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About Odessa, TX
Odessa was the site of a large Greek settlement no later than the middle of the 6th century BC (a necropolis from the 5th–3rd centuries BC has long been known in this area). Some scholars believe it to have been a trade settlement established by the Greek city of Histria. Whether the Bay of Odessa is the ancient "Port of the Histrians" cannot yet be considered a settled question based on the available evidence. Archaeological artifacts confirm extensive links between the Odessa area and the eastern Mediterranean.
In the Middle Ages successive rulers of the Odessa region included various nomadic tribes (Petchenegs, Cumans), the Golden Horde, the Crimean Khanate, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and the Ottoman Empire. Yedisan Crimean Tatars traded there in the 14th century.
Since the middle of the 13th century the city's territory belonged to the Golden Horde domain. On Italian navigational maps of 14th century on the place of Odessa is indicated the castle of Ginestra, at the time the center of a colony of the Republic of Genoa (more Gazaria). At times when the Northern Black Sea littoral was controlled by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, there existed a settlement of Kachibei which at first was mentioned in 1415. By the middle of 15th century the settlement was depopulated.
During the reign of Khan Hacı I Giray of Crimea (1441–1466), the Khanate was endangered by the Golden Horde and the Ottoman Turks and, in search of allies, the khan agreed to cede the area to Lithuania. The site of present-day Odessa was then a fortress known as Khadjibey (named for Hacı I Giray, and also spelled Kocibey in English, Hacıbey or Hocabey in Turkish, and Hacıbey in Crimean Tatar).
Khadjibey came under direct control of the Ottoman Empire after 1529. In the mid-18th century, the Ottomans rebuilt the fortress at Khadjibey (also was known Hocabey), which was named Yeni Dünya (literally "New World").
The sleepy fishing village of Odessa had witnessed a sea-change in its fortunes when the wealthy magnate and future Voivode of Kiev (1791), Antoni Protazy Potocki, established trade routes through the port for the Polish Black Sea Trading Company and set up the infrastructure in the 1780s.
During the Russian-Turkish War of 1787–1792, on 25 September 1789, a detachment of Russian forces, including Zaporozhian Cossacks under Alexander Suvorov and Ivan Gudovich, took Khadjibey and Yeni Dünya for the Russian Empire. One section of the troops came under command of a Spaniard in Russian service, Major General José de Ribas (known in Russia as Osip Mikhailovich Deribas); today, the main street in Odessa, Deribasivska Street, is named after him.
Russia formally gained possession of the Sanjak of Özi (Ochacov Oblast) as a result of the Treaty of Jassy (Iaşi) in 1792 and it became a part of Yekaterinoslav Viceroyalty. The newly acquired Ochakov Oblast was promised to the Cossacks by the Russian government for resettlement. On permission of the Archbishop of Yekaterinoslav Amvrosiy, the Black Sea Kosh Host, that was located around the area between Bender and Ochakiv, built second after Sucleia wooden church of Saint Nicholas.
By the Highest rescript of 17 June 1792 addressed to General Kakhovsky it was ordered to establish the Dniester Border Line of fortresses. The commander of the land forces in Ochakiv Oblast was appointed Graf (Count) Suvorov-Rymnikskiy. The main fortress was built near Sucleia at the mouth of river Botna as the Head Dniester Fortress by Engineer-Major de Wollant. Near the new fortress saw the formation of a new "Vorstadt" (suburb) where people moved from Sucleia and Parkan. With the establishment of the Voznesensk Governorate on 27 January 1795, the Vorstadt was named Tiraspol.
The city of Odessa, founded by the Russian Empress Catherine the Great, centers on the site of the Turkish fortress Khadzhibei, which was occupied by a Russian Army in 1789. The Flemish engineer working for the empress, Franz de Volan (François Sainte de Wollant) recommended the area of Khadzhibei fortress as the site for the region's basic port: it had an ice-free harbor, breakwaters could be cheaply constructed that would render the harbor safe and it would have the capacity to accommodate large fleets. The Namestnik of Yekaterinoslav and Voznesensk, Platon Zubov (one of Catherine's favorites) supported this proposal, and in 1794 Catherine approved the founding of the new port-city and invested the first money in constructing the city.
