Geographical position of Odessa
History of the basis of Odessa. Research of military value, geographical and an economic situation of the main seaport of Ukraine. Progress of the tourist industry in city. The famous writers, scientific, musicians and the sportsmen born in Odessa.
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Odessa or Odesa (Ukrainian: Одеса, pronounced ; Russian: Одесса, pronounced is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast (province) located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the northwest shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 (as of the 2001 census).
The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement, was founded by Hacэ I Giray, the Khan of Crimea, in 1240 and originally named after him as "Hacэbey". After a period of Lithuanian control, it passed into the domain of the Ottoman Sultan in 1529 and remained in Ottoman hands until the Ottoman Empire's defeat in the Russo-Turkish War of 1792. The city of Odessa was founded by a decree of the Empress Catherine the Great in 1794. From 1819 to 1858 Odessa was a free port. During the Soviet period it was the most important port of trade in the Soviet Union and a Soviet naval base. On 1 January 2000 the Quarantine Pier of Odessa trade sea port was declared a free port and free economic zone for a term of 25 years. odessa seaport tourist geographical
In the 19th century it was the fourth largest city of Imperial Russia, after Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Warsaw. Its historical architecture has a style more Mediterranean than Russian, having been heavily influenced by French and Italian styles. Some buildings are built in a mixture of different styles, including Art Nouveau, Renaissance and Classicist.
Odessa is a warm water port, but is of limited military value. The city of Odessa hosts two important ports: Odessa itself and Yuzhne (also an internationally important oil terminal), situated in the city's suburbs. Another important port, Illichivs'k, is located in the same oblast, to the south-west of Odessa. Together they represent a major transport hub integrating with railways. Odessa's oil and chemical processing facilities are connected to Russia's and EU's respective networks by strategic pipelines.
The Vorontsov Lighthouse in the Gulf of Odessa. The city is located on the Black Sea.
Odessa is situated (46°28?N 30°44?E) on terraced hills overlooking a small harbor on the Black Sea in the Gulf of Odessa, approximately 31 km (19 mi) north of the estuary of the Dniester river and some 443 km (275 mi) south of the Ukrainian capital Kiev. The average elevation at which the city is located is around 50 metres, whilst the maximum is 65 and minimum (on the coast) amounts to 4.2 metres above sea level. The city currently covers a territory of 163 км?, the population density for which is around 6,139 persons/км?. Sources of running water in the city include the Dniester River, from which water is taken and then purified at a processing plant just outside of the city. Being located in the south of Ukraine, the geography of the area surrounding the city is typically flat and there are no large mountains or hills for many miles around. Flora is of the deciduous variety and Odessa is famous for its beautiful tree-lined avenues which, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, made the city a favourite year-round retreat for the Russian aristocracy.
The city's location on the coast of the Black Sea has also helped to create a booming tourist industry in Odessa. The city's famous Arkadia beach has long been a favourite place for relaxation, both for the city's inhabitants and its many visitors. This is a large sandy beach which is located to the north of the city centre. Odessa's many sandy beaches are considered to be quite unique in Ukraine, as the country's southern coast (particularly in the Crimea) tends to be a location in which the formation of stoney and pebble beaches has proliferated.
From the first settlements to the end of the 19th century
The site of Odessa was once occupied by an ancient Greek colony. Archaeological artifacts confirm links between the Odessa area and the eastern Mediterranean. In the Middle Ages successive rulers of the Odessa region included various nomadic tribes (Petchenegs, Cumans), the Golden Horde, the Crimean Khanate, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and the Ottoman Empire. Yedisan Crimean Tatars traded there in the 14th century.
Russian troops take the fortress of Khadjibey, defeating the Ottomans and thus providing the impetus to found Odessa.
During the reign of Khan Hacэ I Giray of Crimea (1441-1466), the Khanate was endangered by the Golden Horde and the Ottoman Turks and, in search of allies, the khan agreed to cede the area to Lithuania. The site of present-day Odessa was then a town known as Khadjibey (named for Hacэ I Giray, and also spelled Kocibey in English, Hacэbey or Hocabey in Turkish, and Hacэbey in Crimean Tatar). It was part of the Dykra region. However, most of the rest of the area remained largely uninhabited in this period.
