Lion sculptures at the entrances to the historic mansions, lion heads decorating grandeur facades and beautiful gates of the houses in the historic quarter and along French boulevard, images of lions in the family symbols. After a brief walk along Odessa’s city center, it becomes obvious that lions were a highly popular ornament in the XlX century. What’s the reason to this?
Odessa’s historic quarter boasts many grandeur buildings erected mostly during the second half of the nineteenth – early twentieth centuries when the city reached the peak of its prosperity.
The Italian story of Odessa goes back a long way, centuries before the city’s foundation. In the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, the Black Sea region was so familiar to the Italians that adventurers like Marco Polo in the late thirteenth century could write: “We have not spoken to you of the Black Sea or the provinces that lie around it, for there are so many who explore these waters and sail upon them every day… that everybody knows what is to be found there. Therefore I say nothing on this topic”.
A little bit of Italy in Odessa
That was really exciting to see Hapag-Lloyd’s ms Europa 2 dock in Odessa on a warm and sunny May morning. She arrived early, around 6.00am. I bet it was really awesome to see green slopes with towering buildings as the ship was sailing in to calm waters of the Bay of Odessa.
Here she is, docked in Odessa