100 interesting facts about Odesa

Odesa is associated with the sea, warm weather, unique architecture, and its heroes. It is also associated with many stories and legendary discoveries. Let’s learn some facts related to the history of Odessa.

  1. The name Odesa is rooted in the period when the Greek colony Odessos was settled on this territory
  2. François de Wollant designed urban planning in such a way that the city would face the seaside
  3. The first building in the city was built on August 22, 1794, on Lanzheronovskaya Street for Volkonsky
  4. The first church was St. Nicholas Church which later became the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Saviour
  5. Stone paving is a real heritage of Odessa that solved the problem of impassable roads. Each stone was delivered directly from Naples from under Vesuvius. The sections laid out by those stones are still preserved on Pushkinskaya and Deribasovskaya streets
  6. After the cancellation of budgeting of port construction local merchants sent to Emperor Paul a present consisting of 3000 oranges. The ruler appreciated the gift and soon after the money was issued at interest for 25 years. This decision rescues Odessa and in memory of this transaction a monument to an orange was erected in Odessa
  7. At the beginning establishment, Odessa suffered from a lack of drinking water fountains were installed in the city and were named Small, Medium, and Large. Thanks to them important parts of the city were provided with water. Later on when people got something of a low quality in the market they used to say “Not fountain!”. Since then this phrase has often been used by Odessites when they want to define something of low-quality
  8. The year 1880 was marked by the opening of the horse-drawn railway. Its route started on Rishelievskaya and coursed along Pochtovaya, Kanatnaya streets and terminated at Beach Langeron
  9. Implemented in “porto-franco” had lasted for 40 years improved the city’s economy and made it by 1830 the largest port on the Black Sea exporting wheat
  10. Despite the fact that the traffic in Odessa is right hand there are some sections where it was changed to left hand. Those are Italian Boulevard and Vysoky Lane
  11. In 1829, Odessa became the first city in the world where bleaching powder was used as an antiseptic against cholera.
  12. In 1827 the first issue of the newspaper “Odessa Herald” was published.
  13. In 1837, the city consisted of 47 streets, and by population 4th place in the whole empire after St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Warsaw
  14. Odessa became the first city in the whole empire, where asphalt was paved
  15. In 1873, a water pipeline from Dniester-Odessa was opened that solved problems with water
  16. In 1877, Odessa became the first city in the Russian Empire where a sewage system was installed.
  17. In 1886, Odessa was the first city in the empire and the second in the world where the bacteriological station was opened
  18. In 1894, the first Russian asphalt track was built on Mikhailovskaya Square. The bicyclist competitions took place here
  19. In 1908, the opening of the first Russian Air Club took place
  20. Deribasovskaya is the pedestrian street that originally was called Gymnasium Street because of commercial gymnasia Volceathat was located here. In 1811, the street got the name Deribasovskaya
  21. Odessa became the first city in the Russian Empire that had a car driving the streets. It was owned by a publisher of “Odessa Paper ” Vasily Navrotsky
  22. The first Hebrew newspaper Gamelitz was issued in Odessa. It had an application Kol Mevaser which was the only Russian issue in Yiddish