Khadjibey came under direct control of the Ottoman Empire after 1529 as part of a region known as Yedisan, and was administered in the Ottoman Silistra (Ozi) Province. In the mid-18th century, the Ottomans rebuilt a fortress at Khadjibey (also was known Hocabey), which was named Yeni Dunya. Hocabey was a sanjak centre of Silistre Province.
Odessa Сircuit Court building and Church of the monastery of St. Panteleimon (church consecrated in 1895; used as a planetarium from 1961-1991).
During the Russo-Turkish War of 1787-1792, on 25 September 1789, a detachment of Russian forces under Ivan Gudovich took Khadjibey and Yeni Dunya for the Russian Empire. One part of the troops came under command of a Spaniard in Russian service, Major General Jose de Ribas (known in Russia as Osip Mikhailovich Deribas), and the main street in Odessa today, Derybasivska Street, is named after him. Russia formally gained possession of the area as a result of the Treaty of Jassy (Iasi) in 1792 and it became a part of the so-called Novorossiya ("New Russia").
The city of Odessa, founded by order of Catherine the Great, Russian Empress, centres on the site of the Turkish fortress Khadzhibei, which was occupied by Russian Army in 1789. De Ribas and Franz de Volan recommended the area of Khadzhibei fortress as the site for the region's basic port: it had an ice-free harbor, breakwaters could be cheaply constructed and would render the harbor safe and it would have the capacity to accommodate large fleets. The Governor General of Novorossiya, Platon Zubov (one of Catherine's favorites) supported this proposal, and in 1794 Catherine approved the founding of the new port-city and invested the first money in constructing the city.
Ivan Martos's statue of the Duc de Richelieu in Odessa
However, adjacent to the new official locality, a Moldavian colony already existed, which by the end of 18th century was an independent settlement known under the name of Moldavanka. Some local historians consider that the settlement pre-dates Odessa by about thirty years and assert that the locality was founded by Moldavians who came to build the fortress of Yeni Dunia for the Ottomans and eventually settled in the area in the late 1760s, right next to the settlement of Khadjibey (since 1795 Odessa proper), on what later became the Prymorsky Boulevard. Another version posits that the settlement appeared after Odessa itself was founded, as a settlement of Moldavians, Greeks and Albanians fleeing the Ottoman yoke.
In their settlement, also known as Novaia Slobodka, the Moldavians owned relatively small plots on which they built village-style houses and cultivated vineyards and gardens. What became Mykhailovsky Square was the centre of this settlement and the site of its first Orthodox church, the Church of the Dormition, built in 1821 close to the seashore, as well as of a cemetery. Nearby stood the military barracks and the country houses (dacha) of the city's wealthy residents, including that of the Duc de Richelieu, appointed by Tsar Alexander I as Governor of Odessa in 1803.
In the mid-nineteenth century Odessa became resort-town famed for its popularity amongst the Russian upper classes. This popularity prompted a new age of investment in the building of hotels and leisure projects.
In the period from 1795 to 1814 the population of Odessa increased 15 times over and reached almost 20 thousand people. The first city plan was designed by the engineer F. Devollan in the late 18th century. Colonists of various ethnicities settled mainly in the area of the former colony, outside of the official boundaries, and as a consequence, in the first third of the 19th century, Moldavanka emerged as the dominant settlement. After planning by the official architects who designed buildings in Odessa's central district, such as the Italians Franz Karlowicz Boffo and Giovanni Torichelli, Moldovanka was included in the general city plan, though the original grid-like plan of Moldovankan streets, lanes and squares remained unchanged.
