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, city, Ukraine
Odessa (ōdĕsˈə) (, Rus. ədyĕˈsə), Ukr. Odesa, city (1989 pop. 1,115,000), capital of Odessa region, in Ukraine, a port on Odessa Bay of the Black Sea. The third largest Ukrainian city after Kiev and Kharkiv, Odessa is an important rail junction and highway hub and is a major industrial, cultural, scientific, and resort center. Grain, sugar, machinery, coal, petroleum products, cement, metals, jute, and timber are the chief items of trade at the port of Odessa, which is the leading Ukrainian Black Sea port. Odessa is also a naval base and the home port of a fishing and an antarctic whaling fleet. The city's industries include shipbuilding, oil refining, machine building, metalworking, food processing, and the manufacture of chemicals, machine tools, clothing, and products made of wood, jute, and silk. Large health resorts are located nearby. Odessa has a university (est. 1865), an opera and ballet theater (1809), a historical museum (1825), a municipal library (1830), an astronomical observatory (1871), an opera house (1883–87), and a picture gallery (1898). Ukrainians, Russians, Jews, and Greeks predominate in Odessa's cosmopolitan population.


The city is said to occupy the site of an ancient Miletian Greek colony (Odessos, Ordyssos, or Ordas) that disappeared between the 3d and 4th cent. In the 14th cent. the site, then under Lithuanian control, became a Crimean Tatar fortress and trade center called Khadzhi-Bei. In 1764 it passed to the Turks, who built a fortress (Yenu-Duniya) to protect the harbor. It was captured by the Russians in 1789.

By the Treaty of Jassy in 1792, Turkey ceded the region between the Dniester and the Buh (including Odessa) to Russia, which rebuilt Odessa as a fort, commercial port, and naval base. The city that developed around the fort grew rapidly as the chief grain-exporting center of Ukraine; its importance was further enhanced with the coming of the railroad in the second half of the 19th cent. It was a free port from 1819 to 1849, and in 1866 it was linked by rail with Kiev, Kharkiv, and the Romanian city of Jassy. Industrialization began in the latter part of the 19th cent.

Odessa was a center of émigré Greek and Bulgarian patriots, of the Ukrainian cultural and national movement, of Jewish culture, and of the labor movement and social democracy. The city's first workers' organization was founded in 1875. Odessa was the scene in 1905 of a workers' outbreak led by sailors from the battleship Potemkin. When Turkey closed the Dardanelles to the Allies in World War I, the port of Odessa was also closed and was later bombarded by the Turkish fleet. Following the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, the city was successively occupied by the Central Powers, the French, the Reds, and the Whites until the Red Army definitively took it from General Denikin in 1920 and united it with the Ukrainian SSR. Odessa suffered greatly in the famine of 1921–22 after the Russian civil war.

Despite a heroic defense during World War II, the city fell to German and Romanian forces in Oct., 1941. It was under Romanian administration as the capital of Transnistra until its liberation (Apr., 1944) by the Soviet Army. Many buildings were ruined, and approximately 280,000 civilians (mostly Jews) were reportedly massacred or deported during the Axis occupation.


See C. King, Odessa: Genius and Death in a City of Dreams (2011).


, city, United States
Odessa (ōdĕsˈə), city (1990 pop. 89,699), seat of Ector co., W Tex.; founded 1881, inc. 1927. Great oil deposits just to the south changed Odessa from a small ranch town into a large and growing oil center with refineries and plants that produce fuels, carbon black, chemicals, plastics, synthetic rubber, industrial gas, and machinery. The region is underlaid with potash, salt, and limestone deposits. The Univ. of Texas of the Permian Basin is in the city.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city and administrative center of Odessa Oblast, the Ukrainian SSR. One of the major industrial, cultural, scientific, and health-resort centers of the Soviet Union. A port on the northwestern shore of the Black Sea, near the Khadzhibei and Kuial’nik limans, and a junction of highways and railroads, including lines to L’vov, Izmail, and Briansk. Population, 981,000 (1974; 420,900 in 1926, 599,000 in 1939, 664,000 in 1959, and 892,000 in 1970). The city is divided into six districts.

History. Odessa was founded on the site of the Tatar settlement of Kachibei, which was first mentioned in written records in 1415. The settlement was destroyed by the Turks in the 15th century. Rebuilt and called Khadzhibei, it became part of Russia under the Peace of Jassy (1791). In August 1794, construction of a harbor was begun under the direction of A. V. Suvorov and I. de Ribas; the harbor was designed by F. Devollan. In 1795, Khadzhibei was renamed Odessa.

