Odessa or Odesa Ukrainian: ÐÐ´ÐµÑÐ°; Russian: ÐÐ´ÐµÑÑÐ°; is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast province located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 as of the 2001 census.
The four foreigners' in Russian service met by chance on a Russian military vessel in 1870s - Jose de Ribas, Duc de Rischelieu, Count of Langeron and Franz de Volan. Later on, those four became instrumental in the city's success: the first one convinced the Russian Empress to found Odessa, the second made it the fourth largest city in Russia in just eleven years, the third one made it free economic zone and the fourth one created the city plan, used to build Odessa, which was considered the most advanced city plan in Russia at that time!
The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement, was founded by HacÄ± I Giray, the Khan of Crimea, in 1240 and originally named after him as "HacÄ±bey". After a period of Lithuanian control, it passed into the domain of the Ottoman Sultan in 1529 and remained in Ottoman hands until the Ottoman Empire's defeat in the Russo-Turkish War of 1792. The city of Odessa was founded by a decree of the Empress Catherine the Great in 1794. From 1819â1858 Odessa was a free port. During the Soviet period it was the most important port of trade in the Soviet Union and a Soviet naval base. On January 1, 2000 the Quarantine Pier of Odessa trade sea port was declared a free port and free economic zone for a term of 25 years.
In the 19th century it was the fourth largest city of Imperial Russia, after Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Warsaw. Its historical architecture has a style more Mediterranean than Russian, having been heavily influenced by French and Italian styles. Some buildings are built in a mixture of different styles, including Art Nouveau, Renaissance and Classicist.
Odessa is a warm water port, but militarily it is of limited value. Turkey's control of the Dardanelles and Bosphorus has enabled NATO to control water traffic between Odessa and the Mediterranean Sea. The city of Odessa hosts two important ports: Odessa itself and Yuzhne also an internationally important oil terminal, situated in the city's suburbs. Another important port, Illichivs'k, is located in the same oblast, to the south-west of Odessa. Together they represent a major transport hub integrating with railways. Odessa's oil and chemical processing facilities are connected to Russia's and EU's respective networks by strategic pipelines.