Splendid neo-classical buildings
Famous cinematographic steps
The majestic City Hall

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The legacy of Catherine the Great

An MSC cruise of the Mediterranean is an excellent opportunity for exploring Odessa. During your vacation in Ukraine, you can visit this city on the shores of the Black Sea founded by Katherine the Great in 1794.

Located in an inlet between the mouths of the rivers Dnestr and Dnepr, once the port of a Greek colony (it was the ancient Odessos), it has many interesting features. When you set ashore from your cruise ship you can take a walk to the famous steps seen in Ejzenstejn’s film The Battleship Potemkin.

It was in Odessa that the people’s revolt broke out in 1905, supported by the mutinied crew of the battleship. The steps were designed by Francesco Boffo in 1825 and they’re so long that many people use the funicular alongside it. Originally there were 200 steps but today there are eight less as these have been incorporated in the pavement of the Prymors'ka vul. The city has wide, regularly laid out roads, intersecting at right angles and extends all the way to the sea; the atmosphere is more Mediterranean than Russian.

There are some splendid neo-classical buildings such as: Vorontsov, Potocki, Shidlovsky, Czarnomski (in Bershad) and the same Town Hall of Odessa, on the seafront. To get to know the many artist who lived here, whether they wanted to or not (like Isaak E. Babel, Aleksandr Sergeevič Puškin, who was exiled here for a year and whose home is now a museum, Anna Akhmatova or the duo Ilf and Petrov), visit the Literature Museum.

The city’s original centre, dominated by an ancient fortress, is found in the park named after Taras G. Sevcenko (Ukrainian poet and humanist). An interesting site to visit are the catacombs, of katakombi of Odessa: 100 kms of tunnels dug out in the 18th century by smugglers, revolutionaries and partisans. Also very attractive are the outskirts or the beaches of Odessa, like Arcadia and its famous seaside resorts, Lanzheron or Malibu (all along the urban seafront).

Must see places in Odessa

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    A country in continuous transformation
    A country in continuous transformation

    The second-largest country in Europe, Ukraine has not always had clearly defined frontiers and has spent large tracts of its history under foreign rule. Even today the issue of “Ukrainianness” is viewed differently by people living in different regions of the country: Ukrainians living in Kyiv and the east may well speak the Russian language at home and on the streets, while those living in L’viv and the west speak Ukrainian in all social situations and are enormously proud of the fact.

    Despite being a country of large distances and time-consuming travel, Ukraine is not as far away as you might think, and its three key cities are well worth fitting into a wider European trip. Ukraine’s fast-paced capital Kyiv offers a fascinating insight on a country in the throes of transformation, with chic boutiques and slick bars sprouting up along broad, cobbled boulevards. Glittering church domes and steeples show off the city’s medieval glories.

    One of Europe’s great Mediterranean cities, and a stop-off on your cruise to Ukraine, Odessa exudes a sense of Tsarist-Empire grandeur, while its bars and beaches provide a vibrant hedonistic edge. In total contrast is the western city of L’viv, a Central European city that looks like an estranged cousin of Vienna or Prague, and has the cultural attractions and café life to match.