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Odessa, Ukraine

Odessa, Ukraine

In a city created with an imperial decree by Russia’s Catherine the Great, the heavily influenced Mediterranean influence in Odessa is more reminiscent of a French port instead of a Russian one. Yet Odessa remains distinctly Russian, particularly since many of its inhabitants are Russian. A visit to Odessa illustrates prime examples of Classicist and Art Nouveau styles of architecture, and the romantic tree-lined streets of its old town.

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Odessa, Ukraine

Port of Call

The One Thing You Don't Want To Miss

To immerse yourself in Odessa’s history, go to Primorkiy Boulevard. This is where you’ll find city monuments to two of its founders, Duc de Richelieu and Catherine the Great. The expansive boulevard is lined with trees on both sides, and lead to the Potamkin Steps, which create an optical illusion. From the top down, the steps are invisible, but from the bottom up, only steps can be seen.

Other Fun Things To Do

  • The city’s old town is perfect for a casual stroll, and shows of the resplendent architecture and green spaces that attracted creative minds to Odessa prior to the Russian revolution.
  • Fans of Russian literature have the Alexander Pushkin Museum to walk through. The acclaimed poet and novelist of Eugene Onegin lived in Odessa in 1823, and his apartment now houses a museum that preserves his works.
  • Step back in time and explore the Odessa Archaelogical Museum. An incredible pre-history of the ancient Ukranians who once populated this area of southern Ukraine is on display, along with ancient Greek and Roman exhibits.
  • Discover more than 2,000 km of eerie underground catacombs – one of the world’s largest – with a guided tour at the Museum of Partisan Glory and Catacombs

Get A Taste Of Local Flavor

Borsch is the traditional dish of Ukraine, and is made with beets, dill, potatoes, or any other savory vegetables in season. Try this slow-cooked stew with pampoushki, delicious garlic bread with a bun-like texture. The pakhlava is a must try for lovers of baklava, the Ukranian version of this flaky, nutty dessert, and can be found at restaurants and the Privoz market.

Shopping For Bargains

Woodwork, ceramics, metalwork and other artisanal crafts made by Ukrainian hands at Wheel of History are your best bet for unique souvenirs. Colorful bowls and vibrantly hued toys created from the finest craftsmen and women in the Ukraine are up for grabs here. But by far the most popular place to go for bargains is the Privoz market, a bazaar-like open air market selling everything from local cheeses to shoes and handmade accessories. But beware – Odessan salespeople are notoriously difficult to haggle with, so expect to pay full price for most goods on sale.

Local Currency

The local currency in Odessa is the Ukranian hryvnia (UAH). Exchange money at any banks in Odessa, preferably at the city center, and make sure the cash you exchange is in fairly good condition.

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    Before You Visit

    Learn more about this port city with these tourist information guides.


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