Cosmopolitan Odessa, the largest port on the Black Sea, doubles as an area of heavy industry and as a thriving resort with beaches, special saline baths and a mild climate. Once the playground of Russian royalty and the home to famous writers, Odessa retains a vital role as a major cultural center. Past historical events include the revolutionary activities of 1905, which had the support of the mutinous battleship Potemkin.When the Russians established their control over the city, they began with the development of a bustling seaport.
During World War II, Odessa suffered major damage when it came under heavy siege by the Nazis. In recognition of the inhabitants' valiant stand against the enemy, Odessa was proclaimed the 'Hero City.' Fortunately, many of the 19th-century French-style buildings survived, adding greatly to Odessa's numerous attractions. A stroll along Primorsky Boulevard usually ends at the historic Potemkin staircase, which numbers 192 steps and extends 455 feet.The pride and glory of Odessa is its neo-classical Opera House where musical events conducted by Tchaikovsky and ballets featuring Anna Pavlova were held.
Thanks to a temperate climate and miles of prime beaches, Odessa and its surrounding resort areas are popular tourist destinations. Scores of visitors flock to the 'Riviera of the Black Sea,' taking the waters in seaside spas, touring opulent palaces and enjoying spectacular performances at the Opera House. Many of Odessa's residents are eager to engage in a conversation with visitors and try their foreign language skills, accepting with pride favorable comments about their 'Hero City.'