Odessa or Odesa (Ukrainian: Одеса; Russian: Одесса; Romanian: Odesa; Greek: Οδησσός; Yiddish: אדעס) is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast (province) located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 (as of the 2001 census).
Odessa was founded by Hacı I Giray, the Khan of Crimea, in 1240 and originally named Khadjibey after him. After a period of Lithuanian control, it passed into the domain of the Ottoman Sultan in 1529 and remained in Ottoman hands until the Ottoman Empire’s defeat in the Russo-Turkish War of 1792.
The Russians renamed the city Odessa in 1794. From 1819–1858 Odessa was a free port. During the Soviet period it was the most important port of trade in the Soviet Union and a Soviet naval base. On January 1, 2000 the Quarantine Pier of Odessa trade sea port was declared a free port and free economic zone for a term of 25 years.
In the 19th century it was the fourth largest city of Imperial Russia, after Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Warsaw. Its historical architecture has a style more Mediterranean than Russian, having been heavily influenced by French and Italian styles. Some buildings are built in a mixture of different styles, including Art Nouveau, Renaissance and Classicist.
Following the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 during World War I, Odessa was occupied by several groups, including the Ukrainian Tsentral’na Rada, the French Army, the Red Army and the White Army. Finally, in 1920, the Red Army took control of Odessa and united it with the Ukrainian SSR, which later became part of the USSR.
During World War II, from 1941–1944, Odessa was subject to Romanian administration, as the city had been made part of the Transnistria occupation district. Romanians used the name ‘Odessa’ as the Ukrainian version of the city. The Romanian occupation may be described a „soft one” compared to the short period of German occupation in 1944.
The Romanian commanding General made an unofficial armistice with the partisans hidden in the city’s catacombs, who in turn did not mount much resistance to the Romanians.
When the people of Odessa suffered from hunger, the Romanians transported grain from Bessarabia to Odessa in 1942 and 1943. It is told that the Romanians imported the best cognac and wines, in addition to two train loads of the best French food in 1942 to the restaurants of Odessa, from France.
During the April 1944 battle Odessa suffered severe damage and many casualties. Many parts of Odessa were damaged during its siege and recapture on 10 April 1944, when the city was finally liberated by the Red Army.
Following the Siege of Odessa, and the Axis occupation, approximately 25,000 Odessans (mostly Jews) were murdered and over 35,000 deported. Most of the atrocities were committed during the first six months of the occupation which officially begun on 17 October 1941, after the bombing of the Romanian HQ and the subsequent brutal response of the Romanian military.
After this time period, the Romanian administration changed its policy, refusing to deport the remaining Jewish population to extermination camps in German occupied Poland, and allowing Jews to work as hired labourers. As a result, despite the tragic events of 1941, the survival of the Jews in this area was higher than in other areas of occupied Europe.
If you are in Chisinau and you want to arrive in Odessa, the best idea is to get a vehicle –a bus from North Station (near Calea Basarabiei market).
So we did.
At 07.30 we took the first bus which goes to Odessa and we paid for a ticket 93 Moldavian lei (it means 5.8 euros). The bus-driver gave us an inquest to complete for entering in Ukraine.
A half of this inquest you give when you come in the country and another one when you leave it. We passed the customs very quickly, without problems and in 4-5 hours we arrived in Odessa.
As we didn’t have a map for orientation, we started to ask people how to arrive to Potemkin Stairs, which was our first visit. Honestly, we tell you, you must be patient with Ukrainian people because how many people you ask, you will receive different contradictory answers to arrive at the place you need 🙂
In this way, we took the trolley number 5, we paid for the ticket 1 grivna (0.08 euros) and after 4 stations we were on Tiraspol’skaya Street. We walked for other 15 minutes among some nice old buildings and we arrived at the Poteomkin Stairs.
By the way, the streets from Odessa are very nice in autumn :P.
We visited the Passage from Odessa which impressed us very much by its architecture. We have to recognize the prices from those shops were pretty high. On the streets, we saw a lot of expensive bars, restaurants and pubs, but interesting arranged, however, with few clients.
