The city known as the ‘Pearl on the Black Sea’ is associated with a heroic history, world-famous opera house and unique flair – it could only be Odessa! Today, we take you on a walk through this powerful and majestic city…
Odessa – the name alone sounds like it belongs in sagas of mythical heroes. Which is no coincidence, of course – the city was named after Odysseus , the travelling hero of Greek mythology. But it’s not just the name that has something intensely heroic about it – the city itself does too. Odessa has been forced to fight the good fight on many an occasion in its history, and even recently this great city hasn’t exactly had it easy. Formerly a port city , it saw a sharp upswing in its fortunes in the nineteenth century, until it was eventually forced to start all over again when the Soviet era came to an end.
Despite this history at the heart of wars and popular uprisings – or possibly because of it – the city abounds with energy, flair and style. It has long been known as the Pearl of the Black Sea , and not without good reason: Odessa is a place where impressive European architecture mixes with a southern climate and vegetation. But don’t take our word for it: see for yourself, as we take you on a stroll through heroic Odessa … 😉
Step by step: the Potemkin Stairs
Yes – it’s uphill from here! The first place we’re visiting is Odessa Harbour, and what is undoubtedly the most famous tourist attraction in Odessa : the Potemkin Stairs . The 142-metre-long staircase connects the harbour with the old city, and was designed and built to create an optical illusion : looking down from the top, only the landings are visible and not the steps; while looking up from below, only the steps can be seen and not the landings. Due to the fact that they are far wider at the bottom than at the top, the stairs also appear to be the same width for their entire length when viewed from above, and appear to be incredibly long due to their style of construction. The Stairs are something you really do need to have seen with your own eyes – not least because they provided the backdrop to the most important scene in the famous silent film Battleship Potemkin , one of the most iconic and celebrated moments in the history of cinema.
Strolling and marvelling at the Opera House
Once you’ve reached the top of the Potemkin Stairs, you can get your breath and enjoy the panorama : you won’t see a better view of the harbour from anywhere in the city! Afterwards, you’ll have the opportunity to stroll through a veritable open-air museum: thanks to its wealth of magnificent historic buildings, Primorsky Boulevard is widely viewed as the most beautiful thoroughfare in all Odessa. Lined by towering trees, the Boulevard actually makes you feel as if you’re in a west European city. And the real highlight of the city, however, the Opera House – is still to come!
The imposing Opera House is powerfully reminiscent of Viennese architecture from the 19th century – which probably has to do with the fact that it was built by Viennese architects! Just a stone’s throw from the Opera House, by the way, is Odessa’s most important pedestrian street and boulevard, the Deribasovskaya . This is home to pleasant cafés, where you can sit down outside, take the weight off your feet, relax and just people-watch for a few minutes. 😉
Through the park to the beach
What’s the best way to round off a day in a city by the Black Sea ? That’s right: by watching the sun go down from the beach! 🙂 From the Deribasovskaya , it’s just a few minutes’ stroll through the Schevtschenko Park to Langeron Beach.
Fancy taking a stroll through heroic Odessa? Here’s where you can book your flight right now and discover this Pearl on the Black Sea for yourself: