Odessa. What's about this city ? A young one, but this promising to increase, in 1994 year Odessa celebrated its 200th anniversary.
Let's the some back to the date of its birth. On the 27 May 1794 russian queen Catherine signed the order prescribing to laid the fortification on the shores of Khadzibey bay and to start the harbour development.
The 2 September 1794 under the surveiyng of General Major duke Suvorov they begun the foundatory works for future port. From the height of the present day it is not so easy to picture what tremendous efforts and civic courage were required of the Khadzibey's pioneers.
After, the fortress and the port which idea suggested by Suvorov, gave rise to the future town. Firstly, not more than 30 buildings in stone were erected along the harbour. An arsenal, storehouses, hospital frontier control and carantin buildings were built by first Khadzibey's inhabitants: soldiers, kossaks and sailors of Deribas' float. On 1795 the fortress has been renamed into Odessa.
The development of Odessa has much in common with that of Petersburg which was often referred to as the "Nothern Palmira". Odessa was founded on the Black Sea coast as a "window on Europe", and just like Petersburg, it sprang up in an undeveloped area, far from inhabited lands.
And now it is not by mere chance when we say that the city's history is rich and various. Different factors have influenced to the rapid and considerable progress of its economics. The seaport of Odessa representing this one of high importance for foreign hade in the region, shortly the city became one of the biggest centers of developed industry and science. While Odessa is famous for its cultural traditions and fine architecture, on a sightseeing tour of the city, the visitors become familiar not only with the most original and known part of Odessa, but with its, not without reasons to be said, rich history. We are proud that a whole galaxy artists, poets and scientists made a
considerable contribution to its glory extending. Suffice it to mention such prominent figures as Mechnikov, Pirogov, Mendeleev, Pushkin and Bunin lived here. The Odessa
Theatre of Opera and Ballet, known not only in Ukraine, but in Europe, heared the singing of Shalyapin and Sobinov, sow performences of Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov. Today the city's population members about 1,5 million, but Odessa is still developing.
Socialist Revolution, a grand complex was completed, which comprises ramp bridge across the railway lines, warehouses on the Novy Pier and a new building for the seaport. The architects V. Golovin and V. Kremlyakov succeeded in creating a modern transport centre, the "sea gates" of Odessa. The specific arrangement and the form of the structural elements, sloping galleries and transparent surfaces produce a peculiar effect as if the structure is reaching the sea horizon. The spacious main hall brightly lit by the sun through large windows is particulary impressive.
Monument to A. Pushkin
By the monument to the great poet...
...The Odessa period of Pushkin's art was a frutful one. During 13 months of his staying here (from 03.07.1823 to 01.08.1824) the great poet begun to work under "Tzigans" poem, wrote "The fountain of Bakhchisaray" and two chapters of "Eugene Onegin" novel. The odessits honoured the memory of the talented artist; now one of the main street of the city is named after Alexander Pushkin. The monument to Alexander Pushkin, located just opposite the Municipal Building, was unveiled in 1889. A bronze bust of the great poet was modelled by the sculptor Zh. Polonskaya. A granite pedestal executed according to the plan drawn up by the architect Kh. Vasilyev, is given the form of a truncated pyramid Kh. Vasilyev, is given the form of a truncated pyramid Kh. Vasilyev, is given the form of a truncated pyramid edges. Water jetting from the fishes' mouths flows down into the shell-shaped bowis of iron placed on the granite stylobate.
Architecture and Monuments of Odessa
Odessa is one of the major ports and an important centre of industry, science and culture. Odessa's mild climate, warm waters and sunlit beaches attract thousands of people year around. Its shady lanes, beautiful buildings and cosy squares impart to the city a certain air of intimacy. Odessa is simply enchanting with its marvellous architecture. The city proved itself fertile ground for varios architectural styles. Some buildings display a carious mixture of different styles, and some are built in the Art Nouveau Style which was in vogue at the turn of the century. A number of other buildings were done in Renaissance or Classicist styles which again returned to favour early this century.
The record of the various types of structures illustrates the city's past, brief yet eventful. Odessa is young, its history goes back to the late 18th century, when a small settlement named Khadzhibei was made on the Black Sea shore in the vast steppe wilderness which Russia reclaimed from Turkey shortly before. Later, the settlement was given the name of Odessa. It was destined to become the pearl of the Black Sea Maritime region, its "Southern Palmira". This commercial city on the sea coast grew at an accelerated pace, its population considerably increased and in the early 20th century it totalled over half a million residents, by far more than in the older cities, and ranked third after Petersburg and Moscow.
