The Jewish Museum in Odessa, Ukraine opened in November 2002. Though small, with an exhibition area of only 160 square meters, the museum features an impressive collection of more than 7,000 photographs, newspapers, books, documents, musical instruments and pieces of art from Odessa’s Jewish community, which was once the third largest in the world. Items have been donated by local leaders, ordinary citizens and members of Odessa’s diaspora. Highlights include fragments of gravestones dating back to the 1770s, pages from Jewish newspapers as far back as 1869, photographs of leading Jewish cultural figures and a collection of religious garments and objects. One exhibition room is dedicated to Yiddish culture during the Soviet period and another remembers victims of the Holocaust.
The museum also offers classes in Jewish tradition, history, literature, art and design, as well as Hebrew language classes.
The Jewish Museum is located in the center of Odessa, not far from Cathedral Square. It can be reached on foot from many centrally located hotels, or by taking marshrutka (shared taxi) 105, 215 or 237, or tram 3 or 12, to Tyraspolska Square.
Address: Nejinskaya Street, 66, Odessa, Ukraine
Hours: Monday to Thursday from 1 to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed on Jewish holidays.
The Odessa Opera and Ballet Theater is the oldest theater in Odessa, originally opened in 1810. The original building was destroyed by fire in 1873 and was rebuilt in 1887 with elements of neo-Renaissance, Baroque, rococo and classical baroque elements. Niches on the top floor of the façade display busts of Mikhail Glinka, Nikolai Gogol, Alexander Griboyedov and Alexander Pushkin. The main entrance is decorated with stucco molding depicting dramatic and comedic episodes. The theater’s large, horseshoe-shaped hall is decorated with gilded stucco figures and designs and features unique acoustics that allow even a whispered voice to reach any part of the hall.
In its early days, to keep theater patrons comfortable during the summer months, workers would lower ice and straw to the basement below the hall, from where cool air would then rise up through vents beneath the seats. Although it was renovated in 2007, the theater sits upon precarious ground and is in danger of eventually collapsing.
The theater is located in the center of Odessa, just steps from the famous Potemkin Stairs. Theater-goers are expected to dress up; shorts, t-shirts, and “clothes for sport and beach” are not permitted. Children under the age of seven are not allowed at evening performances. Tickets may be purchased at the box office, but note that for current performances, tickets are available only one hour beforehand.
Address: Chaikovs'koho Ln, 1, Odessa, Ukraine
Hours: The box office is open Tuesday to Sunday 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., with a break between 3 and 3:30 p.m. Evening performances typically begin at 6:30 p.m. and matinees typically begin at noon.
Travelers paying a visit to Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, the oldest town in Ukraine and among the 10 oldest in the world, often come to see the Akkerman Fortress. The Ukraine’s largest fortress (and also its best preserved medieval castle) was built between the 13th and 15th centuries by the Moldavians, Genoese, and Turks.
Situated atop the ancient ruins of Tyr, the fortress’s walls stretch for over a mile (2 kilometers), and visitors are free to walk along most of them. From a viewing platform near a high point, it’s possible to gaze down at the city and the Black Sea beyond.
You can reach the Akkerman Fortress by bus or train from Odessa, or in a private taxi.