History of Odessa

History of Odessa

The north of Black Sea Coast has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Archeologists find traces of ancient civilizations of Earth, beginning of Tripoli culture.

First written evidences of settlements in this region came to us from ancient Greeks, which formed more than dozens of colonies with the centre in Olbia on the coast of Southern Bug.

On the territory of modern Odessa a large Greek settlement Histria and harbor Isakion(later port Skopeli) were founded in the middle of 6th century B.C. In the immediate proximity Greeks also settled following colonies: Nikonion ( on Dnestr, where now is Ovidiopol located), Tyra ( on the right side of Dnestrovsky Liman coast), Isakion ( on the Sukhoi Liman), Skopilos ( on the Small Adzhalyk Estuary), Odissos or Ordessos ( Tylihul Estuary) and Alektos ( on the place of future Ochakov).

All the above mentioned colony-ports, including Istrion located on the modern Odessa were under administrative subordination of the city- state Olbia.

The devastation of the north side of Black sea Coast in the 3rd and 4th centuries E.C. during the Migration Period has probably caused the devastation of Greek colonies , located on the coast of Odessa bay.

Starting from the 8th century AD both coasts of Dnestr until the Black sea were inhabited by Slavic tribes: Tivertsi and Ulichs.

During the second half of 14th century the territory of Odessa region was controlled by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In the 16th century the Black Sea Coast was occupied by Osman Empire, that founded a whole chain of well armed fortresses, including an unassailable Ismail on Dunai.

Although in the end of 18th century all these fortresses were occupied by armies of Russian Empire, which was supported by the squads of Ukrainian Cossacks.

By the legend, on the ball of Katherine the Great there were talks about the recently reclaimed from Turks fortress Khadjibey. Someone of the courtiers, knowing the Empress’ passion to rename the reclaimed territories with Greek names, remembered about the ancient Greek colony Odessos. And then Katherine commanded: rename the Hocabey by a female version of the Greek word – Odessa.

For the Russian Empire Odessa became a southern gate to Europe and Mediterranean and a starting point for a following expansion to Balkans.

When Ukraine gained its Independence Odessa became the main sea port of the country and an international tourism centre. Odessa’s market “7th kilometer” is the biggest commodities market in Europe. The city itself hosts hundreds of festivals, including the well-known musical and cinematic ones.

Because of the constant mix of nationalities and cultures in the city, it formed and absolutely unique type of citizens- odessits, that shine with a special philosophy, one and only accent and inexterminable sense of humor.