in a well-reputed wine region
and is the site of a champagne distillery and the Institute of Viniculture
and Wine Making. Odessa's film studio is among the best in the country,
and the end-of-summer Odessa Film Festival - a sort of Cannes
of Eastern Europe - is a must-attend event should you happen to
be in town.
Odessa's history of thriving enterprise has left the city with
some splendid architecture from the 18th and 19th centuries and
a multifaceted, irrepressible spirit. A random glance at almost
any street turns up a cornucopia of people - young mothers, old
sailors, children, tourists, beggars, and vendors hawking foreign
goods and hard-to-get fruits and vegetables. The atmosphere is raw
and uninhibited, befitting a busy and spirited harbor city, and
the welcome extended to visitors is forthright and unabashed.
Odessa at a Glance
Seeing the city: Everything you will want to see and do is within
walking distance (or a short drive) from the picturesque working
harbor, the sine qua nons of Odessa's colorful and animated street
scenes. From the top of the Potemkin Staircase, where it meets Primorsky
Bulvar, is a 180 degree panorama of Odessa's port, among the largest
on the Black Sea. Next to the steps is a covered escalator that
ascends a hill to a perch that affords a spectacular view of the
Note: The following information on sights and sites was
accurate as we went to press, but it is more than possible that,
given the current political situation, more statues may be toppled,
streets and squares renamed, and hotels and restaurants changed
hands as Ukraine adjusts to its independence. Although street names
and the names of other landmarks are slowly being changed from Russian
to Ukrainian, the street signs are still in Russian and the Russian
names are still more commonly used by locals. Russian translation,
therefore, appear throughout this chapter. Ulitsa means "street"
in Russian; naberezhnaya means "avenue"; bulvar
or prospect mean "boulevard"; and ploshchad
Special places: The Catacombs - No visit to Odessa is complete
without a romp through the catacombs. Since sandstone was quarried
from beneath the city in the early 19th century for use in many
buildings, there are over 500 miles of tunnels, caves, and catacombs
that have been used by smugglers, revolutionaries, and, later, as
a command post for the resistance to the Nazi forces during World
War II (there is a model of the command headquarters in the local
History Museum). The Nazis, interestingly, never occupied
these caves. At one time the caves contained an underground print
shop. There are many entrances and many exits to the catacombs,
and some passages (containing the remains of soldiers and their
munitions) have only recently been discovered. Most of the entrances
are on Mount Shevakhovo. The catacombs must be visited with a guide.
Call Intourist for tour information (phone: 259383) or check with
Potyomkinskaya Lestnitsa (Potemkin Staircase) - The city's Eiffel
Tower, this is the site of the most dramatic and memorable scene
in the 1925 film Potemkin, and Odessa's most visited and
best-known landmark. Built between 1837 amd 1841 and originally
designed to be the main gateway to the city, the Potemkin Staircase
is an architectural masterpiece, a long and wide stone stairway
that consists of 192 steps that sharply descend from a row of places
down to the harbor. In the Eisenstein film, czarist soldiers massacred
a crowd on these steps as they made their way to the mutineers of
the Prince Potemkin Taurichevsky, a battleship that was part
of the czar's fleet moored in the bay and that took part in the
1905 revolution (the ship's crew had joined the city's workers in
the revolt). Though Eisenstein later admitted that the confrontation
on the steps was purely fictional, they are still a premier tourist
attraction because of the film. The steps were built narrower at
the top than the bottom to give the illusion of greater length;
they lead to Primorsky Bulvar, Odessa's main seaside promenade.
Sitting proudly at the top of the stairs, appearing always at the
ready, but actually hardly able to shoot, is a cannon used in the
Crimean War that was taken from the Tiger, a sunken British
frigate, when it was recovered from the bottom of the sea.
Primorsky Bulvar (Seaside Boulevard) - Lying just beyond
the Potemkin Staircase, this delightful seaside promenade is a nerve
center of Odessa. Some of the city's best-known landmarks are found
along its path: the Duke of Richelieu Monument, Vorontsov Place,
Town Hall, and the Pushkin Monument. Nearby are Kommunarov Ploshchad
(Commune Square), which is surrounded by a charming cluster of buildings
that were designed by Tomas de Thomon, who built the famous St.
Petersburg Stock Exchange; the Arkheologicheskyj Muzei
(Archaeological Museum; see Museums below); and the Sailor's
Palace, the former residence of the Commandant of Odessa.
Pushkin Monument - Opposite the Town Hall on the southern end of
Primorsky Bulvar this monument is dedicated to Alexander
Pushkin, Russia's greatest poet. The dates 1820-1824 engraved on
the monument are the years Pushkin lived on and off in Odessa, both
by choice and when he was forced into exile. During this time he
penned The Fountain of Bakhchisaray (in which he wrote of
Odessa in rather raving prose); several chapters of his epic, Eugene
Onegin; and a slew of lyric poems. The house in which he lived
(13 Pushkinskaya Ulitsa) is now the headquarters of the Ukrainian
Gorodskaya Meriya (Town Hall) - The seat of the Odessa City
Council is a good example of the 19th-century classical architecture;
it is elaborately adorned with statues depicting Mercury, the Greek
messenger of the gods, and Ceres, the Greek goddess of agriculture.
The large clock on the face of the building bears sculpted figures
personifying night and day. Primorsky Bulvar.
Vorontsovsky Dvorets (Vorontsov Place) - Built in 1827 in
classical Russian style, this palace was once the residence of Count
Vorontsov, who served as Pushkin's guardian while the poet lived
and worked (he was employed as a civil servant) here in exile. Pushkin
considered Vorontsov to be a harsh chaperone and taskmaster, describing
him as a "vandal, a cad, and a petty egoist," in letters
to the writer Ivan Turgenev. The flamboyant Pushkin - known for
his philandering - had an affair with Vorontsov's wife (perhaps
history's most definitive case of "poetic justice"). Vorontsov
was Governor of Novorossiisk (New Russia), a region that surrounded
Odessa. His palace became the headquarters of the Odessa Soviet
(a sort of city hall) after the Bolshevik Revolution, and later
was restored to and became the Palace of Pioneers. Located at the
far northeastern end of Primorsky Bulvar.
Park imeni Tarasa Shevtchenka (Taras Shevchenko Park) -
Named for the beloved 19th-century Ukrainian poet, this is a lush
and restful oasis in the city. On the park's 225 acres is a bathing
beach (caution: within city limits the Black Sea is said to be heavily
polluted); a monument to Bohdan Khmelinitsky (the Ukrainian Cossack
leader who signed a union treaty with Russia in 1654); the 40,000-seat
Avangard Stadium, and open-air theater; and boat rental stations
with rowboats for hire. But the park's real gem is its heart-fluttering
view of the Black Sea. On the extreme northeast corner of the park
are the remains of the Odessa Fortress built by the Russians in
Port of Odessa - Odessa's warm-water port is both the city's pulse
and its cash cow. Many of Odessa's residents make their living in
some way through the sea, and ships from various countries regularly
dock here, adding to the town's cosmopolitan bent. Before the advent
of cranes and mechanized loading and stacking machinery, hundreds
of burly men could be seen toiling from warehouse to ship. Although
two new seaports northeast and south of Odessa now handle the bulk
of commercial cargo, there is much activity still. One of the best
vantage points from which to take in the port scene - and the semicircular
bay - is from the top of the Potemkin Staircase.
Deribasovskaya Ulitsa - Odessa's main commercial district,
this is arguably the city's liveliest thoroughfare. Nearly every
building is a café or restaurant, store or hotel. The street's
energy is due in no small part to the presence of Mechnikov State
University. Also here is Richelieu College, where Pushkin studied
during his exile, and where Dmitry Mendeleyev, the scientist who
created the Periodic Table of Elements, taught in the 1850s. The
street, laced with several gardens and parks, leads to Preobrazhenskaya
Ploshchad, formerly the Square of the Soviet Army, where a bust
of Count Vorontsov stands in one corner.
Uspensky Sobor (Assumption Cathedral) - This Russian Orthodox
Church incorporates Russian and Byzantine styles of architecture,
and it houses the reputedly miracle-working icon of Our Lady of
Kasperovskaya. The five-dome cathedral was completed in 1869. Preobrazhenskaya
Extra special: Odessa's most attractive feature is its close proximity
to scores of resorts and other vacation havens along the Black Sea
and the Crimea, a peninsula that juts out into the sea. One of the
restful oases to be found in this area is Yalta, the resort town
made famous by the summit meeting held here in 1945. Yalta is best
reached by water; boat cruises pass by the majestic fortress at
Savastopol and the quaint resorts along the southern coast of the
Crimea. Crimean boat tours usually begin at Simferopol, the regional
capital, which is 60 miles (96 km) from Yalta. You also can take
a helicopter that seats 10 people, go by bus, or rent a car.
