We, the documentation group, wanted to understand Odessa’s culture better. That is why we explored local food, monuments, old buildings and museums – to try to catch Odessa’s spirit.
Odessa was built in 1794 the city was founded by a decree of the Russian empress Catherine the Great. From the first days of Odessa’s existence, the most famous architects were working on the project of building the city and today everyone can see talents of Francesco Carlo Boffo, Giorgio Torricelli and Alexander Bernardazzi.
When you walk down the streets of Odessa’s old town you will notice, that Odessa is a really multicultural place with a special atmosphere. There are different cultures and nationalities connected with each other and living together in comfort and peace. If you look up, you see the diversity of architecture styles. There are some baroque motives interlaced with classical and ancient architecture. Many buildings in the old town were built in the 19th century.
Because I am a citizen of Odessa I wanted to show special places local food to my group because to understand Odessa you have to taste its kitchen. It must be said, that in Ukraine every region has different dishes and cultural features – and Odessa is no exception. Here we have many dishes from seafood and fish. Georgian, Japanese, Chinese and Italian food have big popularity in the city. And walking down the street you can also find different patisseries with French desserts. I showed my group a little fish restaurant in the basement of an old house in the heart of the city. There we tasted some traditional plates like Forshmak, fried fish, called “Ca-ca”, and mussels in cream covered with cheese and backed in bread.
After lunch we went to the Potemkin Stairs. It is a giant stairway which is considered a formal entrance into the city from the direction of the sea and it is the best known symbol of the city. The steps were made famous by Sergei Eisenstein’s 1925 silent movie “Battleship Potemkin”. In the top of the stairway you can see the monument of Duke de Richelieu, one of the founders of Odessa. He stands there from 1826 and welcomes everyone to look at the great view on Odessa’s port.
In the evening we had some coffee in little café made in French manner.
At the end also I want to add that everyone can find his own place here because Odessa has much diversity and here are many friendly people.
But besides these nice characteristics of Odessa there is a tragic event that expresses also the difficult situation of today’s Ukraine which is also important for our project. It is the fire in the trade union house on 2nd of May 2014. Pro-Russian protesters and pro-Ukrainian protesters clashed together and a fire was set in the building and more than 40 people were killed and many injured.
Probably very few people did expect something like this in a peaceful city like Odessa but it shows once more that the current problems are very serious. That is why our project of trustworthy media and political dialogue also aims at dealing with these problems.
ne can see talents of Francesco Carlo