Odessa is amazing. Everyone who visits this beautiful city falls in love forever. Its sights attract thousands and thousands of visitors every year. The locals call their beloved city “Odessa mama”. It is a fusion or modern and exquisite old, energetic busy life and total relaxation and bliss, but it’s always unique and attractive. Both local people and tourists love walking the streets in the center, going on boat tours with breathtaking views, savoring extremely delicious food in numerous restaurants and cafes and simply enjoying special, unforgettable atmosphere of this seaside resort. So, don’t miss your chance to discover this unusual city!
Deribasovskaya Street (Deribasivska Street) is the main street of this wonderful resort city. It’s the main commercial street full of numerous shops, restaurants and bars, and in summer time it’s fully packed with tourists strolling up and down till wee hours of the morning. It’s a pedestrian street with various monuments and famous City Garden with a musical fountain. Deribasovskaya Street was named after one of the founders who became the first mayor of this city – Admiral Joseph de Ribas.
Opera & Ballet Theater
Amazing building of Odessa Opera & Ballet Theater is one of the most recognizable sights of the city. It was constructed in the 1880s by Ferdinand Fellner and Herman Helmer (They also designed the famous Vienna State Opera!). Totally breathtaking interior is decorated in Viennese baroque style blended with Italian Renaissance and French rococo. Sculptures outside represent heroes from Greek mythology. Opera & Ballet Theater has the finest acoustics and even whispering on the stage can be heard at any part of the hall. The Opera House is rightfully named among the top 10 most beautiful ones in Europe!
Both tourists and locals enjoying strolling at Primorskiy Boulevard or simply resting at one of the benches and watching the people that pass by or listening to street musicians. This place is always busy, even late at night. You can also see various street performances here with music, dancing, fire shows and much more. Primorskiy Boulevard at night is especially charming as the trees are lit up with colorful lights, so it feels like it’s around Christmas time any time you come. It doesn’t matter whether you come here at day time or at night, most tourist come back again and again to enjoy the area.
Today Odessa Philharmonic Theater occupies the building of the former Stock Exchange. It was constructed in 1899 in the Venetian Gothic style by the famous local architect of Italian origin – Mario Bernardazzi. The building actually hasn’t changed much since the time of its construction. It can regularly be seen on various postcards and in travel guides of the city. The theater has perfect acoustics as it was one of the most important issues for busy days at the stock exchange. There are many concerts there that you can visit, and a lot of foreigners come to this city to do performances. While here don’t forget to take a look at this beautiful place.
“Passage” situated on the corner of Deribasovskaya St. and Preobrazhenskaya St. is considered one of the finest buildings in this seaside city. In order to take a better look at Passage you need to see it from the inside, for this it’s necessary to enter it through one of the arcs. The interior of this special sight skillfully combines various styles: classical, baroque and modernism. Passage (that was designed as a shopping mall and a hotel) was commissioned by the local merchant, Moisey Mendelevich, and built at the end of the 19th. When finished Passage became a new type of shopping arcade and because of its privileged location, it housed the most prestigious shops in Odessa. Now you can find various souvenir shops there.
The City Garden is a small park in the center of the city right on Deribasovskaya Street. This place was built in 1803 thanks to Felix De Ribas, the brother of Odessa’s founder Jose de Ribas. The land of the park actually belonged to Felix de Ribas, but since he didn’t have enough funds to maintain the park by himself he decided to present it to the city in 1806. Today this beautiful park with a musical fountain and numerous monuments is one of the most favorite places for locals and tourists, so it’s always busy even late in the evening. There are a lot of cafes and restaurants with summer terraces around the City Garden.
Potyomkin (Potemkin) Stairs
Potyomkin (Potemkin) Stairs constructed from 1837 through 1841 are considered a formal entrance into the city from the sea direction. The Stairs are named Potyomkin (Potemkin) after the rebellious battleship “Potyomkin” during the revolution. 195 stairs were designed to produce an optical illusion that enhances the grandeur of the whole construction. There are 10 flights, but when you stand at the foot you actually see it as an endless row of stairs. Quite a few mass events taking place in the city are often organized here.
Ukraine’s most powerful and busy port is in Odessa. The story of the sea port (Marine Trade Port) began in 1794. Today the waterfront and port territories are equipped with about hundreds of cranes, as well as thousands of lift trucks and other port machinery. The port has several terminals: passenger terminal, freight terminal, oil & gas terminal, container terminal, etc. The passenger terminal in the central part of city features a marine gallery, a concert-exhibition hall, the museum of anchor, the museum of sea fleet of Ukraine, a yacht complex and a diving center. When it’s warm you can have a ride on one of many ships or yachts anchored at the sea port.
