Text and photos Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
Design Florin Alexandru Stancu

Photographically, this project begins with three pictures
with the statue of Empress Ecaterina II,
the founder of one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Odessa,
which I took in 2017-08-12.

Ecaterina II became the empress of the Tsarist Empire in 1762,
after the death of her husband.

She continued the politics of Peter the Great,
considerably expanding the Russian Empire.

Thus, until her death (1794),
she annexed Belarus, Ukraine (“wild fields”),
large parts of Poland and Lithuania,
and conquered the Crimean Khanate
after a plan named Restitutio Byzantium,
founding Novorussia over there.

Then she ordered the construction of a few splendid towns
with Russian-Occidental aspect at the north Black Sea,
and gave them ancient Greek denominations,
the most beautiful of them being Odessa.

On that morning
I hardly caught the planet Venus
through a thick window (which I could not open) and light pollution,
but I was glad just because, symbolically,
Odessa can be considered Venus of the Black Sea.

Then the pictures with the sunrise
were relatively better.

Odessa was founded in 1794 in the Yedisan province
(between the Dniester River and the Bug River,
where, after some sources, the population included a Romanian majority)
on the shore of the Black Sea,
in a zone with ruins of
an antique Greek colony (“Port of the Histrians”),
a Tatar fortress (Khadjibey)
and a Romanian settlement (Moldavanka).

Soon it became the 3rd largest city (“the South Capital”)
in the Russian Empire (after Moscow and Sankt Petersburg),
and impressed through its amazing multi-cultural component
and complex architecture (buildings and right streets).

Today, in spite of a tremendous history
(wars, pogroms, massacres, ethnical conflicts.
the statute of the Capital City of the Odessa Soviet Republic in 1917,
communist times etc.),
Odessa (which has remained in Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union,
with over 1 million inhabitants from which
60% are Ukrainians and 30% are Russians)
still preserves the architectural pearls from the 19th century.

So that I was happy to tour by bus its old town
and, for comparison, its new town (made mainly in the Soviet era).

Finally I remarked
(regarding the old free spirit of the Odessa)
the Greek Church, the Mosque and the Orthodox Cathedral.

Then I made a few solar halts
and I began with one of the most beautiful squares in Europe,

I continued with the Prince Vorontsov Palace,
another jewel from the 19th century.

Then the superb Primorsky Boulevard,
with the statue of Duc de Richelieu
(former Governor-General of New Russia)
and the Potemkin Stairs
(made in 1827-1841 and famous for their infinite effect).

Also on the Primorsky Boulevard,
the Greek ruins.

The next halt:
the stature and the museum of Puskin,
the Russian national poet who was exiled to Odessa in the 1820s
(and I have to note here that, also,
the Romanian national poet, Mihai Eminescu,
was interned in a hospital in Odessa in the 1880s).

Another halt at the Museum of Art
(Abazy Palace).

And the final halt:
the Odessa National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet
(founded in 1810 and remade in 1897),
which is often compared in beauty with the Vienna Opera!

The Odessa Opera House
Synchronizes waves of the sea,
Heavenly bodies and voices of people
As a supreme melody.

Encore with the Sun!


© 2019 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)