Promenade along Odesa streets
The streets of Odesa are a real portfolio of prime architecture. And the project according to which the city was built is considered to be the bright example of classicism town-planning.
The parade facade of Odesa is Prymorsky Boulevard – the favourite place of appointments and dates in Odesa. Shadowy platans bring the Boulevard its special charm. Perhaps this is the reason why these giants are so precious to the heart of every inhabitant of the city. People say that during the period of Gorbachev’s “perestroika” city authorities made a decision to re-plan the Boulevard and to cut down the old platans. But Odesites saved the trees having circled them with a live ring.
It is impossible to get acquainted with Odesa in any way without seeing the splendid architectural ensembles of its antique streets Pushkinska, Lanzheronivska, Gogol, French Boulevard as well as the Theatre Square. Palaces that once belonged to former Odesa dwellers – Princes Gagariny, Count Pototsky, the landowner Abazi – will tell you in details about the life of the Russian nobility in early XIX century. The city’s unique aura is created by the St. Elias Cathedral and St. Panteleimon’s Church as well as the antique Assumption Monastery.
And of course it goes without saying that you will miss the chance to see Odesa, if you don’t pay a visit to the famous Privoz Market, so highly praised in city folklore, due to its’ local character fused with the reputation of being one of the biggest markets in Europe. As Odesites say, “there you can buy everything that exists in the nature and even a little more…”
The Potemkin Stairway
Prymorsky Boulevard will lead you to the giant Potemkin Stairway. Their cascade composition reminds one of the breaking tides and consists of 10 landings and 192 steps. From the top of it, a grandiose panoramic view opens to the bay and the Sea Port. However, from this point you won’t be able to see the steps themselves: it is a unique architectural decision that makes them optically invisible.
Recently, Odesa was visited by Silvester Stallone’s mother Jacqueline who wanted to see her former motherland in order to make sure that the Potemkin Stairway is in proper order. Because here she is planning to shoot a remake after the legendary film by Sergey Eisenstein “The Battleship Potemkin”. It’s a long time ago since the film has become the world cinema classics and gained its glory as the first “colored” film in history. However, there was only one element in the film that was colored - the red revolutionary flag. The film director colored it himself with the special paint.
Apart from being a film shooting area, the Potemkin stairway turns to be the most democratic stage in Ukraine more and more often. The people’s favourites, most popular actors as well as comic writers perform here. Also quite often the famous sight becomes a spot for conducting defiles. And in the evening the sky over the Stairway is lit by bright fireworks.
Duke de Richelieu
The monument to the French Duke de Richelieu – is a symbol by which anyone is able to recognize Odesa at once. But in the heart of every Odessite the Bronze Duke (the way people gently call it) occupies a special place. As the founder and the first mayor of Odesa, the French citizen Armand Richelieu promoted the young city to European city standards. At that time all of Europe was discussing economic and cultural achievements of the city at the Black Sea coast. When in 1815 Richelieu obtained a position of the Prime Minister of France, all of Odesa was saw him off, as he journeyed to his motherland. And then the Odesa press wrote that eventually France was lucky with its ruler.
The zest of Deribasivska Street
Deribasivska (Deribasovskaya) Street is the heart of Odesa and leads to the Municipal Gardens, ideal for promenades on warm Southern evenings. The street bears the name of the first constructor of Odesa – a Spaniard Joseph (Jose) de Ribas. And of course, the first thing you are going to see in this street is a monument in his honour. The statue depicts De Ribas in his admiral uniform with a spade in one hand and a plan of Odesa in the other one. Some will probably be shocked at seeing the spade in the admiral’s hand. But this is the way Odesites with their inherent wittiness pay respect to their city’s “founding fathers”.
In the summer Deribasivska Street is covered with a vast assortment of cosy cafes where one can have a healthy rest after a lengthy stroll around the city. However, you can also give a rest to your weary feet in a quite original and native-Odessite manner. For instance, to sit on a bench close to the famous Odesa jazzman of the last century 30-s Leonid Utesov, who was the founder of the first jazz-band in the vast expanses of the USSR. The monument to him cast from bronze can easily be confused with the average middle-aged Odessite who serenely enjoys the picturesque views of his native city.