The following is a list submitted by Odessa’s flamboyant former mayor Eduard Gurvits. Feel free to submit your own suggestions or comment on the mayor’s take.
1. The Smiles
Odessa is a city of smiles. There is a good reason for calling our city the capital of humour! Its special atmosphere of friendliness, fun and openness wins the hearts of guests and makes each day a holiday. Moreover, the city knows how to celebrate with fervour and excess. This is demonstrated each year at the ‘Humorina’ festival (April 1), on the city’s birthday (2nd September) or at our annual autumn Jazz-festival!
2. The Sea
Odessa is the Pearl of the Black Sea. It basks in the sun for 240 days per year and winter is relatively mild. The city boasts various pleasant features: an average air temperature of +26°С and a sea temperature of +21°С. Odessa means sun, sea, beaches and a whole range of water activities: diving and yachting, swimming with dolphins and fishing. The total length of Odessa’s beaches is more than 40 km and nearby coastal resorts, including Karolina-Bugaz and Zatoka, adds further beach-going opportunities.
3. The Architecture
The historical centre of the city is a real gift for connoisseurs of fine architecture. During different periods, Odessa was built by Austrians (Krug), Englishmen (Valcott), Spaniards (Dallakva), Italians (Bernardatsi), Germans (Kundert), French (Otton), Czechs (Prokhaska), Poles (Gonsiorovskyy), Jews (Minkus), Russians (Melnikov) and Ukrainians (Nesturkh). The Legendary Odessa Opera House, Primorskyy Boulevard, Potemkin Stairs, Pushkinskaya, Gogol and Deribasovskaya Streets form the golden centre of Odesa’s architectural crown. Odesa’s monuments to duke de Richelieu, Catherine the Great, Pushkin, Leonid Utesov and even to the chair from the 12 chairs novel by I. Ilf & Y. Petrov are well-known all over the world!
4. The Art
Odessa is a true treasure for art connoisseurs. Twenty city museums are situated in luxurious historical buildings. Their collections include Scythian gold and Egyptian antiquities, a fragment from the legendary “Potemkin” battleship and wonderful sculptures by Eduards, all of which provide evidence of Odessa’s history and its famous guests, including writers and poets like Pushkin, Gogol, Mitskevich, and Simenon. There are also paintings by well-known artists such as Ayvazovskyy, Repin, Shevchenko, Kandinskyy and Roerich. Even short museum tours are full of intriguing discoveries. For example, the underground catacombs house the fascinating Partisan Glory Museum.
5. The Culture
With a 200 year history, Odesa is the cultural capital of southern Ukraine. The magnificent Opera House was built in 1887 by the famous Viennese architects F. Felner and G. Gelmer. It was later immortalized by Pushkin in his “Yevgeniy Onegin”. Gems in their own right, the Russian Drama Theatre, Ukrainian Theatre, Musical Comedy Theatre, Clowns House and the Odesa Philharmonic Society delight theatre-goers. Ten Odesa theatres, restored and renovated within the last few years, impress art admirers with their interiors and performances by famous artists from Russia, Ukraine and the rest of the world.
6. The Markets
Odessa is a port city, which means it is a commercial centre. Shopping is as old as the city itself. The famous Privoz market remains as motley and attractive as ever, while elite boutiques fill centre selling designer clothes and accessories. Large modern trade centres are springing up around the city complimenting small shops selling original decorations, souvenirs and gifts. `The seventh wonder’ of commercial Odessa is a gigantic market located on the edge of the city. It is the largest in Ukraine, and is known simply as ‘7th kilometre’.
7. The Food
Odessian cuisine. Not only is it tasty, varied and a good value, but wine-making traditions born of our fertile southern region date back to ancient times. Bulgarians, Greek, Swiss and German colonists brought ancient traditions and wine-making culture that have been preserved to this day. Wines from the Odesa region have won prestigious world awards and enjoy well-deserved popularity. Tairovo winery, Odesa Champagne winery, Shabo, Grosslibental, Odessa Steep, and French Boulevard trademarks are joined by Shustov cognac to provide a unique and varied selection of local beverages.
8. The Nightlife
Painting the town red in Odessa is a 24/7 concept. The city transforms in the evening: good times, dancing and lively communication. The epicentre of the club scene is Odessa’s equivalent to Ibiza: Arcadia Beach with its plethora of restaurants, bars, night clubs and discos. Multilingual banter and music, memorizing swirling lights and Odessa’s world-famous beauties combine with an atmosphere of recklessness. Nightlife in Odessa boils the blood and makes one’s head spin. Guests are lured by an unforgettable parade of fashion and fun.
9. The Health Resorts
Odessa is good for the health! Odessa has a tradition of health spas and sanatoria whose guests come to recuperate in the balmy sea air. There are also nearby salt lakes, unique natural laboratories where salt water and silt mud combine to create invaluable medicinal properties. Kuyalnik is one of the oldest mud resorts in Ukraine, and has been providing a unique product since the beginning of the region’s development.
10. The Business Opportunities
Odessa is ready to demonstrate to its guests its business side. We have all necessary facilities for business tourism. Hotels have business centres and well equipped conference halls, while entertainment opportunities in Odessa are truly infinite. There are balls similar to those found in count Vorontsov’s epoch, fashionable club parties, outdoor fêtes, swimming with dolphins, museum tours, etc. Tourist agencies and hotel personnel are ready to organize suitable excursions to compliment your business trip.