Odessa, Ukraine

Odessa, Ukraine


Odessa, regional capital in southwest Ukraine, on the Black Sea, (2019) 1.01 million residents.

Third important economic and cultural center of the country (next to Kiev and Kharkiv), Seat of a Ukrainian Orthodox bishop; several universities (including National University [founded 1865], Economic, Agricultural and Marine University, Polytechnic and Medical University), several academies, branch of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, numerous research institutes (including observatory), several museums (including archeology, literary history and Marine Museum) and theater, philharmonic orchestra, film and television studios, botanical and zoological gardens. According to directoryaah, the city is one of the major industrial, financial and transport centers of Ukraine and at the same time a health resort and seaside resort. The leading industrial sector is versatile mechanical and plant engineering (machine tools, construction and agricultural machinery, cranes, chemical plants, electrical engineering, traffic and ship technology), as well as the light and food industry (e.g. Textiles, clothing, shoes, fish processing, dairy products, wines, tea) as well as the chemical industry and metallurgy. Transport hub with airport; The high-sea port complex with the ports in Odessa (largest in Ukraine, founded in 1795) is of paramount importance, Illichivsk in the south and Yuzhne in the east.


From 1794 onwards, Odessa was laid out according to the Central European model. The Potjomkin Staircase (formerly Richelieu Staircase, 1834–41; 192 steps) today connects the cruise port and the old town. In the 19th century numerous buildings in the classical style were built according to plans by French, Italian and Austrian architects: Dreieinigkeitskirche (1808), Palais Potocki (1810, with catacombs and underground grotto), Palais Voronzow (1827–34), Belvedere (1828), Alte Trading stock exchange (1837), opera house (1884–87, by F. Fellner and Hermann Helmer) and until 1914 many representative bourgeois commercial and residential buildings. Evidence of the city expansion (after 1925) are the Filatow eye clinic (1939) as well as industrial and residential buildings. Standardized housing began in 1950.


On the site of today’s Odessa, the small trading post Khadjibej [x-] was built in the Turkish-Ottoman period (15th century) and in 1765 the fortress Eni-Dunja. The city was founded in 1793/94 as a Russian fortress and port after the coastal strip had been conquered in the Russo-Turkish War of 1787-91. In 1795 it was finally named after the Greek town of Odessos (in the 2nd century about 40 km east of it). The rapidly developing city lived from the fleet and trade and was the largest Russian grain export port until the middle of the 19th century; the business was initially mainly in the hands of Greek merchants, after the Crimean War (1853 / 54–56) Jewish entrepreneurs gained a leading position in the grain trade and banking. There were also important Italian, French and German trading houses. Odessa was a center of acculturated Judaism, but was also important for early Zionism (Leo Pinsker [* 1821, † 1891], W. Jabotinsky), for the Yiddish (Mendele Moicher Sforim, Scholem Alejchem), Hebrew (C. N. Bialik) and Russian-Jewish (I.  Babel) literature.

The southern Russian railway construction started from Odessa in 1863; The first spa facilities were established as early as 1830–40. During the Russian Revolution of 1905-07 there were also strikes and political unrest in Odessa; The mutiny on the cruiser “Graf Potjomkin ” in June 1905 is famous. The city was occupied by German troops in 1918 and by British-French troops in 1918/19. Odessa, conquered by Romanian and German troops during the Second World War in October 1941 (afterwards murder or deportation of the Jewish population) was the administrative seat of the Romanian province of Transnistria until it was recaptured by the Red Army in April 1944.

On May 2, 2014, there were bloody clashes between pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian demonstrators, with almost 50 dead and around 200 injured.

Odessa, Ukraine