Odessa is the most charming city in Ukraine. Anyone who agues otherwise has never strolled its captivating streets nor broken bread with its jovial citizens. As a tribute to its charm, eight cities in the US, two in Canada and one in Brazil were named Odessa. There’s also Lake Odessa and even Odessa the planet somewhere out there in the cosmos. However, none of these tributes shine as vibrantly as Odessa, Ukraine: The Pearl of the Black Sea.
Throughout its history Odessa has lured travelers, artists, poets, wealthy entrepreneurs and radical dissidents. Officially founded in 1794 by Catherine II, the Empress understood that a port on the Black Sea was necessary for the expansion of communication and commerce with Europe. The city was not erected on empty ground, however. Archeological findings have revealed the existence of an ancient Greek settlement. Following the Greeks, the Kyivan Rus, the Golden Horde, the Lithuanians, the Ottomans, the Tatars and the Poles all made use of Odessa’s ideal location. The area finally fell into Russian hands during the Russo-Turkish War (1787 – 1791), and was later annexed under the Treaty of Jassy in 1792.
Unlike many of its contemporary Russian cities, the construction of Odessa was well planned. Duc de Richelieu, a French dissident who served in the Russian Army and later became one of the city’s first governors, is credited as the city’s visionary designer. The city boomed throughout the 19th Century, and attracted an incredibly diverse population. Russians, Ukrainians, Jews, Romanians, Greeks, Gagauzians, Albanians, Italians, Frenchmen and Germans all added their own unique vision to the city’s unparalleled character. By the beginning of the 20th Century, Odessa had become the third most important city in the Russian Empire behind St. Petersburg and Moscow. Odessa continued to thrive during the period of Soviet industrial explanation, and by the mid 1950’s had become one of the world richest grain harbours. Despite the incursion of industrial enterprises, Odessa has remained a stunning, invaluable cultural centre and a place of inexplicable appeal.
Ukraine has been given a unique opportunity to transform and ascend to a new level of development. On April 17, 2007 Ukraine and Poland were awarded the chance to co-host the Euro 2012 football competition. As one of the country’s getaway cities, Odessa will definitely benefit from the expected surge in interest…