This dynamic, energetic and somewhat decadent metropolis is located on the Black Sea coast and is mostly known for warm climate, sandy beaches, dozens of beachside nightclubs, holidaymakers and regular party crowds. The architectural heritage of Odesa is also remarkable. Many buildings were created by famous European architects and engineers. Odesa is a multinational city, there are a lot of different religions over there. There are numerous cathedrals, monasteries, mosque, Jewish synagogues and churches in the city.
Odesa is the prominent Orthodox center in Ukraine, and it will impress you by its old Orthodox churches and beautiful architecture.
Preobrazhensky Cathedral was Odesa's the most famous and important church before World War II. In 1930 Stalin completely destroyed it. These days the gigantic, newly rebuilt Preobrazhensky (Transfiguration) Cathedral nestles in the heart of Suborn Square and attracts numerous tourists and pilgrims with its unique sacral relics.
Svyato-Uspensky Cathedral is among the biggest cathedrals in Ukraine; it can accommodate up to 5000 people. Its golden domes can be seen from any spot in the city. Svyato-Uspensky Cathedral was founded in the early 19th century and since that times had remained the center of Christianity in the region.
St. Peter's Cathedral
The city is also home to a number of fine religious buildings of non-Orthodox beliefs. St. Peter's Cathedral is one of the two existing Roman Catholic temples in Odesa (the Church of Assumption of Our Lady Roman Catholic Cathedral is another one). It was founded by members of the wealthy French family in the late 18th century. St. Peter's Cathedral is a beautiful sample of neoclassical sacral architecture in Odesa.
Assumption of Our Lady
The Roman-Catholic Cathedral of Assumption of Our Lady was founded in 1853; it is located on Ekaterinenskaya Street. This beautiful religious building houses two fine statues of John Paul II and Pope St. Martin. The cathedral was built by Felix Gonsirovsky after the project of F. Morandi.
Holy Trinity Greek Church
The Holy Trinity Greek Church is one of the oldest churches in Odesa. Founded in 1795, it was originally supposed to be a wooden church, and in 1804 it was built in stone according to the plans of architect F. Frapoli. The church features marvelous columns and a beautiful white and green façade.
German Lutheran Cathedral of St. Paul
The German Lutheran Cathedral of St. Paul is situated near the Odesa National Academy of Telecommunications on Novoselskogo Street. This city’s religious building represents a magnificent cathedral in Neo-Gothic style, which features the beautiful façade and interior.
Odesa was always famous as “Small Israel”. Starting from 19th century it had 33% of Jewish people. Later on with pogroms and holocaust the number of Jews reduced drastically. Despite that there are still many places in Odesa of great importance for Jews. On Jewish Street in Odesa you can find the Choral Synagogue and, not far from there, the Brodsky Synagogue. The Great Choral Synagogue of Odesa is one of two surviving synagogues; once it hosted a thriving center of Jewish cultural life in Eastern Europe. It is located in the center of the city in a commercial district not far from the Black Sea. This Renaissance Revival house of worship and former home of renowned cantors was seized during the Soviet period for use as a sports hall. Reclaimed by the local Jewish community in 1997, it has been rehabilitated for religious and community use.
Al-Salam Mosque and Arabian Cultural Center
Odesa Muslims have probably the longest tradition in the city. Odesa was built on the site of an ancient Tatar settlement called Hadzhibey. The Tatar mosque, built by renowned architect Karbaalayi Safikhan Karabakhi was located in the center of the city, alongside of the Muslim cemetery. With the arrival of Soviet power life dramatically changed for Odessa Muslims. Tatar religious leaders were shot, the mosque was closed and later destroyed. The Muslim cemetery was also razed. The Al-Salam Mosque and Arabian Cultural Center were opened in June 2001.
From architectural wonders to more humble places of worship, the religious buildings in Odesa give one a chance to ponder upon the city's history and enjoy beautiful samples of sacral architecture.
Photos: shutterstock.com, pinterest.com