The new city quickly became a major success. Its early growth owed much to the work of the Duc de Richelieu, who served as the city's governor between 1803 and 1814. Having fled the French Revolution, he had served in Catherine's army against the Turks. He is credited with designing the city and organizing its amenities and infrastructure, and is considered one of the founding fathers of Odessa, together with another Frenchman, Count Andrault de Langeron, who succeeded him in office. Richelieu is commemorated by a bronze statue, unveiled in 1828 to a design by Ivan Martos.
By the 1920s Odessa had become a large, thriving city, complete with European architecture and electrified urban transport.
In 1819 the city became a free port, a status it retained until 1859. It became home to an extremely diverse population of Albanians, Armenians, Azeris, Bulgarians, Crimean Tatars, Frenchmen, Germans (including Mennonites), Greeks, Italians, Jews, Poles, Romanians, Russians, Turks, Ukrainians, and traders representing many other nationalities (hence numerous "ethnic" names on the city's map, for example Frantsuzky (French) and Italiansky (Italian) Boulevards, Gretcheskaya (Greek), Yevreyskaya (Jewish), Arnautskaya (Albanian) Streets). Its cosmopolitan nature was documented by the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, who lived in internal exile in Odessa between 1823 and 1824. In his letters he wrote that Odessa was a city where "the air is filled with all Europe, French is spoken and there are European papers and magazines to read".
Odessa's growth was interrupted by the Crimean War of 1853-1856, during which it was bombarded by British and French naval forces. It soon recovered and the growth in trade made Odessa Russia's largest grain-exporting port. In 1866 the city was linked by rail with Kiev and Kharkiv as well as with Iasi in Romania.
The city became the home of a large Jewish community during the 19th century, and by 1897 Jews were estimated to comprise some 37% of the population. They were, however, repeatedly subjected to severe persecution. Pogroms were carried out in 1821, 1859, 1871, 1881 and 1905. Many Odessan Jews fled abroad, particularly to Palestine after 1882, and the city became an important base of support for Zionism.
First half of the 20th century
The 142-metre-long Potemkin Stairs (constructed 1837-1841), made famous by Sergei Eisenstein in his movie The Battleship Potemkin (1925).
In 1905 Odessa was the site of a workers' uprising supported by the crew of the Russian battleship Potemkin (also see Battleship Potemkin uprising) and Lenin's Iskra. Sergei Eisenstein's famous motion picture The Battleship Potemkin commemorated the uprising and included a scene where hundreds of Odessan citizens were murdered on the great stone staircase (now popularly known as the "Potemkin Steps"), in one of the most famous scenes in motion picture history. At the top of the steps, which lead down to the port, stands a statue of the Duc de Richelieu. The actual massacre took place in streets nearby, not on the steps themselves, but the film caused many to visit Odessa to see the site of the "slaughter". The "Odessa Steps" continue to be a tourist attraction in Odessa. The film was made at Odessa's Cinema Factory, one of the oldest cinema studios in the former Soviet Union.
Bolshevik forces enter Odessa. February 1920.
Following the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 during World War I, Odessa was occupied by several groups, including the Ukrainian Tsentral'na Rada, the French Army, the Red Army and the White Army. In 1918, Odessa became the capital of the independent Odessa Soviet Republic. Finally, in 1920, the Red Army took control of the city and united it with the Ukrainian SSR, which later became part of the USSR.
The people of Odessa barely suffered from a famine that occurred as a result of the Civil war in Russia in 1921-1922. Before being occupied by Romanian troops in 1941, a part of the city's population, industry, infrastructure and all cultural valuables possible were evacuated to inner regions of the USSR, and the retreating Red Army units destroyed as much as they could of Odessa harbour facilities left behind. The city was land mined in the same way as Kiev.
During World War II, from 1941-1944, Odessa was subject to Romanian administration, as the city had been made part of Transnistria.
Soviet gun crew in action at Odessa in 1941
During the April 1944 battle Odessa suffered severe damage and many casualties. Many parts of Odessa were damaged during its siege and recapture on 10 April 1944, when the city was finally liberated by the Red Army. It was one of the first four Soviet cities to be awarded the title of "Hero City" in 1945, though some of the Odessans had a more favourable view of the Romanian occupation, in the contrast with Soviet official view that the period was exclusively a time of hardship, deprivation, oppression and suffering - claims embodied in public monuments and disseminated through the media to this day. Subsequent Soviet policies imprisoned and executed numerous Odessans (and deported most of the German and Tatar population) on account of collaboration with the occupiers.
