Odesa (Odessa) is Ukraine’s most charming city. Anyone who argues otherwise has never been to Odesa, has never strolled its captivating streets nor broken bread with its jovial citizens.
As a tribute to its appeal, eight cities in the US, two in Canada and one in Brazil were named Odessa. There’s also Lake Odesa and even Odesa the planet somewhere out there in the cosmos. However, none of these tributes shine as vibrantly as Odesa, Ukraine: The Pearl of the Black Sea.
Throughout its history Odesa has lured travellers, artists, poets, entrepreneurs and radical dissidents.
The city was founded in 1794 by Catherine the Great, who realised that a port on the Black Sea was essential for the expansion of the Russian Empire. It was not erected on empty ground, however. Archaeological findings have revealed the existence of an ancient Greek settlement. The Kyivan Rus, the Golden Horde, Lithuanians, Ottomans, Tatars and Poles also made use of Odesa’s ideal location. The area ultimately fell into Russian hands during the Russo-Turkish War (1787-1791), and was later annexed under the Treaty of Jassy in 1792.