  23. In 1901, at a Paris Architect Forum was recognized as the best architectural complex of Odessa
  24. In 1903, the first in the entire Russian Empire ambulance station was opened in Odessa
  25. On September 24, 1910, the electrical tram line was opened.
  26. In 1938, the zoo was opened which is the oldest zoo in Ukraine
  27. Once, at the beginning of the 19th century, a landowner A. Teutul set a fire in his manor on a high hill at the shore. The sailors confused it with a landmark and wrecked near the shore. The landowner was shocked by the tragedy and soon the Odessa Lighthouse was built
  28. Potemkin’s staircase was not named in honor of Duke G. Potemkin. The sponsor of the was Prince Vorontsov. He presented a nameless gift to his beloved wife. Only later after release of the film “Battleship Potemkin” odessites began calling it Potemkin. It got its name officially in the 1950s
  29. Odessa shopping center “Passage” was recognized as a magnificent architectural construction in Russia. There were warehouses in its basement from where the goods were delivered to stores with the help of wagonettes on rails
  30. The first mayor of Odessa Jose De Ribas spoke 7 languages, was of low stature (almost a dwarf), and received the Maltese cross from Catherine for his achievements. His services in the battle under Ismail were described in Don Juan by Byron
  31. Jose De Ribas wasn’t the only one to make a considerable contribution in Odessa’s development. His brother Felix founded the City Garden bringing trees from Uman and Tulchin
  32. There is no tree growing on Lanzheronovskaya Street except one old oak tree whose branches are decorated with a chain
  33. In 1919, the first Ukrainian national film studio was opened in Odesa. Many famous films were shot in this studio
  34. The only museum of cinema exposition works in Odessa. Here are stored many items such as the glove of Vera Kholodnaya, a coat and a hat of Vysotsky, and the first camera of A. Dovzhenko
  35. The novel “12 Chairs” by Odessa writers I. Ilf and E. Petrov 18 times in different parts of the world. The first screen adaptation of L. Gaidai took place in 1971, and five years later, in 1976, M. Zakharov’s film with A. Mironov was released. Almost every foreign screen adaptation was preliminarily adjusted to local realities. In Brazil, the main character was a woman, in America it was a flea race trainer. Even the number of chairs was changed
  36. For the filming of the movie “Liquidation” about post-war Odesa, a really rare object was taken – a tram issued in1932 that was brought from Kharkov
  37. The shooting of “Electronic” was carried out in Odessa and the central character lived on29, Kanatnaya street
  38. The first photographers of the city were Philip Haas and Kubat Dietz which was confirmed by ads in “Odessa Gazette” in 1843. The first photographic classes were founded in 1894
  39. В честь города-побратима – Генуи, в Одессе названа улица – Генуэзская, но и в итальянском городке есть улица ViaOdessa.
  40. In the late 19th century the family of merchants Hoffmann sold the tiara Saitfern of great historical and material value to the Louvre. But after a while, scientists started doubting its authenticity and they were right. The jewelry was created by Odessa Jew Rukhomovsky. He was awarded a medal for his work and the tiara became very famous and still belongs to the
  41. The first golden coin of Kyivan Rus is stored at the Archaeological Museum. There are only 11 of them in the whole world
  42. Once, at 40, Kanatnaya Street there was a Vysotsky tea-packing factory that was supplying tea directly to the Imperial Palace. This business is still carried on in Israel by the founder’s relatives
  43. There are several houses without a wall in Odessa. They are located on Vorontsovsky Lane, Vera Inber Street, Vera Kholodnaya Square, and B. Khmelnytskyi Street. In fact, this is an optical illusion and there is a wall. It is just built at a 45 degrees angle
  44. The monument to Lenin that was located in the Pressmash plant territory was to be demolished according to the recently adopted Ukrainian decommunization law. But thanks to the sculptor A. Milov it was quite harmonically turned into a monument to Darth Vader with a wi-fi hotspot
  45. Preobrazhenskaya Street was renamed seven times. It had names Sredinnaya, Trotskaya, Soviet Army, and even of King Mihai
  46. The Museum of Interesting Sciences on Shevchenko Avenue is an amusing place to spend time with the whole family. Here, the secrets of physics are revealed through principles of physics. For instance, visitors are offered to measure lamprophony, to learn the causes of the occurrence of tornadoes, to find a way out of the labyrinth
  47. Initially, in the 30s of the 19th century, Privoz was part of the Old Market. Merchants used to sell their goods directly from carts
