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Odessa

The meaning of «odessa»

Odessa (Russian: Оде́сса [ɐˈdʲesə]) or Odesa (Ukrainian: Оде́са [oˈdɛsɐ] (listen)) is the third most populous city of Ukraine and a major tourism center, seaport and transport hub located in the south-west of the country, on the northwestern shore of the Black Sea. The city is also the administrative center of the Odessa Raion and Odessa Oblast, as well a multiethnic cultural center. Odessa is sometimes called the "pearl of the Black Sea",[3] the "South Capital" (under the Russian Empire and Soviet Union), "The Humor Capital" and "Southern Palmyra".

Before the Tsarist establishment of Odessa, an ancient Greek settlement existed at its location. A more recent Tatar settlement was also founded at the location by Hacı I Giray, the Khan of Crimea in 1440 that was named after him as Hacibey (or Khadjibey).[4] After a period of Lithuanian Grand Duchy control, Hacibey and surroundings became part of the domain of the Ottomans in 1529 and remained there until the empire's defeat in the Russo-Turkish War of 1792.

In 1794, the city of Odessa was founded by a decree of the Russian empress Catherine the Great. From 1819 to 1858, Odessa was a free port—a porto-Franco. 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 at Odessa Commercial Sea Port was declared a free port and free economic zone for a period of 25 years.

During the 19th century, Odessa was the fourth largest city of Imperial Russia, after Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Warsaw.[5] Its historical architecture has a style more Mediterranean than Russian, having been heavily influenced by French and Italian styles. Some buildings are built in a mixture of different styles, including Art Nouveau, Renaissance and Classicist.[6]

Odessa is a warm-water port. The city of Odessa hosts both the Port of Odessa and Port Yuzhne, a significant oil terminal situated in the city's suburbs. Another notable port, Chornomorsk, is located in the same oblast, to the south-west of Odessa. Together they represent a major transport hub integrating with railways. Odessa's oil and chemical processing facilities are connected to Russian and European networks by strategic pipelines. The population in 2021 was 1,015,826 (2021 est.)[7]

The settlement was known as Khazhibei[8] until in 1795 it was renamed in compliance with the Greek Plan of Catherine the Great. It was named after the ancient Greek city of Odessos, which was mistakenly believed to have been located here. Odessa is located in between the ancient Greek cities of Tyras and Olbia, different from the ancient Odessos's location further west along the coast, which is at present day Varna, Bulgaria.[9]

Catherine's secretary of state Adrian Gribovsky [ru] claimed in his memoirs that the name was his suggestion. Some expressed doubts about this claim, while others noted the reputation of Gribovsky as an honest and modest man.[10]

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