Features include interactive map, in-depth stories, and more.Download now. »
The week's top five must-sees,
delivered to your inbox.
Odessa, or Odesa, is the third largest city in Ukraine, with a population of 1,003,705. In the beginning of the 20th century it was the biggest city of Ukraine and the New Russia province 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 also is an administrative center of the Odessa Oblast and major cultural center of multi-ethnic population. Its alternative Russian name is the Southern Palmira. The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement, was founded by Hacı I Giray, the Khan of Crimea, in 1440 and originally named after him as "Hacıbey". After a period of Lithuanian control, it passed into the domain of the Ottoman Sultan in 1529 and remained in Ottoman hands until the Ottoman Empire's defeat in the Russo-Turkish War of 1792. The city of Odessa was founded by a decree of the Empress Catherine the Great in 1794. From 1819 to 1858 Odessa was a free port. During the Soviet period it was the most important port of trade in the Soviet Union and a Soviet naval base. On 1 January 2000 the Quarantine Pier of Odessa trade sea port was declared a free port and free economic zone for a term of 25 years. (via Freebase)