Odessa is a beautiful city on the northwest coast of the Black Sea situated 32 km from the mouth of the Dniester River. Its population is now approximately 1,100.000. The city`s name is derived from Odessos, a nearby ancient Greek settlement (sixth Century before our era) in reality situated where is now the city of Varna, Bulgaria. It was founded in 1794 on the site of a Turkish settlement – the fortress Khadzibei – after the armies of Catherine II had wrested control of the Black Sea coast from the Turks.
Odessa is situated on terraced hills overlooking Odessa Bay, an inlet of the Black Sea that forms a natural harbour. From the central part of the city, a monumental stairway – somehow the symbol of the city – descends to the waterfront. It was made famous in the Russian film Potemkin, directed by Sergei Eisenstein, which depicts the naval mutiny that occurred during the Revolution of 1905. This stairway used to carry the name of Richelieu, from Armand Emmanuel du Plessis de Chinon, Duke of Richelieu, a French politician (1766-1822), who served in the Russian army against the Turks and who was nominated Governor of the province of Odessa (1803-1814) by the Tsar Alexander I.