The Ukrainian resort town of Odessa, or Odesa as Ukrainians prefer to spell it, is situated on the coast of the Black Sea. This location means you can enjoy longer summers here, but Odessa has lots to offer travellers, come rain or shine.
Stroll along the streets of the town to see beautiful neo-baroque buildings. Stop in one of the many cafés, which fill the streets in summer. Film fans should not miss walking down the Potemkin Steps, which were made famous in Eisenstein's movie The Battleship Potemkin. If you enjoy opera and ballet, Odessa is the place for you; the beautiful theatres offer high-class performances at a very reasonable price.
If you prefer to avoid the crowds, head to the catacombs. These tunnels go for miles under the town -- nobody knows how long the network is in total!
The city was originally part of the Ottoman Empire but became part of the Russian Empire after the Russo-Turkish War of 1792. Catherine the Great transformed the city and it became the place to be seen in during pre-revolutionary Russia. Many high-ranking officials of the Soviet Union holidayed here, and following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Odessa became one of the premier resorts of independent Ukraine.
Things to Do
Although it is known as a holiday resort, Odessa has more to offer than just its beaches. Here are some suggestions:
Stride up the steps
One of the main sights is the Potemkin Steps. This staircase of 192 steps stretches from the town to the port side. It was made famous by the film director Eistenstein. Various film directors have paid homage to this scene including Francis Ford Copola in his Godfather film. Other city sights to see include the Museum of Western and Eastern Art and the Vorontsovs'kyi Palace.
During the Second World War, people hid from the occupying forces underground. The tunnels, which were created when rock was quarried to build the city, run for miles underground. It is claimed that some people have gone missing after straying from the set paths! The entrance is 12 kilometres from the town in Nerubaysk village.
A night of culture
If you are a culture vulture, you will enjoy the opera, ballet and musicals in the city's theatres. Tickets can be bought at very reasonable prices. Look out for the small ticket booths dotted around the town.
Calendar of Events
Odessa is an active city with numerous events throughout the year. As the numbers of tourists increase in the summer, so do the number of events.
International Film Festival. This annual festival has been held every July since 2010. The organisers want to make it the equivalent of Cannes for the region. Over 110 films are shown during the nine days. See more here [http://oiff.com.ua/en/index.htm].
Jazz Festival. This open-air jazz festival is held annually in September. The concerts are held in the city park and on the beach. See more at [http://www.jazzinodessa.com/].
Odessa Marathon. Active travellers may wish to see the sights while they run. The annual Odessa Marathon is the perfect opportunity to combine both. It is held annually in March. See more at [http://odessamarathon.com/en/].