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Odessa (Odesa in Ukrainian) is the capital of Odessa region, in Ukraine, a port on Odessa Bay of the Black Sea. Territory 160 square km. Population 1,122,000 (1995). The third largest Ukrainian city after Kiev and Kharkov, a major industrial, cultural, scientific, and resort center in the Northern Black Sea region. Russians, Ukrainians, and Jews predominate in Odessa's cosmopolitan population.
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Moderately continental and comparatively dry. There are more than 290 sunny days in the year.
Winter is short and mild with an average temperature of around freezing point. Falling snow and temperatures below minus 10 Celsius are rare.
Summer is long and hot with an average temperature of 25 Celsius. Temperatures above 35 Celsius are quite often.
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By European standards, Odessa is a young city. It was founded in 1794 by Catherine the Great, when the Russian Queen decided her empire could use a port on the Black Sea. A colony from ancient Greece may have once occupied the site of the city, and Crimean Tatars traded there in the 14th century.
Odessa has quickly developed into a center of international trade, industry, and science. By its hundredth anniversary (1894), Odessa occupied the 4th place in the Russian Empire in size and economic power - after St. Petersburg, Moscow and Warsaw. The city suffered heavy damage during World War II, and many residents were killed by the occupying German and Romanian armies. The extraction of shell-limestone to construct those buildings resulted in Odessa's labyrinthine underground, from which partisans operated during World War II.
Nowadays, Odessa is home to 1.1 million people, and growing. Its development as a seacoast resort community has contributed to a population that has almost tripled over the last hundred years. A mild climate, plenty of beaches, and the Black Sea attract thousands of tourists to Odessa throughout the year, earning it the title of "Southern Palmira.
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Odessa is the largest seaport of Ukraine as well as an important rail junction and highway hub. Odessa is a major industrial center. Grain, sugar, machinery, coal, petroleum products, cement, metals, jute, and timber are the chief items of trade at the port of Odessa, which is the leading Ukrainian Black Sea port. Odessa is also a naval base and the home port of a fishing and an Antarctic whaling fleet. The city's industries include shipbuilding, oil refining, machine building, metalworking, food processing, and the manufacture of chemicals, machine tools, clothing, and products made of wood, jute, and silk. The relatively mild climate of Odessa draws visitors to the city’s many resorts. Large health resorts are located nearby.
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Odessans are proud of their architectural and cultural heritage. Odessa has a university (est. 1865), an opera and ballet theater (1809), a historical museum (1825), a municipal library (1830), an astronomical observatory (1871), an opera house (1883–87), and a picture gallery (1898), other museums and theaters. Besides a university, students are attracted to several institutions of higher education in the city, including medical schools, a marine academy, and a music conservatory.
Famous men such as Mechnikov (medicine), Bunin (writer), and Pushkin (poet) made their home here at one time or another. Local buildings were done up in a variety of styles ranging from Renaissance to Art Nouveau.
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A list of world known scientiststs lived and worked in Odessa. Among them: Ilya Mechnikov (Nobel Prize in Medicine 1908), Igor Tamm (Nobel Prize in Physics 1958), Dmitri Mendeleev, Nikolay Pirogov, Ivan Sechenov, George Gamow, Leonid Mandelstam, Aleksandr Lyapunov, Mark Krein.
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In 1891, the first car in Russia came to Odessa: "Benz" brought from France belonged V. Navrotsky. He was the popular city publisher of the newspaper «The Odessa leaf». Urban public transit in Odessa is currently represented by trams (streetcars), trolleybuses, buses and fixed-route taxis (marshrutkas). Odessa also has a cable car, cable-way, and recreational ferry service. Odessa International Airport is served by major airline carriers, including Aerosvit, Ukraine International, Austrian Airlines, El Al, and Turkey Airlines. These and other airlines provide flights to numerous locations in Europe and Asia. Passenger trains connect Odessa with Warsaw, Prague, Bratislava, Vienna, Berlin, Moscow, St.-Petersburg, the basic cities of Ukraine and many other cities of the former USSR. Intercity bus services are available from Odessa to many cities in Germany (Berlin, Hamburg and Munich), Greece (Saloniki and Athens), Bulgaria (Varna and Sofia) and several cities of Ukraine and Europe.
Passenger ships and ferries connect Odessa with Istanbul, Haifa, and Varna.
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Odessa possesses plenty of attractions - sites to see, fine arts, museums, stores, supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, casinos, etc. Here you can find information about them, together with other useful information about city particularities, transportation, driving, communications, safety and emergency numbers.
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