Odessa was part of Novorossiia Province from 1797 to 1802 and Kherson Province from 1803. In 1805, it became the administrative center of Novorossiia Krai, a governor-generalship headed by A. E. Richelieu and M. S. Vorontsov. In 1825 it became a district city of Kherson Province. In the 19th century, Odessa grew rapidly as a result of the expansion of foreign trade, the proclamation of its status as a free port (1819–59), and the construction of the Odessa-Balta and the Odessa-Kiev railroads in the 1860’s and 1870’s. In the late 19th century, the port of Odessa was second to St. Petersburg in freight turnover. In the 19th century, Odessa became an important cultural center. Cultural institutions in the city included the Richelieu Lycée (founded 1817; reorganized into Novorossiia University in 1865) and the Odessa Society of History and Antiquities (founded 1839).

Odessa played a significant role in the national liberation movement of the Greek and Bulgarian peoples (Philike Hetairia and the Odessa Bulgarian Diocese). During the Crimean War (1853–56), Russian troops and residents of the city repulsed the attempts of Anglo-French forces to make a landing and capture the city. With the development of capitalism in Russia, Odessa became an industrial city, dominated by food processing, metal-working, and light industry. In 1900 there were 486 enterprises with 16,000 workers.

Odessa played an important part in the revolutionary movement. In the 1870’s it was the center of the People’s Will movement in the southern Ukraine. In 1875 the Southern Union of Russian Workers was established, and in 1900 a committee of the RSDLP. In 1901 the Southern Revolutionary Group of Social Democrats, which subsequently merged with the RSDLP committee, was founded in the city. The RSDLP organization received important assistance from V. I. Lenin and the newspaper Iskra and its agents. The workers of Odessa took part in the General Strike of 1903 in Southern Russia.

During the period 1905–07, Odessa was one of the centers of the revolutionary struggle. There were strikes and armed clashes with the police and troops in June and October 1905. On the night of June 14 the insurgent battleship Potemkin arrived in Odessa, and in November a soviet of workers’ deputies was organized.

After the February Revolution of 1917, soviets of workers’ deputies were established in Odessa in March. The Executive Committee of the Soviets of Soldiers’, Sailors’, and Workers’ and Peasants’ Deputies of the Rumanian Front, Black Sea Front, and Odessa Military District was formed in May. In addition, detachments of the Red Guard were organized. A committee of the RSDLP(B) was organized in the city in June 1917. Soviet power was established on Jan. 17 (30), 1918. From March to November 1918, Odessa was occupied by Austrian and German troops, and from November 1918 to April 1919 by British and French troops. In August 1919 the city was captured by Denikin’s troops; it was finally freed from the White Guards on Feb. 7, 1920. The oblast committee of the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of the Ukraine, headed by I. Smirnov (Nikolai Lastochkin), and the Foreign Board, which conducted revolutionary work among the interventionist troops, operated underground.

During the prewar five-year plans, more than 30 new industrial enterprises were built and numerous old ones reconstructed. In 1940, Odessa’s industrial output was eight times greater than in 1913. During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), the city gained renown for its heroic defense. From Oct. 16, 1941, to Apr. 9, 1944, Odessa was occupied by fascist German and Rumanian troops, who inflicted great damage on the city. During the fascist German occupation, an underground oblast committee of the party, the suburban raion committee of the CP(B) of the Ukraine, five partisan detachments, and 45 underground patriotic groups operated in the city. The city’s famous catacombs, part of a former limestone quarry, served as a base for partisan operations. Odessa was liberated on Apr. 10, 1944, as a result of the Odessa Operation of 1944. The medal For the Defense of Odessa was established on Dec. 22, 1942.

On May 8, 1965, the hero-city of Odessa received the Order of Lenin and the Gold Star medal. Odessa was completely rebuilt during the postwar five-year plan (1946–50). In the decades that followed, the city’s economy and scientific and cultural institutions were further developed.

Among the prominent people who lived and worked in Odessa were the scientists E. Metchnikoff, D. I. Mendeleev, I. M. Sechenov, N. I. Pirogov, and V. P. Filatov; the writers A. S. Pushkin, A. Mickiewicz, N. V. Gogol, and A. I. Kuprin; the Rumanian and Moldavian classic writer M. Eminescu; and the Decembrists P. I. Pestel’ and the brothers S. I. Murav’ev-Apostol and M. I. Murav’ev-Apostol.