Odessa's most iconic symbol, the Potemkin Steps (Primorsky Stairs) is a vast staircase that conjures an illusion so that those at the top only see a series of large steps, while at the bottom all steps appear to merge into one pyramid-shaped mass. The original 200 steps (now reduced to 192) were designed by Italian architect Francesco Boffo and built between 1837 and 1841. The Stairs are best remembered for a starring role in Sergei Eisenstein's The Battleship Potemkin, a fictional account of the city's 1905 Tsarist massacre.
Port of Odessa
One of the biggest in the Black Sea, Odessa's busy port is a great place to get a lungful of sea air and see some impressive ships.
Another supreme work-of-art from Italian architect Francesco Boffo, this 19th century palace and colonnade was built for supreme Odessa governor Prince Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov.
An attractive pedestrian avenue named after Jose de Ribas, Spanish-born founder of Odessa and decorated Russian Navy Admiral from the Russo-Turkish War.
Odessa Opera & Ballet Theater
A grand Renaissance-era theater finished in 1887 which still hosts a range of performances. The theater is regarded as one of the world's finest.
Museum of Western and Eastern Art
Odessa's most important museum with large European collections from the 16-20th centuries together with art from the Orient. There are paintings from Mignard, Hals, Teniers and Del Piombo.
Alexander Pushkin's Museum
The museum details how Pushkin was exiled for a short period to Odessa and spent a very creative period in the city. The poet also has a city street named after him together with a statue.
Resorts and health care
Odessa is a popular tourist destination, with many therapeutic resorts in and around the city.
The Filatov Institute of Eye Diseases & Tissue Therapy in Odessa is one of the world's leading ophthalmology clinics.
Further information: Odessa Catacombs
Most of the city's 19th century houses were built of limestone mined nearby. Abandoned mines were later used and broadened by local smugglers. This created a gigantic complicated labyrinth of underground tunnels beneath Odessa, known as "catacombs". During World War II, the catacombs served as a hiding place for partisans. They are a now a great attraction for extreme tourists. Such tours, however, are not officially sanctioned and are dangerous because the layout of the catacombs has not been fully mapped and the tunnels themselves are unsafe. The tunnels are a primary reason why no subway system was ever built in Odessa.
Poets and writers
Poet Anna Akhmatova was born in Bolshoy Fontan near Odessa. The city has produced many writers, including Isaac Babel, whose series of short stories, Odessa Tales, are set in the city. Other odessites are the duo Ilf and Petrov, and Yuri Olesha. Vera Inber, a poet and writer, as well as the famous poet and journalist, Margarita Aliger were both born in Odessa. The Italian writer, slavist and anti-fascist dissident Leone Ginzburg was born in Odessa into a Jewish family, and then went to Italy where he grew up and lived.
One of the most prominent pre-war Soviet writers, Valentin Kataev, was born here and began his writing career as early as high school (gymnasia). Before moving to Moscow in 1922, he made quite a few acquaintances here, including Yury Olesha and Ilya Ilf (Ilf's co-author Petrov was in fact Kataev's brother, Petrov being his pen-name). Kataev became a benefactor for these young authors, who would become some of the most talented and popular Russian writers of this period. In 1955 Kataev became the first chief editor of the Youth (Russian: Юность, Yunost'), one of the leading literature magazines of the Ottepel of the 1950s and '60s.
