Odessa City Tour with BBC TWO: Great Continental Railway Journeys Kiev-Lviv-Odessa

On Odessa city tour with Michael Portillo, BBC TWO. BBC TWO came to Odessa to film an Odessa-Kiev-Lviv episode of their Great Continental Railway Journeys program. Odessa Walks founder, Olga Bokhonovskaya was invited by the BBC TWO team to participate in the Odessa part.

Odessa City tour: a stroll through the historic city center

Olga and Michael Portillo went on a city tour and discussed Odessa’s early days. How and why was Odessa founded? How did it happen that Odessa became the third largest city in the Russian Empire? What set Odessa apart from other cities in the Empire from the beginning? Because the city looks so different from other Ukrainian and former Soviet places.

We started our Odessa city tour from the monument to Odessa’s founders. It’s also known as the monument to the Empress Catherine. We discussed the first settlers who dared to come to the frontier of the Empire. Russian and Ukrainian peasants who created the first narratives about the newly founded city. Greek and Italian merchants who launched the trade from Odessa to international ports.

From the Privoz market to the Opera Hall to the Jewish Temple

The episode provides a very well-rounded snapshot of Odessa. It starts with a brief tour of its famous Privoz market (by the way, Odessa Walks has an exclusive tour of the Privoz market with food tastings from the  local vendors).  A visit to the Opera Theater lets you glimpse into one of the most beautiful theaters in the world.

A must-do part of any Odessa’s visit is an introduction to the Jewish heritage. At the dawn of the 20th century Odessa was the third largest Jewish city in the world. Therefore, the impact of the local Jewry on the city’s history is tremendous. Michael Portillo visits the Main city synagogue. He talks to the rabbi about the local Jewish community.