Odessa is a comparatively young city but the territory it occupies has a long and illustrating history.

Wonderful climate, warm sea and favorable climate since long ago attached here numerous conquerors and these lauds were rapidly devastated by those self invited guests.
14th, 15th centuries were the period of formation of three fraternal Slavonic nationalities – Russ, Ukrainian, Belarusian which originated on the basis of our old Russian nation.

Our city was built after the special order of Catherine the Great II as the southern window of Russia to Europe, a big commercial port and cultural center as well. The day of the foundation of Odessa is considered the second of September, 1794.

A plaque on the wall beside the Terminal commemorates these events, it reads: “On this place on September 2nd 1794 the foundation of the first buildings that marked the beginning of the port and the city of Odessa were laid out”

The actual founder of Odessa was the great Russian military leader A.Suvorov who chose this comfortable bay for the construction of Odessa harbor.

The next year after its foundation our town firstly called Hadjibei was renamed Odessa.

There are some explanations of this name:

• Some say that Catherine II taking into consideration the favorable situation of the town insisted on its construction here in spite of the fact that it was “quite away of the river”. She used the to pronounce in French “assido” – “enough water”, which in fact was not so, because Odessa was built far from the rivers. To express its paradox people read this word in reverse order and thus got the word “Odessa”.

• Some explain the name of Odessa, saying it was fashionable at the end of the 18th century to call the new town of the Northern Black sea coast Greek names. The word Odessos meant a big trade road, which the town intended to be and is now.

• Historians of that time supposed that on the place of Odessa there was a Greek colony “Odessos” and it was decided to give the new town this name. Later on it turned out that that it was a mistake, for Odessos was founded on the peace of Varna in Bulgaria.


In some restaurants, you can pay by credit cards, but it is best to check as you order whether they take cards. Odessa’s restaurants are considered to offer excellent “value for money”.

The Ukrainian national currency is Hryvna (UAH).

One hryvna = 100 kopecks.

USD and EURO are the most popular currencies in exchange booths. Other currencies are more difficult to exchange and have lower rates due to minor circulation in Ukraine.

Money can be exchanged at banks, exchange desks at hotels, shops or licensed exchange windows. Passport is not required for exchange operations. Exchange rate might differ from the official NBU rate.

Although Odessa is officially divided into only four districts (Kievsky, Primorsky, Suvorovsky, Malinovsky), the city’s inhabitants use many more names to designate parts of the city: Moldovanka, Slobodka etc.

There is no metro in Odessa, but all forms of overland transportation exist: trolleybuses, buses, trams and “marshrutkas” (privately run minibuses). A journey by “marshrutka” costs more than in other Ukrainian cities, at 1.25 hryvnia ($0,25) and more.

Odessa has a well developed taxi service. You can book a taxi by phone, and found out the cost of your trip in advance by giving the operator your destination.

Despite a wide choice of taxis, there are also private car drivers, making a little money on the side by taking passengers. Their services are very affordable, and certainly cheaper than official taxis.