Sources and Resources
Tourist information: The local Intourist office is at Politzeyskaya
Luksemburg Ulitsa (phone: 259383).
Note: Economic turmoil, including frequent and steep price increases
on many goods and services, make it impossible to provide accurate
information on prices, including the cost of basic services such
as public transportation and the telephone. In addition, at press
time Ukraine was set to introduce its own national currency, the
hryvnia, to replace the ruble, and its value had not yet
Telephone: It is now possible to dial directly from the U.S. The country
code for Ukraine is 7. The city code for Odessa is 048. To place a
call from a public pay phone in Odessa, place the coin in the slot
on the top of the machine, dial the number, and when you get an answer
wait for the coin to drop before you begin to speak. Check locally
for the correct coin denomination. Long distance calls from Odessa
are best handled through your hotel's service bureau. It is advisable
to check first on the rates and in which currency you are expected
to pay. From a pay phone, dial 812 for a long-distance operator.
Getting around: Airport - Odessa's airport is about 10 miles (16
km) north of the center of the city. Aeroflot makes connections
to many former Soviet cities. The Aeroflot office in Odessa
is at 17 Yekaterininskaya Ulitsa.
Car rental - Cars, with or without a driver, may be rented at the
Chorne More Hotel (59 Lenina Ulitsa; phone 242024 or 242025).
Check with your hotel service bureau for the names of joint venture
car rental agencies (which may have Western autos). Travel by rental
car is an excellent way to visit the various resorts along the Black
Boat - Check with Intourist (phone: 259383) for details
on the various cruise and boat trips up the Dnieper River or along
the Black Sea. Boat tickets can be purchased at 7 Primorsky Bulvar.
Bus - Virtually every inch of pavement in Odessa is served by bus
routes. Tickets can be purchased at kiosks, which are located on
nearly every street corner. Just say adyen billet pazjolsta (one
ticket please). Bus maps are usually available at kiosks.
Taxi - Cabstands are located at the hotels and the major intersections
throughout the city. Unofficial (free enterprise) taxis will require
fare negotiations prior to heading off.
Train - There are many rail connections between Odessa and various
cities of the former Soviet Union. The train station is located
at Privoskzanlanya Ploshchad. Train tickets can be purchased daily
at 2 Shorsa Ulitsa between 9 AM and 6 PM, and must be paid for in
hard currency (unless you can convince newly made friends to buy
a ticket for you in local currency).
Local services: Dentist - Most hotels have special contracts with
dentists to handle emergencies. Inquire at your hotel for more information.
Dry cleaning - At all major hotels. Dry cleaning can take from
6 hours to 2 or 3 days.
Limousine service - Contact the Chorne More Hotel (59 Lenina
Ulitsa; phone: 242031 or 242024). A number of Western cars, including
Mercedes Benz, are available.
Medical emergencies - The Peragov Medical Institute (2 Medicinski
Ulitsa) handles emergencies. The medical emergency telephone number
Messenger service - Available, for a fee, from any of the majors
National/International Courier - DHL International is offered
through major hotels. The local DHL office is at 47 Lenina Ulitsa
Office equipment rental - Available at the larger hotels.
Pharmacy - Call 09 for the dejourni aptheki (all-night pharmacy)
or ask at your hotel for the one nearest you.
Photocopiers - Available at the Chorne More, Delphin, and
Post office - The main post office (10 Ssadovaya Ulitsa) is open
24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Telegrams and telex messages may
be sent from here.
Tailor - Inquire at your hotel for the closest tailor.
Telex - At the main post office (see above) and at the Chorne
More, Delphin, and Krasnaya hotels. The Chorne More
and Delphin also have public fax facilities.
Translator - Available through major hotels and Intourist
(special Intourist phone number for translation services:
Special events: April 1, April Fool's Day (Prima Aprilis
in Ukrainian, Dyen Pervoho in Russian), is celebrated with
a carnival and variety shows in the city's streets and concert halls.
The annual Odessa Film Festival takes place toward the end
of the summer.
Museum: Odessa, which is foremost a commercial city, has never
been accused of having more museum curators than merchants. Most
art and sculptures in this fast-paced city are mobile, moving from
one owner to another in a commercial transaction. But what museums
the city does have are worthwhile. The following are several of
the more interesting:
Arkheologicheskyj Muzej (Archaeological Museum) - An engaging
collection of objects that describe the life and culture of the
people who lived on the northern shore of the Black Sea until the
13th century. There also is an excellent display of Greek and Egyptian
artifacts. The "Golden Depository" is a grand permanent
exhibit of ancient jewelry, medals, and coins. Open daily 10 AM
to 5:30 PM at 4 Lastochkina Ulitsa.
