Odessa, Partner City of Tbilisi

The partnership agreement between the two cities of Odessa and Tbilisi, aiming to enhance cultural and economic relations, was signed in 2012, when Odessa City’s delegation visited Tbilisi. The delegation was headed by Mayor Aleksey Kostusyev and the group was received by the Tbilisi Mayor Giorgi Ugulava. A weekly sea connection between Georgia and Odessa is carried out by the shipping company UkrFerry, while direct flights are covered by SkyUp, Ukrainian Airlines and Yanair.

Odessa, a city celebrated for its cinema and literature, is the top tourist destination on the Black Sea coast, and is the maritime capital of Ukraine. Thanks to its port system, Odessa is also an international logistic hub.

With a population of almost exactly a million, Odessa is famous for its cultural heritage, sophisticated gastronomy and the sparkling nightlife, which created the myth of its being the “Pearl of the Black Sea”. Above all, its worldwide fame is perhaps due to the cinema masterpiece 'Battleship Potëmkin' (Ejzenstejn, 1925), with the unforgettable scene of the massacre on the stairway, which is still Odessa’s main landmark. Indeed, Odessa was the Hollywood of the Soviet Union.

Opera in Odessa 


The most intriguing characteristic of Odessa is the cosmopolitan soul, growing since its foundation in 1794, and the numerous nationalities contributing to the building of the city: Italian, French, German, Greek, Turkish, British, Polish, Bulgarian, Romanian and Jewish.

Odessa owes its birth to a Neapolitan officer, José De Ribas, serving under Catherine the Great, who seized the local Turkish fort and scouted the harbor during the war with the Ottoman Empire. He founded a new city, choosing the name of Odessa, from the legend of Odysseus. Thanks to De Ribas, the first leading class of the city was mainly composed of merchants and ship-owners coming from Naples, Palermo and Genoa.

Potemkin Stairs in Odessa 

Thereafter, the city was developed by two French mayors: Duc de Richelieu (grandson of the famous Bishop of the “Three Musketeers”) and Count Langeron. They set the urban rational design of the city, with the artistic guidance of some prestigious Italian architects. The result was a “St.Petersburg of the South”, but with a French-Italian light touch.

Empress Catherine invited foreigners to settle in the newly conquered province, especially from the German states, and allocated many funds to build not only the main port of the Russian Empire but also an ideal city, full of art and culture. Therefore, Odessa became an industrious and tolerant melting pot of various cultures. The great Russian poet Pushkin, who spent one year there, described a city where: “people read newspapers in Italian, French, German, and Greek, and enjoy political and economic freedom superior to other Russian cities”.

Sailor's Wife Monument 

After the initial immigration of Italians, the city’s business spine was integrated by Germans, Greeks and Jews (one-third of the population, before the Revolution). Odessa was the easiest place of the Russian Empire to become rich, due to the status of 'Porto Franco' (tax exemption on trade). For this reason, it got the nickname of being the 'Russian California'. The famous American writer Mark Twain visited Odessa in 1867 and wrote: “I stood in Odessa for the first time. It looked just like an American city”.

Odessa Passage


  1. Beautiful architecture and iconic monuments: Potemkin Stairway, Opera & Ballet Theater and Passage (monumental arcade) are the city’s most famous jewels. They show the cultural ties between Odessa and other Eastern-European cities like Prague, Budapest, St. Petersburg and Wien. The city is also famous for its cozy yards (like the Venetian-gothic yard of the Philharmonic Concert Hall), museums and iconic monuments (“Oranges for the Tsar”, “Policeman with birds”, “the 12th Chair”, the Sailor’s wife, etc.), which create a kind of movie setting atmosphere.
  2. Gastronomic innovation: Odessa is the capital of Ukrainian-fusion cuisine. In its dishes is present the influence of Bessarabian, Jewish, French, Georgian, Genoese, Turkish and Mongolian cuisine. Odessa’s restaurants offer high quality of food, with a sophisticated taste for interior design.
  3. Beaches and nightlife: Odessa beach clubs are famous as is the city’s nightlife. The low cost compared with the quality of entertainment is very competitive for exciting summer holidays. Pubs and restaurants in Odessa are also an interesting experience of creative interior design, combining Western styles with local Eastern taste.
  4. A house in Odessa: expatriates in Odessa like living in a city with mixed ingredients: European style, maritime atmosphere, ironic and charming people. The city broadcasts love vibes, due to literature references and local beauties. Many foreigners buy apartments in Odessa for personal use or investment (they are cheaper than in other European cities).
  5. Business opportunities: Odessa is the sea gateway of Ukrainian agriculture export to the Middle and Far East, North Africa and European markets, and a logistic hub connecting trade from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea and Central Europe, through railway routes. An ideal place for foreign investors looking for opportunities in Port infrastructure, logistics services and agriculture machineries.

Kisses Sign in Odessa 

Further information about Odessa is available here:

Source: The Odessa Journal

This article is offered by “The Odessa Journal”, an online magazine in English dedicated to Odessa’s news on culture, lifestyle and business.

02 July 2020 15:08