The City Hall is situated on Primorskiy Boulevard. This building actually used to house old Stock Exchange of this beautiful resort city. Its construction started in 1829 and finished only in 1837. Francesco Boffa and Georgis Torricelli were the architects of this building. City Duma (Council) occupied this building only in 1899. Today there is a clock on the City Hall that plays the anthem of the city every half an hour. In front of the City Hall you can see the Monument to Pushkin that was built by the locals who really appreciated his works and who in fact spent over a year in this city.
House with Atlantes
This is one of the most recognizable sights of Odessa that you can find on numerous postcards and in all travels guides telling about this great resort city at the Black Sea. The charming house on Hoholia (Gogolya) Street belonged to the family of baron Falz-Fein and was constructed in 1899. Now it attracts numerous visitors with its beautiful architecture and two mighty atlantes on one side of the building. It is rightfully considered to be in top 5 most beautiful houses in the city. So, take some time to visit this place and admire it’s beauty, plus you will definitely see a lot of other sights on the way.
Aquarium “Nemo” welcomes hundreds of spectators every day that come to watch exciting dolphin shows! It’s fun both for children and adults. The dolphin show includes not only amazing tricks of these highly intelligent creatures, but also fun performances of seals and sea lions. After the show you can have your photo taken with a dolphin or swim with one. Children with special needs can have dolphin therapy here. The area around the aquarium is very beautiful as well and there are some cafes where you can have a snack and enjoy the seascapes. As this Aquarium is situated at the beach “Lanzheron”, you will need to take a taxi to reach it from the center or catch a bus.
The Museum of Western & Oriental Art
The Museum of Western and Oriental Art can boast one of the finest collections of foreign art in Ukraine. Here you can find a number of brilliant works by outstanding artists, such as a collection of paintings by Caravaggio, Hals, Magnasco; sculptures, furniture, and other items from Iran, Tibet, India and China. The museum was founded in 1923 and the building itself is a palace of the merchant Abaza constructed to the design of architect L. Otton in 1856-1858. Today the museum building is one of the masterpieces of eclectic art combining elements of the Baroque, Empire and Rococo styles.
Founded in 1825, Odessa Archeological Museum is one of the oldest ones in Ukraine. Today’s building of the museum was completed in 1883. The museum has an impressive collection of over 160,000 items that includes various archeological finds from the Black Sea region, a wide collection of Ancient Egyptian sarcophagi, stone slabs with hieroglyphics and also fragments of papyrus, as well as valuable items in the Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman exhibits. The museum treasury houses over 50,000 coins from Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, the Byzantine Empire and Ancient Kievan Rus, and also coins of the Russian Empire.
Monument to Duke de Richelieu
The Duke de Richelieu is truly an outstanding person in the history of this city. He is known as Duke for short, but his full name is Armand Emmanuel du Plessis. This prominent person served as the Governor General of Odessa from 1803 till 1814 and did so much for the prosperity of this wonderful seaside resort that he is warmly remembered by the residents even today. This 200-year-old monument located on Primorskiy Boulevard is one of the most recognizable and most visited places. It has become the symbol of this beautiful city and naturally you can find it on all postcards and in all travel guides. Here you can also make a wish by rubbing different parts of the monument (very easy to spot them as they differ in color), it’s a fun tourist tradition!
Monument to Catherine the Great
The Monument to Catherine II (Catherine the Great) and the founders of Odessa - de Ribas, de Volan, Zubov and Potemkin can be found on Ekaterininskaya Square. At first it was erected there in 1900, but 20 years later when Bolsheviks came to power it was dismantled. Unfortunately, during the transportation of this monument to the museum of the local history, and the stature of Catherine II was partially destroyed. Only in 2007 the authorities decided to restore the monument to the founders of the city. So only the head of the monument is new, the rest is authentic. Walking around the city and admiring the sights, sooner or later you will definitely come to this square.
The Colonnade stands by Vorontsov’s palace and it originally was part of Vorontsov’s residence that you can easily see on the side. The Colonnade represents a splendid belvedere and provides a wonderful view of the famous port of the Black Sea. This sight was built between 1826 and 1828. You can often spot a lot of young people sitting there and just enjoying their time. Some legends say that there used to be a hidden underground passage under the Collonade. Tourists come here to take panoramic photos of the area and simply admire the area.
