"Odessa on the Black Sea" Odessa by bilgeez
Odessa Travel Guide: 513 reviews and 1,324 photos
Odessa sits on the Black Sea and is a diamond-in-the-rough. It is a large city (2 million inhabitants) that is still reacclaimating to a capitalist economy after 75+ years of being in the Soviet Union. One sees spurts of modernization and growth, but the city is very beat up after years of neglect and socialist stagnation. But there are many beautiful and intriguing things about Odessa. The ship terminal is very modern and clean and bright. A modern hotel is on the quay itself. The city centre is clean and compact and offers many restaurants and activities. The Opera House, one of the most ornate in Europe, is undergoing refurbishment and is very striking. The parks in the city are many and vary in upkeep from very good to very bad. The Pushkin Park, around the corner from the Potemkin Stairs, is one that is very well kept and is a favorite spot for newlyweds to have photos taken because it is adjecent to the main palace of justice where couples are legally married. Another park, Shevchenka, where the tomb of the unknown sailor lies, is also very well kept and is a popular place for locals to stroll. It also overlooks the main ship terminals and the Black Sea, itself. Coming into the Park from the west is very awe-inspiring, as one walks down toward the monument of the unknown sailor tomb, one sees the Black Sea as a background to this monument.
The city is easy to get around, and very, very cheap (ten cents US) by bus or tram, but they are very crowded (see my review).
The Arcadia Beach is very nice and has many nice restaurants and disco clubs adjacent to it, also a newer hotel. To get there one has to travel through some older neighborhoods of soviet-style apartment blocks that are very much the worse for wear. But adjacent to the beach areas, are new townhouse developments and businesses.
Odessa is full of new, entrepenuership, and many street vendors are located everywhere in the city. Look around for best price.
As with any large city in Europe, one has to be careful of pickpockets and I would advise not walking alone outside the city centre after dark as muggings are common. Also be advised that there are many stray dogs in the city, they generally are not agressive, but don't interact with them, many are cute puppies, but usually momma is close and she may not like someone getting near her pups!
Aside from that, Odessa is a very intriguing city and if one wants to visit a city in a former Soviet State, Odessa may be the place to go as it has much to offer and is less of a tourist trap than the Crimean cities.
Just to show the contrast, this picture I took in December, 2004, the above I took in September.
- Pros:Cheap, easy to get around, beautiful sea vistas
- Cons:Beat up, stray dogs, underdeveloped
- In a nutshell:Nice Seaside location, somewhat exotic
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