Odessa is only the fourth Ukrainian city in size, but it is the best known after the capital Kiev. Its location on the Northern shore of the Black Sea has made it an important strategic point during wars and a tempting travel destination today. Take a look on the map, browse a few pictures, and you might be convinced already that it is worth a holiday.
As with any large urban surface, there will be much to keep busy a tourist visiting Odessa. Only by knowing that the city has an exit to the sea and beaches on the shoreline, one has already got plenty of ideas to enjoy the time spent here. Although the summers of this climate are hot, the sea provides cool breezes. Not to mention the clean air it offers all throughout the year, major benefit for health. Considered this aspect, you won't have to worry that Odessa is one of those ex-soviet cities of great air pollution and noxious environment.
It is truly surprising to find that this city on former Russian domain has integrated Italian and French architectural styles. The streets feature some of world's best appreciated, like the Renaissance or Classicist styles, Baroque or Art Nouveau. The Potemkin Stairs are a true symbol for the community. These measure 27 meters in height and they seem to take you into the city straight from the sea. The constructions succeeds to illusion the viewers and it appears in the classic movie The Battleship Potemkin, by Sergei Eisenstein.
From the same period as the stairs date the Governor's and Naryshkina's Palaces (19th century), along with the glorious Opera House, a strong rival to those in rich European capitals. The entrance to the Opera House is facing the sea and facilitates a panoramic view. It is impossible not to love this construction for its superb details and structure. The train station is another architectural jewel in light shades, with vaulted windows and statues on the roof.
Prevoz is an established market for any kinds of traders and shoppers, a real kaleidoscope of characters. Anyhow, Odessa in general is a mosaic in itself, one of various ethnic groups or origins. Deribasovskaya Street is ideal for leisure walks and is usually crowded in good weather. The trees lining it have wide foliage and cover with their shade a big portion of the street.
Visiting Odessa can turn a holiday into an exciting adventure if you find out that, underneath the streets and building foundations, there are 2,500 kilometers of catacombs. Because of the sandstone mining, an intricate network of underground tunnels was created, of which the entrance is in the other side of Odessa. This one is beautifully designed and marks the stairs which lead to the tunnels, becoming narrower as you descend. Criminals and partisan rebels used these places to hide, and nowadays these are open to the pubic and curious ones can explore this unusual world. The Odessa catacombs have inspired people to use them as setting for various events, like rock concerts or paintball tournaments.