Economy. Odessa is a major industrial center. During the postwar years, the emphasis was on remodeling old plants and constructing new ones, such as the Avtogenmash Plant (producing equipment for autogenous welding and cutting), the Odeskabel’ Plant (producing cables), the V. I. Lenin Radial-Drill Plant, and a precision machine-tool plant. As a result of socialist construction, Odessa has become an important machine-building center of the Soviet Union. In addition to those mentioned, other important plants produce general machine tools, farm machinery (see), tractor parts, heavy cranes (see), and cinematic equipment. The city also has a shipyard. The principal output of Odessa’s machine-building industry includes radial drills, milling machines, diamond-boring machines, precision machine tools, and forge and press machines.

The chemical industry is represented by oil refineries, as well as plants for the production of chemical and pharmaceutical preparations and biogenic stimulants, superphosphates, and plastics. The production of synthetic materials is developing. The food-processing industry, represented by sugar refineries, flour mills, meat and dairy plants, canneries, confectionery plants, and wineries, accounts for a significant part of the city’s industrial output. Light industry is represented by jute, fur, and woolens factories and by footwear, leather, and garment enterprises. The city also has wood products enterprises and a building-materials industry.

A large seaport, Odessa is linked by air with all major cities of the USSR. It is also the base for the antarctic whaling fleet.

Architecture and city planning. Odessa is one of the most picturesque and well-built cities of the USSR. It has regularly laid-out blocks, straight tree-lined streets, many boulevards and parks, and stadiums and aquatic sports stations.

Odessa’s regular plan, designed by the engineer F. Devollan, was adopted in 1794, revised in 1803, and finally approved in 1814. It consists of three axial highways opening onto Primorskii Boulevard. From the beginning of the 19th century, Odessa was built in the classical style. In the center of the city there is a semicircular square flanked by two buildings (1826–29; architect, A. I. Mel’nikov) and a monument to A. E. Richelieu (bronze, 1823–28; designed by I. P. Martos). The monumental Potemkin Stairs (length 142 m; 1834–41; architect, F. K. Boffo) descend from the square to the sea. There are many other architectural monuments from the first half of the 19th century, including the Pushkin House (1821). Primorskii Boulevard is enclosed on two sides by the Vorontsov Palace (now the Palace of Pioneers; 1826–27; architect, F. K. Boffo) and the Old Stock Exchange (now the building of the city executive committee; 1828–34, rebuilt 1871–73; architect, F. K. Boffo). Also among the architectural monuments from the first half of the 19th century are the Pototskii Palace (now the Art Museum; early 19th century), the military hospital (1806–21, architect, Thomas de Thomon), and the Naryshkina Palace (now the Gorky Sailors’ Palace of Culture; 1829–30, architect, F. K. Boffo). The Odessa Opera Theater (1884–87; architects, F. Fellner and H. Helmer) and the New Stock Exchange (now the philharmonic society; 1894–99; architect, A. I. Bernardatstsi) were built in the eclectic style.

Many new buildings and building complexes were constructed during the Soviet period. These include the F. E. Dzerzhinskii Sanatorium (1930–32; architect, A. I. Dubinin), the Scientific Research Institute for Health Resort Science (1937; architect, F. A. Troupianskii), and the V. P. Filatov Scientific Research Institute for Eye Diseases and Tissue Therapy (1939; architects, M. A. Kats and L. L. Kordovskii). Also constructed during the Soviet period were the railroad station (1952; architect, L. M. Chuprin; engineer, V. V. Bereznitskii), the building of the oblast committee of the Communist Party of the Ukraine (1953; chief architect, G. V. Topuz), and the air terminal (1961–65; chief architect, N. A. Shapovalenko). Other recent buildings include the marine terminal (1965–66; chief architect, V. K. Golovin), the main building of the polytechnic institute (1965–67; chief architect, B. I. Podzyrko), and the multistoried Chernoe More Hotel (1972; chief architect, I. N. Ivanov).

A new general plan (1966; architects, B. I. Tandarin and others) is being implemented. New housing blocks are being constructed on Shevchenko Boulevard, in the settlement of Novaia Arkadiia, and in the southwestern settlements of Tairovo and Kotovskii. Bronze and granite monuments include To the Unknown Sailor (1960, M. I. Naruzetskii; architects, P. B. Tomilin and G. V. Topuz) and To the Men of the Potemkin—Their Descendants (1965, V. A. Bogdanov; architects, M. M. Volkov and Iu. S. Lapin). There is also a bronze and granite monument to V. I. Lenin (1967, M. G. Manizer and O. M. Manizer; chief architect, I. E. Rozhin).

