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Ukraine’s fourth-largest city by population is one of the most popular travel destinations in the country, not at least owing to it being located at a bay of the same name in the Black Sea. The port of Odessa, along with two others in the nearby satellite towns of Illichivsk and Yuzhne, is now the primary Ukrainian seaport, handling oil and gas and freight transportation as well as passenger traffic. It is well connected to railway and pipeline transfer routes.

The city itself was founded upon decree by Catherine the Great in 1794 with the explicit intention to build a town around the port area. Before, this location had been the home of an ancient Greek and later of a Tatar settlement.  Odessa is the administrative center of the Odessa oblast (province) with some 2,3 million inhabitants. The area once belonged to the historic New Russia, before it shortly became a part of the Ukrainian People’s Republic and later of the Ukrainian SSR within the Soviet Union. In the Second World War, the city came under Romanian occupation and suffered many casualties, before the Red Army recaptured it in 1944.

Odessa has managed to preserve elements of the influences it experienced over the years in its rich cultural scene. The cityscape is stamped by the nearby ocean with port and beaches. Not far from the city, the Dniester river flows into the Black Sea.

Odessa Oper

Quick facts Odessa


Southern Ukraine, at the Black Sea



1.006 million

Founding year


Corresponding to location and the geographical conditions - the city’s surrounding areas are mostly flat with very few minor elevations - the climate in the region is largely influenced by the open waters. There are comparatively dry, mild winters with temperatures not dipping below 0 C too often, more precipitation in the summer and a climate that is considered healthy year-round. The water temperature at the coast is rarely higher than 20 C.

These favorable climate conditions are beneficial to the tourism industry, one of the main economic factors in the area. Many sights in the city, such as the famous Potemkin steps or the many tree-lined boulevards as well as a number of sandy beaches lure many tourists to Odessa. Other large employers are in the shipbuilding, freight-handling and forwarding and energy industries. In addition, the city is home to several universities, among them the I.I. Mechnikov National University and the National Medical University. Odessa also has a long cultural, literary and scientific history.

Odessa’s airport, renovated in 2012, serves some one million annual passengers and maintains direct connections to a few international destinations, Istanbul, Munich and Moscow being among them. Within the city, tramways, buses and cable cars as well as ferry services are available. There are also numerous connections by railway.