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Life and history of Odessa

Odessa was a typical colonial port town in Ulraine. Under the influences of Russian, Jewish, Greek, and other cultures, Odessa developed a unique culture of its own. Praised by many writers, that uniquely Odessa's culture is now gone for a variety of reasons, including influx of rural population into Odessa, mass emigration of Odessa's Jewish population, and Soviet-era faceless industrialization. Odessa municipality erases the remaining traces of the old Odessa with mammoth construction projects geared toward generating a quick buck for the officials involved.

The first thing that strikes a visitor to Odessa is roads, awful even by Ukrainian standards. Roads in Odessa can be accurately described as safari trails with damaged pavement and huge gaps. Add Odessa drivers who pay little heed to traffic lights or rules, mix in some traffic jams, and you get the taste of driving in Odessa.

Though a Ukrainian sea resort, Odessa has terrible ecology. Breathing in Odessa city center is a life-threatening experience. Scores of old cars driving in Odessa on very bad fuel produce unbreathable smog. Some ecologists blame the sore state of Odessa's atmosphere on chemical shipments in the Ukrainian ports in and near Odessa.

Tourist attractions in Odessa a few. There is Odessa art museum worth visiting and Odessa Opera. Visitors to Odessa can stroll Deribasovskaya street toward Primorskiy (Seaside) boulevard to exhaust the sightseeing opportunities in Odessa. Odessa is now famous by Arcadia nightlife district operating in summer.

Brand-name shopping in Odessa, and generally in Ukraine, is more expensive than in other countries. There is famous "Tolchok" or "The Seventh Kilometer" market on the outskirts of Odessa where tens of thousands of small shops sell contraband and counterfeited goods mainly from China but also from virtually every country. The "Tolchok" prices are famously low, making Odessa a popular shopping destination in Ukraine.

Credit cards are not widely accepted in Odessa as everywhere in Ukraine, mainly because local businesses have no habit of paying taxes. Many establishments in Odessa which have Visa/Mastercard logo would refuse your credit card claiming their card machine is out of order. American Express is almost nowhere accepted in Odessa. Currency exchange is ubiquitous in Odessa and the commission is generally low.

People of Odessa are friendly to foreigners even when drunk, but exercise reasonable caution. It is not common in Odessa to invite strangers, and a new acquaintance who invites you to his or her home probably means to rob you.

Odessa provides ample business opportunities, but risks are high. Good lawyers are very few in Odessa. Corruption rages at 100% mark at every establishment in Odessa, and the law is applied unevenly to put it charitably - which, again, is a common situation in Ukraine. Odessa is very corrupt and lawless even by the Ukrainian standards. Business scams are not that many, but contracts are rarely enforced. Business in Odessa boils down to finding the right people to work with and the right officials to pay to.

Address

«Zirka-2» Hotel
Kuznechnaya street 59, Odessa Ukraine.
Phone: (38) 048 700 - 03 - 43.
res@hotelodessa-ukraine.com

 
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