The first city plan designed by the engineer F. Devollan in the late 18th century was executed by the generations of Odessa architects that followed. As early as the first half of the 19th century, the numerous landowners who had moved to Odessa attracted by the profitable grain traid, started constructing their private residences. As a rule, they would build palace compounds: two-storeyed mansions with forecourts, wrought
iron grilles and porticos indicating the entrance. Even today, the formal halls of these palaces are strikingly opulent. The mansions of wealthy merchants and factory-owners built to the designs of the best Odessa architects were concealed in the verdure of Frantsuzsky Boulevard. Alexander Kuprin, the prominent Russian author, wrote of Odessa in his "Autumnal Flowers":
"Flashing on the left and on the right are enchanting glimpses of Odessa millionaires' villas with extravagant openwork grilles, decorated with dragons and coats-of-arms; brightly lit terraces in the depth of the gardens adorned with Chinese lanterns, a kaleidoscope of colours in the foregardens and on the flowerbeds; rare plants with intoxicating aromas..."
The architectural ensemble of Primorsky Boulevard attests to the high standards of Odessa architects. Designed as the compositional pivot of the city, the Boulevard runs along the sealine. The middle section of the Boulevard is occupied by the semi-circular square with the monument to A.-E.Richelieu in the centre. The buildings of the stock exchange and the Vorontsov Palace terminate the Boulevard on each end to form an integral balanced whole. The architectural rhythm of Primorsky Boulevard, enhanced by horizontal terraces, is interrupted by the vertical line of the grandiose Stairs terraces, is interrupted by the vertical line of the grandiose Stairs which were given the name of Potemkin.
Odessa has preserved its inimitable architectural aspect through the decades. It was precisely in the latter half of the 19th century that a number of the significant monuments of architecture, including the Theatre of Opera and Ballet, the buildings of the New Stock Exchange, pawnshop and public library were erected. The best representatives of a new generation of architects designed projects which proved most effective and at the same time, the architects took into account the characteristic traits of the southern town. Many buildings in Odessa were built of shell-limestone, which seemed to be saturated with hot sunshine. The shell-limestone was simultaneously extracted from different deposits which resulted in the formation of an entire labyrinth of underground galleries. During the Great Patriotic War of 1941 - 1945, Odessa partisans operated from these underground passeges which were inaccesible to the fascists. It is long ago that guns ceased thundering, gunsmoke dissipated and the trenches grew with grass... Odessa land has held sacred the memory of those who, at the cost of their lives, upheld freedom of the country...
The city has preserved the memory of Pushkin, who, when young, strolled along the newly laid-out alleys of Primorsky Boulevard. These streets were treaded by Yu. Olesha, V. Katayev, I. Babel, S. Kirsanov, I. Ilf, Ye. Petrov, K. Paustovsky and E. Bagritsky.
It is only natural that today laconic forms of modern architecture, new materials and a large scale of housing construction have considerably altered the city skyline. New all-embracing projects have been adopted and completed. The development of the city architecture continues...
Memorial erected on the site of a bastion of the earthen fortress The grounds of the present-day stadium were once the site of a fortress surrounded by an earthen rampart. It was built in 1793 to the plan eleborated by the engineer F. Devollan and approved by A. Suvorov, who at that time was entrusted with the defence of the Southern Russia. In 1891, one of the fortress bastions was replaced by a granite column to the design of the
architect N. Barinov. It was reconstructed in 1978 and a memorial plaque was attached featuring a bas-relief representation of A. Suvorov, the great Russian military commander.
Monument to the governor Vorontsov
A bronze statue of M.S. Vorontsov stands on a high pedestal of Crimean diorite in the Soviet Army Square. This monument to the governor-general of the Novorossiysk Territory was erected in 1863. Authors of monument are sculptor F. Brugger from Munich and architect F. Boffod from Odessa.
The Potemkin Stairs
The Potemkin Stairs are a formal entrance into the city from the direction of the sea. Sure, each city has it own place of mostly pronounced originality. For Odessa, no doubt, it will be Potemkin Stairs. The stairs leading from Prymorsky Boulevard down to the sea were constructed from 1837 through 1841 to the design of the architect F. Bofford. This imposing monument numbers 192 stairsarranged in ten flights and flanked by two-metre thick parapets. The difference in width between the highest (13.4 m) and the lowest (21.6 m) flights produces an optical illusion that enhances the grandeur of the structure. Originally, the stairs were faced with grey Trieste sandstone. With time, however, the sandstone weathered and was replaced with granite.
The famous Potemkin Stairs serve as a symbol of the city. It has recently been complemented with ramp overbridges to extend as far as the Novy Pier, where a modern structure of the new seaport is located on a high platform. Memorial plagues state that it was on precisely this spot that the first Odessa buildings were founded in 1794.
The Maxim Gorky State Scientific Library
In 1830, a public library, the second in the country, (the first was in Petersburg) was set up in Odessa. The premises for the library was specially designed by the architect F. Nesturkh and built in 1904-1906. The building is characterized by a clear-cut and functional design. The architectural elements derived fron antique architecture - caryatides over the cornice, a portico, and ornamental profiles - were extensively used in the building architecture. The library fund, founded in 1829, includes more than 4 mln volumes, that including an original collection of 2000 manuscripts and 7000 of rare editions, which are ancient literature monuments (X - XI centures), first printed editions samples, Peter the Great period's books, "Divina comedia" of XIX century's edition, and others.