  48. In 1913, the Odessa football team became the champion of the Russian Empire.
  49. The world’s largest Georgy ribbon (2 )was unfolded in Odessa in 2010. Its length equals the Potemkin Stair length
  50. Cave houses built by Cossacks are still preserved to our times
  51. Cozy cafe Fanconi is a landmark of Odessa that was visited by Pushkin, Kuprin, Gogol, Chekhov, Gumilev, Mayakovsky, and Utesov. In his memoirs, Leonid Utesov said that he once arranged an original auction exhibition where the fetters of Kotovskiy were put on sale
  52. In 1910, a historic flight in Odessa sky took Mikhail Efimov and then one month later Sergey Utochkin. An was the first to fly over the bay on an airplane
  53. A king of the crime world Mishka Yaponchik never approved of slaughter and the trespassers were punished severely. He also invented a “raider code” according to which lawyers, artists, and doctors were untouchable for the mafia
  54. Odessa prison castle, built in 1826, looks like a big cross from a bird’s eye panorama
  55. There is a square of Ostap Bender in Odessa. It is only 5 square meters in size and is located on Deribasovskaya Street
  56. During the defense of Odessa (4.09 – 16.10 1941), the Yanvarsky factory manufactured about 60 tanks of unusual construction. They were made out of tractors lined with ship steel. They fired with two machine guns of 7.62caliber
  57. An odessite Stepan Dzhevetsky has constructed a first submarine
  58. Odessa funicular was launched in 1902 connecting the port with uptown. This lifting facility was constructed according to the project of engineer Pyatnitsky
  59. The world’s first perfume Fountain was opened in Odessa for its 210th birthday by the Frenchman K. Lacarin. Each hour the fountain will spray perfumes specially selected by the perfumer. The collection consists of 21 perfumes
  60. The tallest building in Odessa is the tower of the Arc-Palace – 106 m. The height record belongs to the television relay tower on Fontan – 175 m
  61. Near the Opera, there is a house Navrotsky built of red brick. It was owned by the publisher of “Odessa Paper”.He felt reverence for art so he opened a shelter at his own cost where poor poets and writers could live for free on a broad basis
  62. The oldest champagne factory in Ukraine is located on the French Boulevard in Odesa. It was founded by Heinrich Rederer in the late 19th century. One of the sparkling wine brands is named after him
  63. A marble sculpture “Laocoon and Sons” is an identical copy of the one from the Vatican. The merchant Marazli was so much impressed by its beauty that he ordered a copy. Later it was given to the state and now it beautifies the Archaeological Museum courtyard
  64. The fountain sculpture “Children and the Frog” on 6, Lanzheronovskaya Street is a well-known creation of the early 20th century. Many foreigners were willing to buy this sculpture so the sculptor Max Blond created a few more copies that now decorate Denver, Dijon, Dusseldorf, Zurich, and Odessa
  65. The house “Blue Dream” located next to the Musical Comedy theatre is the place where comic Maxim Galkin lived at an early age
  66. Humorina is a laugh festival that is held in Odessa from April 1, 1973. In 2012, 1,000 Japanese tourists visited this festival
  67. Odessa has its own Walk of Fame opened in 2014 on Lanzheronovskaya Street. The first stars were dedicated to A. Akhmatova, I. Babel, K. Muratova, M. Zhvanetsky, L. Utesov, S. Richter
  68. There is also a wax-figure museum in Odessa. It exhibits figures of famous people related to Odessa
  69. The first monument in Odessa was dedicated to de Richelieu
  70. The act of bravery of thousands of marines who threw weight behind Odessa in 1941and who did not allow to take the city by assault was eternalized in a Monument to the Unknown Sailor
  71. Odesa is one of three cities whose residents set the Ukrainian records. One of the interesting records was a football marathon where 271 goals were scored. A can Veniamin from Moldavanka has titled the oldest cat but he passed away in 2016
  72. Lutheran Church of St. Peter and Paul was built in 1827 by the German community. It was rebuilt in the late 19th century and after the revolution, war, and fire, it was restored recently
  73. Misha Yaponchik – a king of the Odessa mob, became the prototype of a character in “Odessa Stories” by Isaak Babel. And Mikhail Vodyanoy played him in the operetta “At Dawn” in the 1980s
  74. The first educational institution in Odessa was Vretto Private School which worked from 1800 to 1803
