Odessa is rightly called "the Pearl of the
Black Sea". With 40 miles of spectacular beaches, and all the
facilities of a typical resort town, the city is "the place to
be" during the Summer. It is also famous for its cultural
traditions, fine architecture and rich history. Just one example
is the Odessa Theater of
Opera and Ballet, second best theater
in Europe after one in Vienna, that heard the singing of Shalyapin and
Sobinov, saw performances of Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov.
Duke de Richelieu was a founder of Odessa. Born in France, he spent a
large part of his life in Russia. His biggest dream during his last
years was to return to the city he loved with all his heart - Odessa.
The dream never came true and he died in France. But he is remembered in
Odessa. His monument is placed on the
top of Potemkin steps*
facing the Sea Port. Duke is holding a roll of papers in one of his
hands greeting all the newly-arrived people with the other. Boulevard,
where this monument is located is one of the most popular places in the
city. People come there just to browse around. If anyone ever feels
lonely you can just go to this monument and it is guaranteed that you
will meet couple of your friends, but even if you won't you will make
new friends within matter of minutes.
* The Potemkin (pronounced "patiomkeen" in Russian) Steps were
built 1837-1842. The 192 steps lead down to the Black Sea post facility,
and are immortalized in Sergei Eisenstein's 1925 film, "Battleship
I have not felt so much at home for a long time as I did when I
"raised the hill" and stood in Odessa for the first time.
It looked just like an American city; fine, broad streets, and straight
as well; low houses (two or three stories), wide, neat, and free
from any quaintness of architectural ornamentation; locust trees
bordering the sidewalks (they call them acacias); a stirring business-look
among the streets and stores; fast walkers, a familiar new look
about the houses and everything. Look up the street or down the
street, this way or that way, we saw only America. There was not
one thing to remind us that we were in Russia*. We walked for some
little distance, reveling in this home vision, and then we came
upon a church and a hack-driver, and presto: the illusion vanished!"
-- from Mark Twain's Innocents Abroad
*Ukraine was part of the Russian Empire at the time this was written