Educational, scientific, and cultural institutions. Odessa is a major scientific and cultural center. There are 14 higher educational institutions in the city, including the E. Metchnikoff University of Odessa, the polytechnic institute, the naval engineering institute, the electrical engineering communications institute, and the conservatory; there are also 25 specialized secondary schools, including technicums for the gas and oil, automatic machinery, and machine-tool industries. As of 1974, the city had a theater of opera and ballet, the October Revolution Ukrainian Music and Drama Theater, the A. V. Ivanov Russian Drama Theater, a theater of musical comedy, a young people’s theater, a puppet theater, a circus, a philharmonic society, and a film studio. The city has an archaeological museum, a museum of history and local lore, an art museum, a museum of Western and Oriental art, and a museum of the USSR Navy.

There are four medical scientific research institutes in Odessa: the V. P. Filatov Institute for Eye Diseases and Tissue Therapy, the E. Metchnikoff Institute of Virology and Epidemiology, the Institute of Health Resort Science, and the Institute of Stomatology. Medical personnel are trained at the N. I. Pirogov Medical Institute (departments of medicine, pediatrics, and stomatology) and three medical schools.

In and near Odessa, as well as to the west of the Dnestr River along the Black Sea coast, is a group of mud-bath, balneoclimatic, and climatic seaside health resorts of Union-wide importance. Winters in Odessa are moderately mild, with average January temperatures of –3°C; summers are very warm, with average July temperatures of 22°C. Precipitation totals 351 mm a year. Methods of treatment include silt mud cures, brine from the limans, sea baths and artificial mineral baths combined with seawater (carbonate, hydrogen sulfide, radon, oxygen, and nitrogen baths), sea bathing, heliotherapy, aerotherapy, and grape cure.

The principal health resorts in Odessa include a number of mud-bath and climatic health resorts, such as Arkadiia (sanatoriums for patients suffering from diseases of the cardiovascular and peripheral nervous systems and the musculoskeletal system, as well as from nontubercular diseases of the respiratory organs; tuberculosis sanatoriums for adults and for children). Other mud-bath and climatic health resorts are Kuial’nik (sanatoriums, cure establishments), Kholodnaia Balka (a sanatorium for children suffering from the aftereffects of poliomyelitis and rheumatism in their inactive form), and the Lermontov resort (a sanatorium—the center for the clinics of the Odessa Institute of Health Resort Science—for people suffering from diseases of the cardiovascular and nervous systems and diseases of the musculoskeletal system; a balneological and mud clinic; a house of rest; and holiday hotels). Balneoclimatic health resorts include Bol’shoi Fontan, which has a specialized sanatorium with a balneological establishment for people suffering from diseases of the digestive system, a neurological sanatorium, and sanatoriums for adults and for children. Other balneoclimatic health resorts are Zatoka (a sanatorium for children with tuberculosis of the bones and joints; holiday hotels), Luzanovka (sanatoriums and Pioneer camps), and Primorskoe and Chernomorka (tuberculosis sanatoriums for children and for adults). Mud and climatic health resorts include Lebedevka, Sergeevka, and Khadzhibei (treatment of patients with diseases of the musculoskeletal system).


Odessa 1794–1894. Odessa, 1895.
Odessa: Ocherk istorii goroda-geroia. Odessa, 1957.
Zagoruiko, V. Po stranilsam istorii Odessy i Odesshchiny, fascs. 1–2. Odessa, 1957–60.
Vbor’beza Oktiabr’. (A collection of documents and materials.) Odessa, 1957.
Evstigneev, V. N. 70 geroicheskikh dnei. Moscow, 1964.
Kotkov, I., and A. Ushakov. Arkhitektura Odessy. Odessa, 1967.
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a city in the state of Texas, in the southern USA. Population, 78,000 (1970). Odessa is the commercial center of an agricultural region (cattle raising, cotton) and the center of an important oil-drilling region. The city has oil-refining, synthetic rubber, and carbon black plants.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a port in S Ukraine on the Black Sea: the chief Russian grain port in the 19th century; university (1865); industrial centre and important naval base. Pop.: 1 010 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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