However, adjacent to the new official locality, a Moldavian colony already existed, which by the end of the 18th century was an independent settlement named Moldavanka. Some local historians consider that the settlement predates Odessa by about thirty years and assert that the locality was founded by Moldavians who came to build the fortress of Yeni Dunia for the Ottomans and eventually settled in the area in the late 1760s, right next to the settlement of Khadjibey (since 1795 Odessa proper), on what later became the Primorsky Boulevard. Another version posits that the settlement appeared after Odessa itself was founded, as a settlement of Moldavians, Greeks, and Albanians fleeing the Ottoman yoke.
In 1795, Khadjibey was officially renamed with the feminine name "Odessa" after a Greek colony of Odessos (Ancient Greek: Ὀδησσός, in Roman times, Odessus) that supposedly was located in the area. The actual location of city of Odessos was further southwest on the Black Sea coast, which is at present day Varna, Bulgaria. The first census that was conducted in Odessa was in 1797 which accounted for 3,455 people. Since 1795, the city had its own city magistrate, and since 1796 a city council of six members and the Odessa Commodity Exchange. In 1801, in Odessa had opened the first commercial bank. In 1803, the city accounted for 9,000 people.
In their settlement, also known as Novaya Slobodka, the Moldavians owned relatively small plots on which they built village-style houses and cultivated vineyards and gardens. What became Mykhailovsky Square was the center of this settlement and the site of its first Orthodox church, the Church of the Dormition, built in 1821 close to the seashore, as well as of a cemetery. Nearby stood the military barracks and the country houses (dacha) of the city's wealthy residents, including that of the Duc de Richelieu, appointed by Tzar Alexander I as Governor of Odessa in 1803. Richelieu played a role during Ottoman plague epidemic which hit Odessa in the autumn 1812. Dismissive of any attempt to forge a compromise between quarantine requirements and free trade, Prince Kuriakin (the Saint Petersburg-based High Commissioner for Sanitation) countermanded Richelieu's orders.
In the period from 1795 to 1814 the population of Odessa increased 15 times over and reached almost 20 thousand people. The first city plan was designed by the engineer F. Devollan in the late 18th century. Colonists of various ethnicities settled mainly in the area of the former colony, outside of the official boundaries, and as a consequence, in the first third of the 19th century, Moldavanka emerged as the dominant settlement. After planning by the official architects who designed buildings in Odessa's central district, such as the Italians Francesco Carlo Boffo and Giovanni Torricelli, Moldovanka was included in the general city plan, though the original grid-like plan of Moldovankan streets, lanes and squares remained unchanged.
The new city quickly became a major success although initially it received little state funding and privileges. Its early growth owed much to the work of the Duc de Richelieu, who served as the city's governor between 1803 and 1814. Having fled the French Revolution, he had served in Catherine's army against the Turks. He is credited with designing the city and organizing its amenities and infrastructure, and is considered[by whom?] one of the founding fathers of Odessa, together with another Frenchman, Count Andrault de Langeron, who succeeded him in office.
Richelieu is commemorated by a bronze statue, unveiled in 1828 to a design by Ivan Martos. His contributions to the city are mentioned by Mark Twain in his travelogue Innocents Abroad: "I mention this statue and this stairway because they have their story. Richelieu founded Odessa – watched over it with paternal care – labored with a fertile brain and a wise understanding for its best interests – spent his fortune freely to the same end – endowed it with a sound prosperity, and one which will yet make it one of the great cities of the Old World".
In 1819, Odessa became a free port, a status it retained until 1859. Odessa became home to an extremely diverse population of Albanians, Armenians, Azeris, Bulgarians, Crimean Tatars, Frenchmen, Germans (including Mennonites), Greeks, Italians, Jews, Poles, Romanians, Russians, Turks, Ukrainians, and traders representing many other nationalities (hence numerous "ethnic" names on the city's map, for example Frantsuzky (French) and Italiansky (Italian) Boulevards, Grecheskaya (Greek), Yevreyskaya (Jewish), Arnautskaya (Albanian) Streets).