Muzej Morskogo Flota (Marine Museum) - Artifacts, displays,
and models of marine life found in and on the Black Sea and, specifically,
at the port of Odessa. Open 10 AM; closed Thursdays. 6 Lastochkina
Muzej Zapadnoho I Vostochnoho Iskustva (Museum of Western
and Oriental Art) - This museum's 23 halls fall into three categories:
antiques (mainly reproductions); Western European art, including
a painting attributed to Caravaggio; and Oriental art; including
Persian miniatures and handicrafts from India and the Far East.
Open daily 10:30 AM to 5:30 PM; closed Wednesdays. 9 Pushkinskay
Odesskij Chudozhestvennij Muzej (Odessa Art Museum) - Houses
one of Ukraine's largest collections of Ukrainian and Russian art,
from the 15th to 18th-century icons to contemporary painting, sculpture,
and graphics. Open 10 AM to 6 PM; closed Tuesdays. 5A Korolenko
Pushkinskaya Muzej (Pushkin Museum) - The great Russian
poet lived in this former inn, called the Hotel du Nord,
when he first was exiled to Odessa. The building dates from 1812,
but was restored after war damage caused in 1941. The museum collection
consists mainly of portraits of the beloved bard. Open 11 AM to
5 PM; closed Wednesdays. 13 Pushkinskaya Ulitsa.
Shopping: With Odessa's thriving black market, it's possible to
finish your souvenir shopping without entering a single store. And
in a country where demand consistently trounces supply, even aboveboard
shopping more closely resembles the body bumping of sumo wrestling
than the relatively tame sport we consider it to be in the West.
Lingering too long over an item in a crowded shop without snatching
it up only invites a blitz of body slams and elbow throwing from
manic shoppers who rush the display case in droves. Even though
customs may confiscate your beloved purchases upon exiting the country
(check with Intourist before you buy antiques, art, jewelry,
or anything else of cultural significance), you will nevertheless
have sharpened your shopping skills.
Deribasovskaya Ulitsa is one of the main shopping thoroughfares.
Podarki (33 Deribasovskaya Ulitsa) is a typical old Soviet-style
souvenir shop that occasionally carries nice pieces of handmade
jewelry and a variety of inexpensive Ukrainian and Russian items
like ceramic mugs, woodenware, and other gift items. The Dam
Knygy (Book and Music Shop; 25 Deribasovskaya Ulitsa) has an
above average music department. Ceramics patterned after ancient
Greek vases - perhaps the best-known Odessan souvenirs - are sold
at the private stands set up in the parks along Deribasovskaya.
The throngs of people you'll see at the Tsentralnyj Magazin
(Central Department Store; 75 Deribasovskaya Ulitsa), however, are
much more engaging than any of the merchandise found inside. The
section labeled "souvenir," on the first floor, should
be your main focus since it consists of a cluster of cooperative
shops selling tourist-type gifts. Look for the long lines at the
counters with a swarm of patrons to target things actually worth
buying. But unless you speak Ukrainian or Russian or observe what
is being bought, you may spend 45 minutes in line for toothpaste.
The best strategy is to wander from counter to counter. Beyond
Deribasovskaya, the Tsentralnyj Univermag (Central Department
Store; 75 Pushkinskaya Ulitsa) has been known to yield an occasional
treasure, despite its uninspired name. Art lovers may want to drop
in on any one of several art galleries (cooperative and private)
on Lastochkina Ulitsa, around the corner from Ukraina
Sports and fitness: Like most of the cities along the Black Sea,
physical pursuits in Odessa usually involve more fitness than sport
- unless you consider sunbathing and taking medicinal baths competitive
events. Odessa has a slew of beaches (though the water, so close
to an industrial port, is said to be heavily polluted). One of the
better spots is at Chernomorka, about 12 miles (19 km) from Odessa,
which features a quartz sand beach. There is a café and a
number of therapeutic treatment centers for children at this resort,
which was formerly the German settlement of Lustdorf. The golden
beach at Arkadiya Park, in the city's western region, is an ideal
place to catch some rays. There is a summer theater there, plus
a restaurant and an entrance to the catacombs.
