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28 July - 03 Aug, 2012
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collageTravel Odessa
by HAMZA

Odessa is the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a major port on the Black Sea and an estimated population of around a million. An ancient Greek colony had once occupied the site of the city. Numerous monuments of antiquity confirm links between this territory and the Eastern Mediterranean, however in the Middle Ages, these lands were a part of a number of principalities and also the Ottoman Empire, but by end of the 18th century, the city was captured by the Russians. In the 19th century it was the fourth city of Imperial Russia, after Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Warsaw. Its historical architecture has a flavour more Mediterranean than Russian, having been heavily influenced by French and Italian styles. Odessa has always possessed a spirit of freedom and ironic humour, probably by virtue of its location and its willingness to accept and tolerate people of many different backgrounds. The Tolstoy, Vorontsov, and Potocki families owned palaces in Odessa, which can still be visited. Most of the city's 19th century houses were built of limestone mined nearby. Abandoned mines were later used and broadened by local smugglers and this created a complicated labyrinth of underground tunnels beneath Odessa, known as 'catacombs'. They are a now a great attraction for tourists. Such tours, however, are not officially sanctioned and are dangerous because the layout of the catacombs has not been fully mapped and the tunnels themselves are unsafe. These tunnels are a primary reason why subway was never built in Odessa.

Travel Odessa

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