Odessa's cosmopolitan nature was documented by the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, who lived in internal exile in Odessa between 1823 and 1824. In his letters he wrote that Odessa was a city where "the air is filled with all Europe, French is spoken and there are European papers and magazines to read".
Odessa's growth was interrupted by the Crimean War of 1853–1856, during which it was bombarded by British and Imperial French naval forces. It soon recovered and the growth in trade made Odessa Russia's largest grain-exporting port. In 1866, the city was linked by rail with Kiev and Kharkiv as well as with Iaşi in Romania.
The city became the home of a large Jewish community during the 19th century, and by 1897 Jews were estimated to comprise some 37% of the population. The community, however, was repeatedly subjected to anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish agitation from almost all Christian segments of the population. Pogroms were carried out in 1821, 1859, 1871, 1881 and 1905. Many Odessan Jews fled abroad after 1882, particularly to the Ottoman region that became Palestine, and the city became an important base of support for Zionism.
In 1905, Odessa was the site of a workers' uprising supported by the crew of the Russian battleship Potemkin and the Menshevik's Iskra. Sergei Eisenstein's famous motion picture The Battleship Potemkin commemorated the uprising and included a scene where hundreds of Odessan citizens were murdered on the great stone staircase (now popularly known as the "Potemkin Steps"), in one of the most famous scenes in motion picture history. At the top of the steps, which lead down to the port, stands a statue of the Duc de Richelieu.
The actual massacre took place in streets nearby, not on the steps themselves, but the film caused many to visit Odessa to see the site of the "slaughter". The "Odessa Steps" continue to be a tourist attraction in Odessa. The film was made at Odessa's Cinema Factory, one of the oldest cinema studios in the former Soviet Union.
Following the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 during Ukrainian-Soviet War, Odessa saw two Bolshevik armed insurgencies, the second of which succeeded in establishing their control over the city; for the following months the city became a center of the Odessa Soviet Republic. After signing of the Brest-Litovsk Treaty all Bolshevik forces were driven out by 13 March 1918 by the combined armed forces of the Austro-Hungarian Army, providing support to the Ukrainian People's Republic.
With the end of the World War I and withdrawal of armies of Central Powers, the Soviet forces fought for control over the country with the army of the Ukrainian People's Republic. A few months later the city was occupied by the French Army and the Greek Army that supported the Russian White Army in its struggle with the Bolsheviks. The Ukrainian general Nikifor Grigoriev who sided with Bolsheviks managed to drive the unwelcome Triple Entente forces out of the city, but Odessa was soon retaken by the Russian White Army. By 1920 the Soviet Red Army managed to overpower both the Ukrainian and Russian White Army and secure the city.
The people of Odessa suffered badly from a famine that resulted from the Russian Civil War in 1921–1922 due to the Soviet policies of prodrazverstka.
During World War II, Odessa was attacked by Romanian and German troops in August 1941. The defense of Odessa started on 5 August 1941 and lasted for 73 days. The defense was organized on three lines with emplacements consisting of trenches, anti-tank ditches and pillboxes. The first line was 80 kilometres (50 miles) long and situated some 25 to 30 kilometres (16 to 19 miles) from the city. The second and main line of defense was situated 6 to 8 kilometres (3.7 to 5.0 miles) from the city and was about 30 kilometres (19 miles) long. The third and last line of defense was organized inside the city itself. Lyudmila Pavlichenko, the famous female sniper, took part in the battle for Odessa. Her first two kills were effected near Belyayevka using a Mosin-Nagant bolt-action rifle with a P.E. 4-power scope. She recorded 187 confirmed kills during the defense of Odessa. Pavlichenko's confirmed kills during World War II totaled 309 (including 36 enemy snipers).
The city fell to the Axis on 16 October 1941, and it was henceforth subject to Romanian administration. By that time, the Soviet authorities had been able to evacuate 200,000 people as well as weaponry and industrial equipment. A day later, Odessa was made the capital of Transnistria. Partisan fighting continued, however, in the city's catacombs.
