Odessa (Russian: Оде́сса [ɐˈdʲesə]) or Odesa (Ukrainian: Оде́са [oˈdɛsɐ]) is is the third most populous city and municipality in the south-west of Ukraine, on the northwestern shore of the Black Sea. A major seaport and transport hub, the city is also the administrative centre and multi-ethnic cultural centre. Under the Russian Empire and Soviet Union, Odesa is sometimes called the “pearl of the Black Sea. In 2021, its population was 1,015,826.
Long before the Tsarist establishment of Odesa, an ancient Greek settlement existed at its location. In 1794, the city was founded by a decree of the Russian empress Catherine the Great. From 1819 to 1858, Odessa was a free port—a porto-Franco. During the Soviet period, it was the most important trading port in the Soviet Union and a Soviet naval base. In 2000, the Quarantine Pier at Odessa Commercial Sea Port was declared a free port and free economic zone for a period of 25 years. During the 19th century, Odesa 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. (Source)
Odesa hosts both the Port of Odessa and Port Yuzhne, a significant oil terminal. Another important port, Chornomorsk, is located in the same oblast, to the south-west of the city. Together these ports represent a major transport hub integrating with railways. Strategic pipelines connect Odesa’s oil and chemical processing facilities to Russian and other European networks. Before the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the city was a major tourism and cultural centre.