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Odessa Shore Excursions

Odessa, Potemkin Stairs area from above Jewish Tour
Odessa, Potemkin Stairs area from above

Jewish Odessa - wonder of the modern Jewish world

With a general population of over one million, Odessa is Ukraine’s fourth largest city and a major seaport. It combines a unique blend of Russian tradition with an unmistakable Mediterranean flair. Jewish presence is strong and pervades this cosmopolitan city.

 

Prewar Jewish life in Odessa was renowned for its effervescence. The Haskala, the Jewish Enlightenment, manifested itself here with the first Jewish College in the world. It was also an important Zionist center with the BILU and Am Olam Movements. The list of prominent Jewish citizens from Odessa would fill a book… This is where the world renowned pianist Maria Grinberg lived. Called a “true feat of art,” she was the first Russian pianist to record all of Beethoven’s sonatas. International star of Yiddish theater, Jacob Adler began his career in Odessa. He was the father of the equally famous Stella of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York. The author and playwright Sholem Aleichem wrote his stories about Tevye the Milkman here, later the basis for the play “Fiddler on the Roof.”

 

Local author Isaac Babel referred to Odessa as “the city made by Jews.” With a Jewish population of approximately 400,000, Ukraine’s community is currently the fifth largest in the world.

 

Fame and cultural prowess did not protect the Jews of Odessa from periodic outbursts of anti-Semitic violence and pogroms. This great community has seen its numbers diminish steadily. Before 1941 about half the population was Jewish. The Holocaust, followed by hardship during Soviet times, has diminished the community to 30,000. It is however a vibrant community, rightfully proud of its rich history.

Odessa Tour Options

  • Jewish Odessa and City Highlights
  • Odessa City Highlights

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Transfiguration Cathedral Odessa
Transfiguration Cathedral
Odessa Ukraine Jewish Tour
Potemkin stairs, Independence day celebration, 2014

  • All of our cruise tours include transfers from the port to the touring area and back. Please inform us in the event that you will not require transfers.
  • Our tours are fully customizable according to the time at your disposal. When making your request, kindly let us know how many hours you will be available for touring; if you know your exact docking times, even better!
  • In case you have already been to this destination previously, we can ensure that you will not be repeating sites which you have already visited.  If you have other specific requests, just let us know, and we will happily accommodate your particular preferences.