City (pop., 2001: 1,029,000), south-western Ukraine, capital of Odessa region, a large port on the Black Sea.
The third largest Ukrainian city after Kiev and Kharkov, Odessa is an important rail junction and highway hub and is a major industrial, cultural, scientific, and resort centre.
The city was founded in 1791 and became Russia's second most important port after Saint Petersburg. It was a centre of revolutionary activity in 1905 (see Russian Revolution of 1905), and it suffered heavy damage in World War II.
Grain, sugar, machinery, coal, petroleum products, cement, metals, jute, and timber are the chief items of trade at the port of Odessa, which is the leading Ukrainian Black Sea port. Odessa is also a naval base and the home port of a fishing and an antarctic whaling fleet.
The city's industries include shipbuilding, oil refining, machine building, metalworking, food processing, and the manufacture of chemicals, machine tools, clothing, and products made of wood, jute, and silk. Large health resorts are located nearby.
Odessa has a university (est. 1865), an opera and ballet theatre (1809), a historical museum (1825), a municipal library (1830), an astronomical observatory (1871), an opera house (1883-87), and a picture gallery (1898).
Ukrainians, Russians, Jews, and Greeks predominate in Odessa's cosmopolitan population.