This peculiar sight is a popular place both for locals and tourists. The story of its construction goes back to 1950s. They say that it was built only because the First Secretary of Odessa Communist Party simply wanted to shorten his way to his mother-in-law who baked delicious pancakes. Even though this story sounds too funny to be true, the locals are absolutely sure of it. The bridge links Primorskiy Boulevard and Zhvanetskiy Boulevard. Today many couples visit this bridge to leave a lock as a sign of eternal love. The local authorities have to cut off the locks from time to time, as sometimes there are way too many of them for the bridge to hold.
Devil’s House (Flat House)
If you have time to explore real Odessa yards and neighborhoods, do search for a very unusual residential house, not far from Primorskiy Boulevard (It is located on Vorontsov’s Lane. This peculiar house leaves many curious tourists wondering why one would build a house with three walls. The answer is simple – it was built this way due to lack of money for the 4th wall. If you find the right angle (from the left side of the house), it will look like the house has only one wall! This marvelous optical illusion gave the house various names: Devil’s House, Witch’s House, House with One Wall or Flat House.
Vorontsovskiy (Vorontsov’s) Palace
Vorontsov's Palace is situated at the end of the Primorskiy Boulevard, so it is rather easy to find. The palace was built between 1827 and 1830 by the Sardinian-born architect Francesco Boffo for Prince Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov. Vorontsov was one of the Governor Generals of the region. He decided to have his city palace built right on the spot where once the former Governor General Richelieu's humble house had stood. Today tourists can see only the front part of the original structure as the Orlov wing of the palace was torn down.
This unusual palace was constructed for a Polish nobleman Zenon Bzhozovsky in 1851-52 by the architect F. Gonsiorovskiy. When in 1909 the palace became the property of another Polish nobleman with a German last name – Joseft Shenbek – he began renting it to a Persian shah Mohamed Ali who escaped from Iran, and the people started calling the palace – Shah’s Palace. This really nice building combines early English Gothic style and French Medieval style and boasts rather impressive towers. This palace is rightfully considered one of the most beautiful sights.
The city has many sights, but this is one of the most unusual ones: the world’s largest network of underground catacombs located right under the city. The catacombs cover over 2,500 km, but in fact, may be longer, as some areas aren’t researched yet. Only a small portion of this special attraction is officially open as the museum. The first catacombs appeared in the 19th century and during the WWII, local fighters used this maze for hiding. Actually, most catacombs can be accessed by the groups of enthusiasts, but shouldn’t be explored on your own due to high danger.
Arcadia (or Arkadia) Beach is indeed the most popular beach in the city. It is located in the district with quite expensive residential houses that bears the same name- Arcadia. The coastal area is full of various hotels & resorts, bars, and night clubs. Actually, Arcadia is not simply a popular beach among locals and leisure travelers, it’s the primary spot for nightlife during warm months of the year. The nightclubs at Arcadia Beach are open from May through September. So, if you want to have real fun, you should come to this area.
At the seaside it’s always great to take a boat tour. In fact it’s one of the most popular activities in summer time. It’s an ideal way to see the city coastal line and enjoy breathtaking seascapes while listening to some information about this beautiful resort. You can take a tour on one of numerous ships that start from the Sea Port, or arrange a private tour on a yacht or a smaller boat that area anchored here. There is never a shortage of options and you will definitely be offered to take a ride if you go down to explore the Sea Port and its museums.
Odessa market “Privoz”
Privoz is the city’s most famous and biggest bazaar, and an excellent place to find seasonal vegetables & fruits, seafood, dairy products and much more. Over 6000 vendors trade here every single day! The market actually began in 1827, and at that time the goods were sold from the back of horse driven carts. This market is vibrant and colorful and many locals say that it’s a must to visit it in order to see the other side of this diverse and busy city and feel its spirit. So, why not just go to the market and see what it’s all about?
WWII historical memorial
Tourists that enjoy military stuff will like visiting WWII Memorial. The Memorial for Heroic Defense of Odessa during the World War II has an open-air museum where you can explore a real tank or climb over a submarine, examine artillery and battle planes. One of the major attractions of this museum is post-war submarine “Malyutka” M-296. The museum is rather interesting, and even though it’s not located downtown, it still attracts numerous visitors. In order to get to this Memorial from the center you need to catch a bus or get a taxi.
Monument to the Orange that saved Odessa
This monument is one of the most unusual monuments that was constructed to honor the 210th anniversary of the city. At the end of the 18th century after the death of Catherine II who really favored this seaside resort, her son Paul I started ruling and stopped funding the Marine Trade Port. This meant big trouble for the city and the citizens had to think of something to save it. So, they decided to send oranges to Paul I that at that time were very exotic and unusual fruit. The Emperor was very pleased and gave 250,000 rubles for the construction of the port. Because of this, the locals actually call this monument “The Monument to a Bribe”.