Life in Odessa
Odessa or Odesa (Ukrainian: Оде́са, /ɔˈdɛsɑ/; Russian: Оде́сса, /ɐˈdʲessa/) is the third largest city in Ukraine, with a population of 1,003,705. From the 1920s it was the biggest city of Ukraine and had a special independent jurisdiction. The city is a major seaport and transportation hub located on the northwestern shore of the Black Sea. Odessa is also an administrative center of the Odessa Oblast and major cultural center of multi-ethnic population. Its alternative Russian name is the Southern Palmira.
The site of Odessa was once occupied by an ancient Greek colony. Archaeological artifacts confirm 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.
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 town known as Khadjibey (named for Hacı I Giray, and also spelled Kocibey in English, Hacıbey or Hocabey in Turkish, and Hacıbey in Crimean Tatar). It was part of the Dykra region. However, most of the rest of the area remained largely uninhabited in this period.
Odessa is situated (46°28′N 30°44′E) 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 Kiev. The average elevation at which the city is located is around 50 metres, whilst the maximum is 65 and minimum (on the coast) amounts to 4.2 metres (13.8 feet) above sea level. The city currently covers a territory of 163 km2 (63 sq mi), the population density for which is around 6,139 persons/km². 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 of the city. Being located in the south of Ukraine, the geography 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 famous for its beautiful tree-lined avenues which, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, made the city a favourite year-round retreat for the Russian aristocracy.
Odessa is home to several universities and other institutions of higher education. The city’s best-known and most prestigious university is the Odessa ‘I.I. Mechnikov’ National University. This university is the oldest in the city and was first founded by an edict of Tsar Alexander II of Russia in 1865 as the Imperial Novorossiysk University. Since then the university has developed to become one of modern Ukraine’s leading research and teaching universities, with staff of around 1,800 and total of thirteen academic faculties. Other than the National University, the city is also home to the 1921-inaugurated Odessa National Economic University, the Odessa National Medical University (founded 1900), the 1918-founded Odessa National Polytechnic University and the Odessa National Maritime University (established 1930).