When most people think of Ukraine, they imagine the vibrant city of Kiev, the country’s capital. But its demure sister, Odessa, lies of the shores of the Black Sea, offering an affordable and relatively sunny holiday away from the major tourist crowds.
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Known as the formal entrance to Odessa, the Potemkin Stairs consists of 192 steps (there were originally 200 but eight were lost under sand erosion. The stairway was designed as an optical illusion, so that from the top, the stairs disappear and only the landings are visible. The stairway was made famous by the 1925 Sergei Eisenstein silent film Battleship Potemkin.
Check out the Privoz Market. This massive food market is the city’s largest, boasting a huge array of fruits, vegetables, raw meats and other items. The market setup is a tangled mix of rickety stalls and full-fledged stores and, inside, you can find just about anything, including, some have joked, nuclear weapons. While that hopefully isn’t true, the market has always been a place of social engagement in Odessa and is certainly a spot to pick up some cheap goods or food, just be prepared to haggle over the price.
Take in a Ballet. Ukraine is known for turning out some of the world’s most astounding ballet dancers, and in Odessa, you can attend the city’s ballet for comparatively cheap. The Odessa State Academical Opera and Ballet Theatre, built in 1809 but reconstructed in 1887, is one of the most magnificent buildings in the city and the busts of Mikhail Glinka, Nikolai Gogol, Alexandr Griboyedov, and Alexander Pushkin grace the niches of the theatre.