Prymorsky Boulevard, Odesa's elegant tree-lined promenade

©Pavlo Fedykovych/Lonely Planet

Prymorsky Boulevard

Top choice in Odesa

Odesa's elegant facade, this tree-lined, clifftop promenade was designed to enchant the passengers of arriving boats with the neoclassical opulence of its architecture and civility, unexpected in these parts at the time of construction in the early 19th century. Imperial architects also transformed the cliff face into terraced gardens descending to the port, divided by the famous Potemkin Steps – the Istanbul Park lies east of the steps and the Greek Park west of them.

At the boulevard's southeastern end, you'll spot the pink-and-white colonnaded City Hall, which originally served as the stock exchange. The cannon here is a war trophy captured from the British during the Crimean War. In the square in front of City Hall is Odesa's most photographed monument, the Pushkin statue. The plaque reads 'To Pushkin – from the Citizens of Odesa'.

Continuing along the boulevard, at the top of the Potemkin Steps you'll reach the statue of Duc de Richelieu (Памятник Ришелье), Odesa's first governor, looking like a Roman in a toga.

Underneath the eastern section of the boulevard, the Istanbul Park was reopened with much pomp in 2017 after a thorough Turkish-funded reconstruction that turned it into a rather manicured patch with welcoming benches, sunbeds and an impressive sandstone grotto looming in the middle of a fountain.

At the northwestern end of bul Prymorsky stands the semiderelict Vorontsov Palace. This was the residence of the city's third governor, and was built in 1826 in a classical style with interior Arabic detailing. The Greek-style colonnade behind the palace offers brilliant views over Odesa's bustling port. Both were under reconstruction at the time of research, along with the Greek Park underneath the western section of the boulevard.

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