Following the siege, and the Axis occupation, approximately 25,000 Odessans were murdered in the outskirts of the city and over 35,000 deported; this came to be known as the Odessa massacre. Most of the atrocities were committed during the first six months of the occupation which officially began on 17 October 1941, when 80% of the 210,000 Jews in the region were killed, compared to Jews in Romania proper where the majority survived. After the Nazi forces began to lose ground on the Eastern Front, the Romanian administration changed its policy, refusing to deport the remaining Jewish population to extermination camps in German occupied Poland, and allowing Jews to work as hired labourers. As a result, despite the events of 1941, the survival of the Jewish population in this area was higher than in other areas of occupied eastern Europe.
A Soviet medal, "For the Defence of Odessa", was established on 22 December 1942. Approximately 38,000 medals were awarded to servicemen of the Soviet Army, Navy, Ministry of Internal Affairs, and civil citizens who took part in the city's defense. It was one of the first four Soviet cities to be awarded the title of "Hero City" in 1945. (These others were Leningrad, Stalingrad, and Sevastopol).
The city suffered severe damage and sustained many casualties over the course of the war. Many parts of Odessa were damaged during both its siege and recapture on 10 April 1944, when the city was finally liberated by the Red Army. Some of the Odessans had a more favourable view of the Romanian occupation, in contrast with the Soviet official view that the period was exclusively a time of hardship, deprivation, oppression and suffering – claims embodied in public monuments and disseminated through the media to this day. Subsequent Soviet policies imprisoned and executed numerous Odessans (and deported most of the German population) on account of collaboration with the occupiers.
During the 1960s and 1970s, the city grew. Nevertheless, the majority of Odessa's Jews emigrated to Israel, the United States and other Western countries between the 1970s and 1990s. Many ended up in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Brighton Beach, sometimes known as "Little Odessa". Domestic migration of the Odessan middle and upper classes to Moscow and Leningrad, cities that offered even greater opportunities for career advancement, also occurred on a large scale. Despite this, the city grew rapidly by filling the void of those left with new migrants from rural Ukraine and industrial professionals invited from all over the Soviet Union.
As a part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, the city preserved and somewhat reinforced its unique cosmopolitan mix of Russian/Ukrainian/Jewish culture and a predominantly Russophone environment with the uniquely accented dialect of Russian spoken in the city. The city's unique identity has been formed largely thanks to its varied demography; all the city's communities have influenced aspects of Odessan life in some way or form.
Odessa is a city of more than 1 million people. The city's industries include shipbuilding, oil refining, chemicals, metalworking, and food processing. Odessa is also a Ukrainian naval base and home to a fishing fleet. It is known for its large outdoor market – the Seventh-Kilometer Market, the largest of its kind in Europe.
Odessa was a contender for hosting Euro 2012 footbll matches in, but lost the competition to other cities in Ukraine.
The city saw violence in the 2014 pro-Russian conflict in Ukraine during the 2014 Odessa clashes. The 2 May 2014 Odessa clashes between pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian protestors killed 42 people. Four were killed during the protests, and at least 32 trade unionists were killed after a trade union building was set on fire after Molotov cocktails exchange between sides. Polls conducted from September to December 2014 found no support for joining Russia.
Odessa was struck by three bomb blasts in December 2014, one of which killed one person (the injuries sustained by the victim indicated that he had dealt with explosives). Internal Affairs Ministry advisor Zorian Shkiryak said on 25 December that Odessa and Kharkiv had become "cities which are being used to escalate tensions" in Ukraine. Shkiryak said that he suspected that these cities were singled out because of their "geographic position". On 5 January 2015 the city's Euromaidan Coordination Center and a cargo train car were (non-lethally) bombed.
In the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the city has faced some Russian attack, though as of March 21 it has not yet been the site of large-scale ground combat.
Odessa is situated () on terraced hills overlooking a small harbor on the Black Sea in the Gulf of Odessa, approximately 31 km (19 mi) north of the estuary of the Dniester river and some 443 km (275 mi) south of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. The average elevation at which the city is located is around 50 metres (160 feet). The maximum is 65 metres (213 feet) and minimum (on the coast) amounts to 4.2 metres (13.8 feet) above sea level. The city currently covers a territory of 162.42 km (63 sq mi).
