That's how this city is called almost from her birth. The people got used to treating Odessa as a living creature, finding in her the best human qualities: charm, humor, empathy, cheerfulness and independence. Her southern temperament and practical cast of mind organically complement her poetic attitude to life and aspiration for beauty.
Odessa is situated on the north-western coast of the Black Sea, 32 km (19. 88 miles) away from the Dniester estuary. The city is on the same latitude as Budapest, Bern, Zurich, Milan, Zagreb, Montreal and Ottawa.
The climate here is moderately continental, comparatively dry with short mild winters and prolonged warm summers. The number of sunny days per year exceeds 290 —same as at the famous resorts of the southern coast of the Crimea or the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus. On the other hand, rainy days here are much fewer — the average annual norm is only 350-450 mm.
The proximity to the sea softens the heat of the summer sun rays as well as the cold of winter. The average temperature of the coldest month, January, is —2°C, and the hottest, July, +23.5°C. Frost below ten degrees and abundant snowfalls are as rare as above +32°C of heat.
Naturally, the majority of tourists and holiday-makers make sure they visit Odessa in summer time because of the sultry Odessa summer with all tin fascination of the south present there the fruit of the sea, of gardens an fields, mild sun, healing steppe air, an the life of the southern summer capital full of rejoicing and care free spirit.
But there is a special time which Odessans prefer to save for themselves and for their closest friends — the last month of spring and early autumn. The month of May in Odessa is fresh an romantic. Odessa citizens, who are sic of their winter captivity in apartments are full of joy of life and crave for nature. The smell of the sea along the coast is mingled with tantalizingly appetizing aroma of shish-kebab, pilaf and barbecue. Sea swimming ha: already started for the most energetic and brave individuals and coming numerous May holidays soon bring tin rest of the adult population into this category.
September and the first half of October are the apogee of abundance. Unforgettable time of gathering crop; of grapes and wall nuts; new wine is being put into casks; there is plenty o fruit and vegetables. The sea is still warm and the sun is hot almost like in summer. Until the beginning of October the temperature of the sea water rarely goes below 18°C.
The golden time between May am October (no less than 110-120 days per year) is called a holiday season. It is ii this season that all the unique healing factors of the region — the mixture o sea and steppe air, sea swimming therapeutic mud of the Odessa lymans - salty coastal lakes, mineral waters plenty of valuable dietary vitamin rich food stuff — are acting with the maximum effect.
There is some slackness on the tourist routes of Odessa and the region in the late autumn and winter. But then the theater and club season is in its full swing.
The repertoire of popular night clubs and entertainment facilities is renewed every week-end. Cafes and restaurants are filled with their faithful frequenters. Besides, the city has got prestigious health resorts, wellness and SPA-centers, the country's biggest dolphinarium and oceanarium that provide the full complex of services all the year round. That's why to the question "When is the best time to visit Odessa?" we will give the only possible universal answer: when you feel like celebrating life.
An old saying "Odessa may not be the primary city in the country but definitely it is not the secondary one" reflects all the uniqueness of the city and her place in the modern Ukraine. The southern gates of the country, its biggest sea port and service provider, dynamically developing economic, cultural, holiday and health resort center — that's what Odessa is today.
Odessa has trade relations with almost a hundred countries of the world. The prevailing industries in her economy are: providing of transport and transit services, food and machine building, wholesale and retail trade. Stable development of economy and of foreign trade connections makes the city and the region one of the most attractive targets for investments in Ukraine. Not without reasons Odessa is chosen as a host for many important international economic forums and the region together with the city are the members of such international organizations as The Assembly of European Regions, The Commonwealth of Danube Countries, The International Black Sea Club.
Not so long ago after mentioning that Odessa was a health and holiday resort people would often add that the city was also one of the biggest industrial centers in the country and the abnormality of putting these notions together was not at all evident. For quite a long time the development of Odessa was carried on without proper consideration of her climate advantages and natural riches.
Fortunately, a necessary re-evaluation has taken place recently. Ecologically harmful industries are either closed or restructured for a different function; recreational possibilities of the sea and the coast are being intensively restored. Tourism, holiday-making and health resorts are becoming the primary directions for the city development.
In times past the enterprising merchants of Odessa would bring beautiful construction stone and marble to the city as the ballast weight on the way back after delivering grain to Europe. In order to create immortal gems of architecture, the city needed durable construction materials. Today, trading with the whole world, Odessa actively draws in international experience and investments as the foundation for her present and future well-being.
The population of Odessa is about a million now. People of more than a hundred nationalities call the city their home. It has been her custom since the very first days when Odessa just started bringing together daring business-like people who craved for success and freedom from all over the world. A person did not have to have a letter of reference or a passport in order to become an Odessan. The thing that mattered was a person's readiness to be useful either in farming or construction, or trade, and to invest his labor or the capital into an honest business.
With a kind of motherly love Odessa cherishes the names of her different nationality children which is reflected in the names of her streets and squares: the streets Bessarabskaya (Bessarabian), Bolgarskaya (Bulgarian), Small and Big Arnautskaya (Arnaut — the same as Gagauzi), Grecheskaya (Greek), Evreyskaya (Jewish), Polskaya (Polish), Frantsuzskiy and Italyanskiy (French and Italian) boulevards, Armyanskiy and Luteranskiy (Armenian and Lutheran) lanes and a whole resident area — Moldavanka (small Moldova).
"There was not another country in the world, — the first Odessa city mayor who later would become the premier of France — the duke de Richelieu, wrote, where such a variety of nationalities who addition were so different in morals and manners, languages, costumes religion and customs would come together upon so small a space. Thus, a year after a year a unique community of people would emerge. Every nationality donated to this community its own specific traits, Russian daring nature and Ukrainian persistence, French charm and Italian artistry, Bulgarian diligence and Polish pride, a bit of Greek slyness and a bit of Jewish keenness of wit, Oriental impulsiveness and German reckoning together have produced a steadfast, talented an buoyant people whose name Odessans. Add to this "Georgia mirth and Ukrainian raw bacon Russian hang-over syndrome and Jewish element" — and we have what we have: a city of jokers and connoisseurs of hospitality, home of artists and musicians, merchants and seafarers, poets and humorists, of them contributed to creating subtle Odessa humor, Odessa typical jokes, colorful Odessa folklore and peculiar Odessa accent.
Odessans are known by their ability find a reason for a good-natured joke not forgetting to banter over themselves in any situation. It is inherent in them to perceive life as an ongoing celebration in spite of different everyday troubles and historic cataclysms. Odessans are very hospitable folks. No matter in what language you are seeking help, you will definitely find compassion and willingness to assist you.