From the beginning, we were a bit disappointed a cause of those stairs-we thought it would be more imposing, but it looked like some usually stairs. From the right side, there was a funicular which leave you down, at the beginning of the stairs.
Sincerely, we don’t see the meaning of this funicular because the distance is not so long, it’s only 142 meters you can descend in 2 minutes!
A funny moment was when we had to split thousands of balloons threw from the roof of a building-people from Odessa celebrated the inauguration of a shopping center. It was nice to see people of all ages doing a thing that gave them a smile on theirs faces.
If you are in Ukraine, it is impossible to not respect the tradition- we bought beer and dry salt fish! How the harbour was near, we had a freezing walk on the promenade; the sea was not so hospitable with us.
At half past 5 we had to take the bus to return in Chisinau so we had to hurry to arrive at the bus station. We had the same problem: all people we asked what trolley we must take gave us different answers, but in the end we arrived to the final destination. 😛
From the bus station we bought some carrot pies (3.5 griva=0.25 euros each pie). The ticket price Odessa-Chisinau was 53 grivnas/person (equal 4 euros). At the customs; we gave the second part of that inquest we completed before we entered in Ukraine and in 4 hours we were in Chisinau.
Odessa seemed us to be a nice, pretty big city, with a lot of interesting places to visit, however, better in summer 😉
Chişinău (also known as Kishinev, Russian: Кишинёв Kishinyov), is the capital and largest municipality of Moldova. It is also its main industrial and commercial centre and is located in the middle of the country, on the river Bîc.
Economically, the city is the most prosperous in Moldova and is one of the main transportation hubs of the region.
As the most important municipality in Moldova, Chişinău has a broad range of educational facilities.
The proportion of green spaces in the city is one of the highest among major European cities.
According to one version, the name comes from the archaic Romanian word chişla (meaning „spring”, „source of water”) and nouă („new”), because it was built around a small spring. Nowadays, the spring is located at the corner of Pushkin and Albişoara streets.
Its Hungarian name is Kisjenő (kis „small” + the eponym „Jenő”), from which the Romanian name originates.
Chişinău is also known in Russian as Кишинёв (Kishinyov). It is written Kişinöv in the Latin Gagauz alphabet. It was also written as Кишинэу in the Moldovan Cyrillic alphabet in Soviet times. Historically, the English language name for the city, „Kishinev,” was based on the modified Russian one because it entered the English language via Russian at the time Chişinău was part of the Russian Empire.
Besides the city itself, the municipality comprises 34 other suburban localities, and is subdivided into sectors, each comprising a part of the city itself and several suburbs. The municipality in its totality elects a mayor and a local council, which then name 5 pretors, one for each sector.
The five sectors of Chişinău are:
Tiraspol (Romanian: Tiraspol; Russian: Тирасполь and Ukrainian: Тирасполь) is the second largest city in Moldova and is the capital and administrative centre of the de facto independent Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic – Transnistria „PMR”).
The city is located on the eastern bank of the Dniester River.
Tiraspol is a regional hub of light industry, such as furniture and electrical goods production.
The toponym consists of two words: Tiras — the ancient Greek name for the Dniester River, and polis – city.
In 1989 the city had a population of about 190,000 and in 1992 203,000. 41% were Russians, 32% Ukrainians and 18% were Moldovans (Romanians).
2004 Census in Transnistria:
Total population (including Bender): 555,347 (percentages below refer to this first figure)
Total population (minus Bender): 450,337
- Moldovans (Romanians): 31.9%
- Russians: 30.3%
- Ukrainians: 28.8%
- Bulgarians: 2%
- Poles: 2%
- Gagauz: 1.5%
- Jews: 1.3%
- Belarusians: 1%
- Germans: 0.6%
- Others: 0.5%
Transnistria, also known as Trans-Dniester, Transdniestria, and Pridnestrovie is a disputed region in southeast Europe.
Since its declaration of independence in 1990, followed by the War of Transnistria in 1992, it is governed by the unrecognized Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR), which claims the left bank of the river Dniester and the city of Bendery (Tighina) within the former Moldavian SSR.
The modern Republic of Moldova does not recognize the secession and considers PMR-controlled territories to be a part of Moldova’s sovereign territory.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
„… Many people know about Tiraspol, but few of them had the chance to go there. We were lucky to pass a day on the left side of river Dniester.
From the beginning of the day, we took the bus from the Central station, not before to buy the tickets from a separated ticket office.
It costs 32 lei/person (~3$). After an hour, we arrived at the customs, where we were asked to leave the bus.
A nice woman, who takes care that every passenger passes the frontier, led us to the counter from where we could take an inquest to complete it an official procedure that allow you to pass in Transnistria.
We paid 22 lei/person after we stayed in a big crowd, whereupon the frontier guard gave us a part of the inquest without whom we don’t have the permission to leave Transnistria.
Before that, the persons who aren’t citizens of Republic of Moldova have to register to another wicket, it’s enough to show the passport. We returned at our bus and continued the road till the station of Tiraspol.
The driver stopped in Tighina for few minutes, before we passed through the bridge who rememberd me about the conflict of Transnistria form 1992.At the beginning of the bridge we saw a Russian tanc-a way for showing the power of those who were fighting for “liberty”.
In less than 15 minutes we arrived in Tiraspol, a city which seemed to be lost by civilization, people and modernization. The bus stopped at the railway station (also for buses) and the first thing we did was to ask for the left bus that goes to Chisinau.
Unfortunately, the reaction of the seller from the ticket office wasn’t so kind. I had to ask for three times that I get an uncertain answer. I noticed that on the wall of their booth was suspended the portrait of Smirnov-the transnistrian leader.
We changed money at an exchange and for 100 lei we received 70 transnistrian roubles. While we were looking around, we paid attention at a strange smell that came from the railway station. It was a stench emanated from the train which came from Russia and had a setback at the railway station from Tiraspol.
A lot of people who got out from the train had big teddy bears in their hands-maybe at Moscow they cost cheaper than in Transnistria, who knows?! 🙂
Averting from that stinking place, we decided to see the other part of the city, which had the same traits: old soviet buildings on which were put communist signs, bad roads, silent people-things that make you feel in another country, in another period, as in USSR.
We tried to find supermarket “Sheriff”, but, without luck, we asked the citizens (in Russian, of course!) to tell us where it is.
It’s interesting to know that in Tiraspol “Sheriff” is a common name for a stadium, for a football team, a supermarket, a sort of vodka (and so on), what can that mean?! Well, “Sheriff” is a quite big market, where you can find Russian and Ukrainian products, some of them cheaper than on the other side of river Dniester.
With 70 transnistrian roubles, we bought more than we could buy in Chisinau, with the same money.
It was already murk and we had to turn back to the station, to take the bus.
How we couldn’t receive an amenable answer from the ticket sellers, to know when the bus will come, we waited outside, in cold. We profited for that moment and we ate a bit of salad (bought from “Sheriff”) because we were very hungry.
We cut in with a girl who was waiting, as us the bus. At the beginning we spoke in Russian, but after we found out she knows Romanian, we changed the language. She was born in Tiraspol, but she is studying in Chisinau.
We forgot her name, but we remember she was talkative and positive. After waiting for an hour to appear a bus to take us from there, finally, a white Mercedes minibus, with a drunk driver, came for us.
We gave him 36 lei/person, (the price for a ticket) and we were happy to know that in an hour we will be at home.
We could warm up in that minibus, although near us was sitting a drunken man who believed we were going to Balti. He was stopped at the customs and obligated to pay a mulct. It was funny, because his family didn’t stop to argue him, while he was “high”. At the customs house, we showed that part of inquest which we completed when we entered in Transnistria.
They let us go. In more than one hour we were back in Chisinau. That sensation of old soviet atmosphere continued to rout us, even if we were pretty far from that place. Transnistria seems to be a forgotten place, where the people who live there have a strange way of acting, a strange behavior-always shy, always silent, with the eyes aimed on you.”