All About The World Heritage Site Of Odessa In Ukraine

All About The World Heritage Site Of Odessa In Ukraine
Odessa from a bird's-eye view Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The historic centre of the port city of Odessa has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO

OT Staff
January 26 , 2023
03 Min Read

Located about 500 kilometres from Ukraine's capital Kyiv, the city port by the Black Sea has received the status of a World Heritage Site from UNESCO. Odessa has also been added to the List of World Heritage in Danger due to the frequent air strikes by Russian forces.

The Reason Behind The UNESCO Status


A UNESCO panel convening in Paris announced the status, saying that it was intended to help save Odessa's cultural heritage, which has been at risk ever since Russia invaded, and to open access to financial and technical international assistance.

In a statement, UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay said that Odessa, "free city, world city, legendary port" had made its mark on cinema, literature and the arts.

"As the war continues, this inscription reflects our collective determination to protect this city from greater destruction," Azoulay said.

Russia has repeatedly bombarded Odessa since invading Ukraine on February 24, 2022. In July last year, part of the large glass roof and windows of the Museum of Fine Arts, dating back to 1899, were destroyed.

The History Of A Port City

The Black Sea stronghold town of Khadzhibei served as the foundation for Odessa, which was founded in 1794 on land that the Empress Catherine the Great had taken from the Ottoman Empire. In order to entice immigrants of all stripes, Catherine distributed leaflets around Europe offering them land, tax breaks, and freedom of religion.

The name is of Greek origin. Archaeologists have discovered a 2,600 year-old Greek settlement on the hill above the port here.Odessa attracted wealthy foreign merchants and exporters as a result of its status as a porto franco (a free port, exempt from taxes) up to 1859. It quickly expanded into a big city and the principal grain exporting hub of Russia. The multicultural, multilingual, and multiethnic nature of Odessa was mirrored in its café culture. With many cultures and influences, Odessa is known as Easter Europe's melting pot.

Potemkin Stairs

This giant stairway of 200 stairs was built between 1837 and 1841 by Italian architect Francisco Boffo and Russian architects Avraam Melnikov and Pot'e. It is the official entry to the city from the port side. The number of stairs was lowered to 192 after a 1933 reconstruction that added 10 landings. It was the setting for a a workers' uprising in 1905 which was shown in the film Battleship Potemkin, directed by Sergei Eisenstein.

 Vorontsovs’kyi Palace

This brilliantly rebuilt citadel once stood on the site of a Turkish castle and an ancient Greek settlement. It has endured numerous attacks and catastrophes. An Anglo-French squadron bombarded Odessa in April 1854. More than 200 cannonballs were fired at the palace and garden, and one of them is still embedded in a ground-floor wall. It is especially beautiful when viewed from the sea, where it resembles colonnades built in classical Greece.

RELATED: 8 Sea Forts In Maharashtra Proposed To Be Nominated For UNESCO Status

ALSO READ: 6 Food And Drink Traditions On The UNESCO Heritage List 


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