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The Hidden Wonders of Odessa Ukraine: What to Know Before Visiting

Learn why Odessa Ukraine is a must-see attraction in Eastern Europe.
Learn why Odessa Ukraine is a must-see attraction
in Eastern Europe.

If you think you’ve traveled to all the famous cultural landmarks in Europe, think again. Chances are you still haven’t heard of Odessa, Ukraine. This port city has a lot to offer in terms of attractions, culture, and history. If you don’t want to miss out, then here are some basic things you need to know about the city:

It was founded by Empress Catherine.

Empress Catherine the Great established Odessa as a free port and was the fourth largest city in Russia back in the 19th century. She had such an influence that there is a statue of the empress in Ekaterininskaya Square. This city was one of the few she conquered during the post-Russo-Turkish war. Today, Odessa is one of the most thriving cities in the country, with millions of tourists visiting each year.

It directly faces the Black Sea.

To witness the Black Sea up close, simply climb up the Potemkin Stairs. Before the stairs were created, in its place was a high steppe plateau. Back then, the only way residents could access the Black Sea was through some haphazard winding paths and wooden stairs. It was finally constructed back in 1841 under the supervision of Engr. John Upton and architects Francesco Boffo and Avraam I. Melnikov.

Fun fact: Did you know that the stairs were designed specifically that it could create an optical illusion? Once you visit, make sure to take a good look from the bottom and at the top. You’ll be surprised

It regularly holds opera and ballet productions.

In Ukrainian culture, opera and ballet are still very much alive and thriving. Most, if not all of the performances are held in the Odessa Theatre of Opera and Ballet. What’s unique about this theater is its acoustics. The whisper low notes of the performers could be heard as far as the back of the hall. This effect is a result of the theatre’s horseshoe design, heightening the experience to another level.

It has a dark and mysterious side.

Have you ever heard of the Odessa Catacombs? It is a series of interconnected tunnels beneath the city. They were created because limestones were mined to built houses. The mines were eventually abandoned however the tunnels were secretly expanded by local smugglers. The catacombs were then used as a refuge by the Soviet Partisans in World War II. In recent years, there’s a legend about an unfortunate young woman that got lost in the tunnels and never to be seen since. If you want to test your courage, perhaps you should explore the catacombs as well.

Aside from the beautiful sights and sounds, this region is also known for its women. Typical Ukrainian women are fair skinned, however, the women in Odessa are olive skinned because the city has a semi-arid climate. This means that they get a nice tan all year round. As a result, they are mostly mistaken for being Spanish or Italian because of their complexion. Should you head to Odessa, you should definitely mingle with the ladies. It might just be in Odessa where you’ll get to meet the love of your life.