Odessa, Ukraine

Located in southern Ukraine, the city of Odessa is located on which body of water?

And the answer: Black Sea.

Photo courtesy: Volodymyrkrasyuk/Dreamstime.com

Located on the Black Sea, Odessa was founded in the late 18th century on decree by Catherine the Great. During the 19th century, it was the fastest growing and fourth largest city of Imperial Russia. Long after Ukraine declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Odessa remains an important and strategic seaport for the region.

This historic seaport has been conquered many times throughout history, creating a city with a uniquely diverse face. Among the cities in 19th century Russia, Odessa was the one of the largest -- rivaling in expansion to American cities such as Chicago. Odessa’s ethnic population was also the most complex of all the Russian imperial cities. According to the 1837 census, there were over fifty languages (other than Russian) spoken in Odessa. Among these languages, Yiddish was extremely prominent, as the city was home to a substantial and thriving Jewish population.

While Catherine the Great took Odessa from the Turks in the late 18th century, it remains an ideological and even physical battleground even today. With Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014, Odessa continues to walk the line of Ukranian and Russian control, the two nearby nations knocking shoulders for power in the integral seaport.

Until an agreement is achieved, Odessa will forge on in its other diverse pursuits. Highlights include the city's multiple institutes of higher education, their historic theater and opera houses, and their wide range of engineering industries.

Learn more about this historic seaport here.

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