Walks in Odessa: Primorsky Boulevard
Every city has a street that is its business card. In Odesa, it is Primorsky Boulevard…
Every tour guide will tell you so. Primorsky Boulevard is a business card of Odesa, built for Governor Mykola Vorontsov on the site of the ruins of the Khadzhibey fortress. The architectural ensemble includes the building of the Odessa Duma, the Vorontsov Palace, two semi-circular hotels and the Potemkin Stairs. At the beginning of the boulevard there is a monument to Pushkin, in the middle – a monument to Duke Richelieu.
And now, when the mandatory program is over, we just go past the opera house to the Duma building and oh, we’re so excited!
Primorsky Boulevard is a really beautiful street. So it was planned to make such a street so that everyone would gasp. And it was at the beginning of the 19th century, when Odesa was just beginning.
First, Count Vorontsov bought a plot of land on the ruins of the Turkish fortress Khadzhibey. The spiteful Prince Potemkin, not forgiving the fierce resistance of the Turks, ordered the fortress to be dismantled stone by stone, which clearly did not beautify the landscape. So the purchase was inexpensive for Vorontsov. On the purchased plot, Vorontsov built a palace – not as luxurious as in St. Petersburg or the Crimea, but the contrast with the surrounding shacks was striking.
And then the “broken windows effect” worked on the contrary. Around one beautiful house, other wonderful houses appeared. In 1820, the Odesa authorities began to build a boulevard “from the palace to the palace.” The building of the Odesa City Exchange was built (now the City Duma is located here), a wide street was laid from it to the Vorontsov Palace, paved with cobblestones, and trees were planted.
Houses along the boulevard were built only on one side so as not to block the view of the sea. The most famous architects were invited, and the land was so expensive that buildings were built wall to wall – and this in Odessa, where there was plenty of space for construction. And now two hundred years after the start of work on Primorsky Boulevard, you can be sure that it turned out well.
In the center of the boulevard is a monument to Duke Richelieu. Armand Emmanuel du Plessis, Duke of Richelieu, great-nephew of Cardinal Richelieu, whom we know from the novel about the Musketeers, fled from France after the Revolution, and returned to the Motherland after the restoration of the monarchy. During this time, he made a career in the Russian Empire, in particular as the governor of Odesa. Under Duke, the population of the city increased tenfold, and the trade turnover increased by several hundred. It is said that something obscene can be seen from the second hatch on the right side in the pose of the stone duke. We responsibly declare: it is not similar. But check for yourself.
Opposite the monument to Duke, the Potemkin Stairs descend to the sea. Luxurious white stone stairs were built as an entrance from the sea for the most noble guests, ordinary descents and that was enough. Previously, it led directly to the water, but now it rests on the roadway. Under the busy road there is an underground passage that leads to the Maritime Terminal. There are parks on both sides of the stairs, Istanbul Park and Greek Park.
And in the evening, Primorsky Boulevard becomes even more beautiful when the lights on the plane trees are lit. In general, this illumination was organized several years ago before the new year. But it turned out so well that after the holidays, they did not take the garlands from the plane trees.
What to do if you find yourself in Primorskyi for the first time.
- Walk along the boulevard in one direction and in the other
- Look at the Richelieu monument “from the second hatch” to close the question once and for all.
- Go down the Potemkin stairs, take a selfie. Go back up on the funicular.
- Sit on a bench under plane trees and listen to street musicians.
- Explore the remains of the foundations of ancient Greek culture in a mini-exposition.
- Eat an oyster in a cafe.
After the collapse of the USSR, the number of factories dumping toxic waste into the sea decreased in Odessa. In two decades, the sea has cleared enough to make the water suitable for oysters. Several oyster farms appeared here, supplying products to Odesa restaurants. Of course, vulgar traders can tell that shells are brought to them from Belgium and France. But most of the oysters on Odesa markets are of local production. You can see for yourself that they are no worse than French ones.
What a pleasure it is to order an oyster with a glass of sparkling wine, sit at a table under a sycamore tree, sip wine, listen to street musicians play, and understand that the summer has not passed in vain.