These authors and comedians played a great role in establishing the "Odessa myth" in the Soviet Union. Odessites were and are viewed in Russian culture (in the broad sense of the word "Russian") as sharp-witted, street-wise and eternally optimistic. These qualities are reflected in the "Odessa dialect", which borrows chiefly from the characteristic speech of the Odessan Jews, and is enriched by a plethora of influences common for the port city. The "Odessite speech" became a staple of the "Soviet Jew" depicted in a multitude of jokes and comedy acts, in which the Jew served as a wise and subtle dissenter and opportunist, always pursuing his own well-being, but unwittingly pointing out the flaws and absurdities of the Soviet regime. The Jew in the jokes always "came out clean" and was, in the end, a lovable character - unlike some of other jocular nation stereotypes such as The Chukcha, The Ukrainian, The Estonian or The American.
Frank Cass, the founder of Frank Cass & Co. was a noted publisher in United Kingdom, specialising in the social sciences and humanities subject areas and publishing military and strategic studies titles and journals, until bought by Taylor & Francis Publishers on 28 July 2003. He was the unofficial publisher of the Anglo-Jewish community, and retained the Vallentine Mitchell Publisher even after the sale of Frank Cass & Co.
A list of world known scientists lived and worked in Odessa. Among them: Illya Mechnikov (Nobel Prize in Medicine 1908), Igor Tamm (Nobel Prize in Physics 1958), Selman Waksman (Nobel Prize in Medicine 1952), Dmitri Mendeleev, Nikolay Pirogov, Ivan Sechenov, Vladimir Filatov, George Gamow, Nikolay Umov, Leonid Mandelstam, Aleksandr Lyapunov, Mark Krein, Alexander Smakula, Waldemar Haffkine and Valentin Glushko. George Gamow, the famous physicist, was born in Odessa; there, his father was a high school teacher of Russian literature; among his students, Lev Bronstein, a. k. a. Trotzkij, who speaks about him in rather unobliging terms in his autobiography.
Jacob Adler, the major star of the Yiddish Theater in New York and father of the actor, director and teacher Stella Adler, was born in and spent his youth in Odessa. The most popular Russian show-business people from Odessa are Yakov Smirnoff (comedian), Mikhail Zhvanetsky (legendary humorist writer, who began his career as port engineer) and Roman Kartsev (comedian). Zhvanetsky's and Kartsev's success in 1970s, together with Odessa's KVN team, much contributed to Odessa's established status of a "capital of Soviet humour", culminating in the annual Humoryna festival, carried out on and around the April Fools' Day. Odessa was also the home of the late Armenian painter Sarkis Ordyan (1918-2003), the Ukrainian painter Mickola Vorokhta and the Greek philologist, author and promoter of Demotic Greek Ioannis Psycharis (1854-1929). Yuri Siritsov, bass player of the Israeli Metal band PallaneX is originally from Odessa. Igor Glazer Production Manager Baruch Agadati (1895-1976), the Palestinian-Israeli classical ballet dancer, choreographer, painter, and film producer and director grew up in Odessa, as did Israeli artist and author Nachum Gutman (1898-1980). Israeli painter Avigdor Stematsky (1908-89) was born in Odessa.
Odessa produced one of the founders of the Soviet violin school, Pyotr Stolyarsky. It has also produced a famous composer Oscar Borisovich Feltsman and a galaxy of stellar musicians, including the violinists Nathan Milstein, Yuri Vodovoz, David Oistrakh and Igor Oistrakh, Boris Goldstein, Zakhar Bron, and pianists Sviatoslav Richter, Benno Moiseiwitsch, Vladimir de Pachmann, Shura Cherkassky, Emil Gilels, Maria Grinberg, Simon Barere, Leo Podolsky and Yakov Zak. (Note that Richter studied in Odessa but wasn't born there.)
Chess player Efim Geller was born in the city. Gymnast Tatiana Gutsu (known as "The Painted Bird of Odessa") brought home Ukraine's first Olympic gold medal as an independent nation when she outscored the USA's Shannon Miller in the women's all-around event at 1992 Summer Olympics held in Barcelona Spain. Figure skaters Oksana Grishuk and Evgeny Platov won the 1994 and 1998 Olympic gold medals as well as the 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997 World Championships in ice dance. Both were born and raised in the city, though they skated for at first the Soviet Union, the Unified Team, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and then Russia.
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