There are more than 30 resorts (known here as rest homes), medicinal
baths, and therapeutic beauty spas in the Odessa area that feature
the mud and hydro treatments so popular in the countries along the
Black Sea. Locals say that the secret ingredients in Odessa's water
are the magnesium, lime, iodine, and bromine. The mud is rich in
sulfur and purportedly is effective in the cure of rheumatic, nervous,
and skin disorders. Try the Kuyalnitsky resort, located about 8
miles (13 km) from the city center, where a spa, mud baths, and
lake with the most concentrated salt solution (up to 27%) of any
in the Odessa area are the attractions. Also of interest is the
Lemontovsky resort, located on the avenue of the same name, where
there is a large park, rheumatic treatment center, and a terrace
that leads down to the sea.
Theater: The Russkyj Dramatycheskyj Teatr Ivanova (Ivanov
Drama Theater; 48 Karl Liebknecht Ulitsa) features Russian-language
classics and some new works, with performances nightly. Next door
is a musical comedy theater. The Teatr Yunogo Zritelya imeni
Nikolaya Ostrovskogo (Ostrovsky Youth Theater; 12 Tchaikovsky
Naberezhnaya) is named after the Russian playwright. Musicalna
Comedia (3 Ezizekova Ulits) features modern operettas in Ukrainian,
Italian, and other languages. Odessa is a good place to succumb
to an evening at the circus; the Odessa Circus is one of
the best (25 Podbelsky Ulitsa). The clowns, riders, and animals
Music: The piece de resistance is the Opera and Ballet Theater
(8 Lastochkina Ulitsa), sometimes referred to as the Odessa Opera
House, which was designed in the late
19th century by two Viennese architects and resembles a Vienna or
Dresden court theater. The ceiling is decorated with colorful pastel
scenes from the works of Shakespeare. Some of the greats, including
Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, and Rubinstein, have performed here.
The hall was the original building of the merchant stock exchange
and is one of the most elaborate examples of the 19th-century architecture
in Odessa, built in the Florentine Gothic style. As you tilt your
head back, savoring the hall's sweet acoustics, notice the ceiling
murals, which symbolize trade and industry.
Nightclubs and nightlife: Despite the fact that it's a port city,
nightlife worth noting is hard to find in Odessa. Several hotels
and restaurants offer what passes for entertainment - there are
bars open until about 2 AM at the Chorne More Hotel (59 Lenina
Ulitsa) and at the Londonskaya (11 Primorsky Bulvar) - and
that's about it.
Eating out: Perhaps due to its status as a trader's town, Ukrainian,
Central Asia, Caucasian, and Russian food are all popular here.
Surprisingly (considering the level of entrepreneurship that is
on display here), few cooperative restaurants have cropped up. The
country's dramatically fluctuating economy makes it difficult to
provide accurate prices for restaurants; we suggest that you check
costs - and the operative exchange rate - immediately prior to your
departure. The restaurants listed below accept only local currency
(rubles at present time); none accept credit cards. Reservations
are usually not required in Odessa restaurants (with prices climbing,
fewer local residents can afford to go out to eat anymore). If you
wish to reserve, stop by the restaurant earlier in the day. All
telephone numbers are in the 048 area code unless otherwise indicated.
Café Gorsad - This intimate cooperative features local specialties
such as pork shank and mushrooms baked in cream sauce. Conveniently
located in the center of town. Open daily noon to 11 PM. 6 Chalturyna
Ulitsa (phone: 254664).
Casino - Specialties at this Ukrainian dining establishment include
soodak (roasted pike and perch pieces fried in butter and
served with sour cream sauce and potatoes). There is a variety show
in the evenings. Open 1 PM to 1 AM; closed Mondays. 16 Stantsia
Bolshhogo Fontana (phone: 471582).
Gambrinus - A highly atmospheric beer cellar that's popular for
its basturma (smoked meat) and fish dishes. Open daily 10
AM to 8PM. 31 Deribasovskaya Ulitsa (phone: 212911).
Kavkaz - A cooperative eatery serving Caucasian fare and featuring
a variety show. Open daily noon to 5 PM. 10 Halturina Ulitsa (phone:
Ukraina - This large dining place serves Ukrainian and continental
fare. Variety shows nightly, except Wednesdays and Thursdays. Open
daily 11 AM to 11 PM. 12 Yekaterininskaya Ulitsa (phone: 257105).
U Pechesskago - Another cooperative eatery, this one serves continental
fare and local Jewish specialties. There's a variety show, too.
Open daily noon to 11 PM. Halturina Ulitsa (phone: 250395).
Adapted from the travel guide, Birnbaum's Eastern Europe 1993.