This fascinating full-day tour is one of the best ways to become acquainted with Odessa's magnificent historical, architectural and cultural heritage. Starting off from the pier, it's a short drive to lovely chestnut tree-lined Primorsky Boulevard, a much revered location for tourists and local Odessans alike. Embarking on a guided walking tour, you'll discover the boulevard's allure in its numerous inviting benches and magnificent, panoramic views of the harbor and sea. Stunning vistas abound along this grand promenade which is sprinkled with one remarkable attraction after another, including the City Hall, the highly cherished monument to the Duc de Richelieu, the fabulous Odessa Opera House and the Classical-styled Archaeological Museum where an inside visit is scheduled.
One of the boulevard's most illustrious sights is the renowned Potemkin Steps, originally known as the Boulevard Steps. Built in 1837 and extending 465 feet, the steps are arguably the very best place to view the sparkling waters of the bay and the bustling port. Interestingly enough, looking down from the top, the steps themselves become invisible, with only the landings being seen, while looking upwards, the landings disappear and only the steps become visible. The steps were made famous in the motion picture, The Battleship Potemkin, a film that commemorated the 1905 workers' uprising that was supported by the crew of the battleship. The film depicts the famous massacre taking place on the steps, but in actuality, it took place in the nearby streets and not on the steps themselves. Also seen is the Pushkin Monument which honors the once-exiled famous poet.
Rejoining your coach, you'll travel on to the main temple of Odessa, the Transfiguration Cathedral with its marvelous architecture and wonderful interior. Following your visit here, you will journey down Deribasovskaya Street, the city's main shopping area. Time will be given for a stroll in the City Gardens where you can browse for local handicraft items before being treated to lunch at a Ukrainian-style restaurant.
Your final stop before returning to the ship will be the Fine Arts Museum. This former palace of Count Pototsky was built in 1805 and in many respects is itself a noteworthy museum. Housed in an exquisite setting of ornamental halls, painted ceilings, parquet floors and fine marble, resides an impressive display of paintings dating back to the 18th century and an even more amazing collection of icons from the 14th and 15th centuries. The full collection which also includes works by Odessa's contemporary artists truly reflects the full history of Russian art.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 3 hours of walking with steps to be negotiated. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. A hat and comfortable walking shoes are recommended; however, modest clothing is required to enter the cathedral. The order of sites visited may vary.