  75. In the 19th century in Odessa, there was a school for young thieves under the protection of Sonka Golden Hand. The tests took place in Hospitalnaya / Zaporozhskaya streets in a particular way: there was a bell in boys’ pockets the sound of which indicated the failure
  76. The Museum of Contraband at 6, Ekaterininskaya Street was founded in 2013. The museum exhibits seized contraband goods and the means of their transfer
  77. The opening of Odesa’s first City Public Library took place on April 15, 1830. The decree on foundation was signed in 1829 but the opening was postponed because of plague epidemy
  78. Women’s College for the deaf-mutes, founded in the late 40s of the 19th century, was the first institution of such kind
  79. Richelieu Lyceum was founded in 1817 and its first principal was a friend of Richelieu Abbot Nicole
  80. The first green eco-zone in Odessa consisted of undersized acacia and enringed the city
  81. A legendary 411 battery is a whole military complex with its own electrical substation, water, aeration, heating, and food storage. In the period of defense, the Odessa battery made 220 firings and in the day of withdrawal 2 tons of tolite was blown up. Nowadays there is a memorial museum at this spot with a big exhibit of different types of equipment and weapons
  82. Starokonny market is one of the most famous in the city. It was founded in 1833 for selling cattle. Nowadays they sell pets and birds from all over the world
  83. Odessa catacombs with its hidden passages and labyrinths were used as perfect shelter by contrabandists undergrounders. Their total length is about 2.5 thousand km
  84. A Museum of Chocolate on 14, Deribasovskaya Street attracts visitors with its unusual sweet sculptures. In 2009, Reuteurs named the museum second-best in the world
  85. The founder of the beach “Arcadia” was Belgian Emile Cambieu who opened the first restaurant here
  86. Palm Alley is a picturesque spot in Odessa, the real flower of the city that was opened in 2014. It was planted as a gift to Odessites to create a special atmosphere of a resort zone near the beach Arcadia
  87. There are two legends explaining why Teshchin Bridge in Odessa has this name (a bridge of my mother-in-law). The first one claims it is because it wobbles in the wind and the second one states that city committee party president M. Sinitsa was interested in bridge construction to use it to visit his mother-in-law nowadays the lovebirds hang locks on it
  88. A fairytale tunnel with pictures of plots of different fairy tales is located on French Boulevard. It is 200 m long and 20 m deep and it leads directly to the sea from the health resort “Magnolia”
  89. Kanatnaya Street in Odessa was named after two ropeworks previously located there. Nowadays, the “Stalkanat” factory is a successor of one of them. Count Sabansky opened the largest bread shop on this street
  90. Odessa is known for the odd names of streets. The most ridiculous are Charlatan Street, Scamped Work Street, Junkie Street, Watermelon Street, Grandma Street
  91. Forbes magazine included Odessa Opera House on the list of the most remarkable sightseeing of Eastern Europe
  92. The Museum of Anchors is an open-air museum located in front of St. Nicholas church. The display exhibits there are anchors lifted from the seabottom
  93. An oak “Black Night” is a monument that has a passport with the specified date of planting (1820)
  94. One of the two female captains in the USSR was Bertha Rapoport an Odessite of Jewish descent
  95. The main lighthouse in the port of Odesa – The Vorontsov lighthouse together with the Lighthouse located on Preobrazhenskaya Street helps seamen to identify the right track to the port. They are visually located one above another and only their comparison allows to see the right way
  96. The famous thieves’ slang “Fenya” was formed in Odessa among local Jewish gangsters. The Jews spoke Yiddish and Hebrew, and since policemen could not understand them the slang was gradually formed
  97. One of the most respected occupations in Odessa in the 19th-20th centuries was a drayman
  98. Odessa cuisine is unique having combined several culinary traditions: Jewish, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Moldovan, and Greek. Odessites treat their guests with stuffed fish, vegetables and small vareniki, cabbage rolls, pancakes
  99. February 2016, Odessites got into the Book of Records of Ukraine having made 5247 vareniki
  100. The National Bank of Ukraine issued a commemorative coin for the 120th anniversary of the Odessa Opera Theater
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