A series of tunnels dug under the city - the mines from which the stones for the city's construction were taken. The city is riddled with catacombs - normally the haunt of junkies and down and outs - but outside the city the catacombs operate as a museum.
These tunnels were used by partisans as a base to launch raids against the German and Romanian occupiers. The tunnels are dark and dank and still contain the personal belongings and equipment of the partisans who lived, fought and died there.
The walls are carved with graffiti that is either political or personal (and sentimental) and overall a visit is both a moving as well as interesting experience. It is only possible with a guided tour as the tunnels are confusing and it is easy to get lost.
Above ground is a rather down at heel museum with a few rusty weapons and some interesting, but faded, photographs. Sadly both the tour guide and museum captions are Russian language only.
The only way to get there is by an excursion bus from Odessa city centre. The buses leave at about 1000hrs from outside Odessa Railway Station - little old ladies in the square outside the station sell tickets and can be quite helpful (though generally they only speak Russian). The journey to the catacombs by minibus (included in the ticket price) takes about 40 minutes and the tour itself is about an hour.
Built for the 1980 Moscow Olympics this cable car takes you down hill to the beach in Odessa. It is Soviet era, 1970's engineering and you have to hop onto what looks like an individual, oversized, rusty metal bucket hanging from a cable. It then takes you on a squeaking, jolting, wind blown ride down the hill, over the woods and to the beach. A nerve-wrecking five minute trip - what a blast! A great view, but you're so terrified you hardly notice.
On Francuski Boulevard, Odessa - on the number 5 tram line towards Arcadia. Ask or look out for 'Kanatnaya Doroga' ('Rope Road').
A wonderful restaurant in the grounds of a Santorium along Fransuski Boulevard (take the number 5 tram towards Arcadia). An old summer residence of the rich and powerful that was incorporated into one of the many Soviet-era sanitoria in the city. Now it is renovated and operates as one of the best restaurants in Odessa.
The style is Csarist-era country house and the food is upmarket, fine dining versions of Russian/Ukrainian favourites such as borsch, pelmeni and shashlik. A perfect place to have a long summer lunch in the garden with friends - and don't forget their wonderful home made lemonade.
Francuski Boulevard, Odessa, Ukraine. Take the number 5 tram towards Arcadia and get off the tram near the 'Vash Sad' garden centre.
Salieri is a new but wonderfully placed art-cafe in the heart of Odessa. An inconspicuous entrance opposite the Mozart hotel, the back opens up to a beautiful old courtyard recently renovated at the back entrance to the Odessa opera house. Meals are very good and reasonable prices - main courses for under £5. As always in Odessa, 75% of the menu is dedicated to alcohol! Just a wonderful place to go and relax.
Langeronoskay str. Odessa
or walk round the back from the left side of the opera house.
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