The population density for which is around 6,139 persons/km. Sources of running water in the city include the Dniester River, from which water is taken and then purified at a processing plant just outside the city. Being located in the south of Ukraine, the topography of the area surrounding the city is typically flat and there are no large mountains or hills for many kilometres around. Flora is of the deciduous variety and Odessa is known for its tree-lined avenues which, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, made the city a favourite year-round retreat for the Russian aristocracy.
The city's location on the coast of the Black Sea has also helped to create a booming tourist industry in Odessa. The city's Arkadia beach has long been a favourite place for relaxation, both for the city's inhabitants and its visitors. This is a large sandy beach which is located to the south of the city centre. Odessa's many sandy beaches are considered to be quite unique in Ukraine, as the country's southern coast (particularly in the Crimea) tends to be a location in which the formation of stoney and pebble beaches has proliferated.
The coastal cliffs adjacent to the city are home to frequent landslides, resulting in a typical change of landscape along the Black Sea. Due to the fluctuating slopes of land, city planners are responsible for monitoring the stability of such areas, and for preserving potentially threatened building and other structures of the city above sea level near water. Also a potential danger to the infrastructure and architecture of the city is the presence of multiple openings underground. These cavities can cause buildings to collapse, resulting in a loss of money and business. Due to the effects of climate and weather on sedimentary rocks beneath the city, the result is instability under some buildings' foundations.
Odessa has a hot-summer humid continental climate (Dfa, using the 0 °C [32 °F] isotherm) that borderlines the semi-arid climate (BSk) as well as a humid subtropical climate (Cfa) This has, over the past few centuries, aided the city greatly in creating conditions necessary for the development of summer tourism. During the tsarist era, Odessa's climate was considered to be beneficial for the body, and thus many wealthy but sickly persons were sent to the city in order to relax and recuperate.
This resulted in the development of spa culture and the establishment of a number of high-end hotels in the city. The average annual temperature of the sea is 13–14 °C (55–57 °F). Seasonal temperatures range from an average of 6 °C (43 °F) from January to March, to 23 °C (73 °F) in August. Typically, for a total of 4 months – from June to September – the average sea temperature in the Gulf of Odessa and the city's bay area exceeds 20 °C (68 °F).
The city typically experiences dry, cold winters, which are relatively mild when compared to most of Ukraine as they're marked by temperatures which rarely fall below −10 °C (14 °F). Summers see an increased level of precipitation, and the city often experiences warm weather with temperatures often reaching into the high 20s and low 30s. Snow cover is often light or moderate. Municipal services rarely experience the same problems that can often be found in other, more northern, Ukrainian cities. This is largely because the higher winter temperatures and coastal location of Odessa prevents significant snowfall. The city hardly ever faces the phenomenon of sea-freezing.
In the 2001 census, Ukrainians made up a majority (62 percent) of Odessa's inhabitants, along with an ethnic Russian minority (29 percent).
A 2015 study by the International Republican Institute found that 68% of Odessa was ethnic Ukrainian, and 25% ethnic Russian.
According to the Seventh Annual Ukrainian Municipal Survey, 96% of the residents of Odessa spoke some Russian at home and 29% spoke some Ukrainian at home (overlap due to bilingually). Ukrainian is gaining in popularity: in 2021, the share of residents speaking some Ukrainian at home has increased almost 5 times from 6% in 2015 to 29% in 2021.
Odessa oblast is also home to a number of other nationalities and minority ethnic groups, including Albanians, Armenians, Azeris, Crimean Tatars, Bulgarians, Georgians, Greeks, Jews, Poles, Romanians, Turks, among others. Up until the early 1940s the city had a large Jewish population. As the result of mass deportation to extermination camps during the Second World War, the city's Jewish population declined considerably. Since the 1970s, the majority of the remaining Jewish population emigrated to Israel and other countries, shrinking the Jewish community.
Through most of the 19th century and until the mid 20th century, the largest ethnic group in Odessa was Russians, with the second largest ethnic group being Jews.
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