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About Odessa

Why Are They All Named Odessa?

History of cities, towns and villages named Odessa.

Have you ever heard the city name Odessa? I am sure you have. Even if you have never been in Ukraine, there are plenty of cities named Odessa in the whole World.

So, let’s investigate the history of Odessa names…

Odessa, Ukraine (formerly Russia, USSR). In the AD 15th century, nomadic tribes inhabited the land that is now the Odessa region. Crimean Khanate ceded the area to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the middle of that century. The city on the Black Sea's northwestern seashore was officially founded in 1794 (first called Odessa on January 10, 1795) as a Russian naval fortress (built on the ruins of a mid-18th century Ottoman fortress Eni Dunia) in an old Turkic town of Khadjibey. Khadjibey was taken by Russian forces in the Russo-Turkish War of 1787–1792, on 25 September 1789.

An avant-garde commander in the battle over Khadjibey and Akkerman (now Belgorod-Dnestrovskiy) and also the masterminded of the successful storming of the nearby fortress of Izmail was a Spaniard (likely of the Catalan Jewish converso origin) in Russian service, Major General (promoted to Admiral in 1796) Josй de Ribas (Iosif (Osip) Mikhailovich Deribas). In 1793, de Ribas together with a Flemish army engineer Franz de Volan created the final plan for the port of Khadjibey. Osip Mikhailovich Deribas headed the port, oversaw the building of it and also participated in the building of the city of Odessa. The best known street in Odessa (and one of the few that has never been renamed) is the main street of Deribasovskaya named after Iosif Mikhailovich. The name "Odessa" itself, is likely to have been derived (as was customary at the time) from the Greek name of an ancient Greek colony of Odessos, which was thought to have been located somewhere nearby.

The new city grew quickly much to the credit of a Frenchman the Duc de Richelieu, who served as the city's governor between 1803 and 1814. Another Frenchman, Count Louis Alexandre Andrault de Langeron succeeded him in office. From 1819 to 1859, Odessa was a free port (Porto Franco). Odessa became the most cosmopolitan city in the Russian Empire with Russians, Ukrainians, Jews, Romanians, Greeks, Bulgarians, Albanians, Armenians, Italians, French, Germans being well represented. Russia's most famous poet, Alexander Pushkin, noted that in Odessa "you can smell Europe." By the middle of the 19th century Odessa became Russia's largest grain-exporting port. This explains why so many "New World" grain belt towns established in the 19th century were happy to adopt Odessa's name.

As of January 1 , 2000 and for a term of 25 years, Odessa Sea Commercial Port (the largest seaport in Ukraine) is again a special free economic zone (Porto Franco). Currently, Odessa is the administrative center of the region by the same name with its over 1 million inhabitants.

Odessa, Texas (TX), USA. Abundance of oil is the factor that made Odessa, TX in Ector County stand out among the many other towns by the same name founded in the19th century America. It is certainly the reason why Odessa, Texas is undeniably the largest of Odessas in the United States with 90,943 residents in the year 2000. Odessa metro area now also includes the town of West Odessa with year 200 population of 17,799.

Survey # 27 filed in Tom Green County, March 11, 1876 is what started it all. The Texas & Pacific Railroad reached milepost 296, the future site of Odessa, Texas in early July, 1881. The name originally sprung up at the same time the Texas and Pacific tracks were set. In May 1884, a group of Zanesville, Ohio investors were brought to the area by the T&P Railroad to attend a sale of lots by the Midland Town Company. Headed by Colonel Tileston F. Spangler, a colorful lawyer, real estate developer and promoter, the Ohioans were impressed with the potential for profitable land sales and promotion of settlement. Resolved to establish the "future great city of West Texas," the group headed west in a private railroad car. An agreement was made with the railroad involving 24 sections of land (15,360 acres) for $53,760. The 640 acres in Survey 27 surrounding Section House 163 were selected for the townsite. Other principals included James Herdman, industrialist, railroad builder, large lumber company owner and manufacturer of tile and farm implements. The prime mover and chief financial backer was John Hoge, financier and industrialist. Hoge, with his cousin, Robert Schultz, another Odessa founder, owned a large soap factory. The name "Odessa" was selected by the founders for the "future great city" after Odessa, Russia, a then prosperous and widely known wheat and wheat-seed center and seaport. This name would be synonymous to "wheat country" in the sales pitch made to farmers in the north and Midwest. Odessa got a post office in 1885 - a year before the town was platted. It was officially organized in 1891, but they didn't get around to incorporating until 1927.

The town was settled by Methodists preventing the opening of any saloons until 1898. In fact, after the railroad sold the property to the Odessa Land and Townsite company, the first efforts to prohibit liquor went into effect. Buyers of Odessa townsite lots found a clause in their deeds restricting the "manufacture or sale of spirituous, vicious or malt liquor or any intoxicating beverage whatsoever." If the clause was violated, the property reverted to John Hoge, trustee of the Odessa Land and Townsite Company. In American folklore the Texas Odessa is far-famed for a mystery mine owned by one of the town's early settlers. He Was Old Ben Sublett who, each time he felt like giving his burro a bit of exercise, used to come back to his Odessa home with a load of gold from a shaft hidden somewhere in the Guadalupe Mountains. Townsfolk and people from afar tried to follow Old Ben to his bonanza, but calmly and skillfully he would shake off their greedy pursuit. When offered $10,000 for a partnership in the mine, he laughed: "Why, I could go out and dig up that much in less then a week's time." Before dying, he told his son Ross to find the mine for himself: "You'll just have to go out and hunt it down like I did." Such was the legendary oldster of Odessa, Texas.

Odessa, Missouri (MO), USA. When the Chicago & Alton Railroad built a track through this section in 1878-79, it went between two small settlements, Greenton to the north and Mt. Hope to the south. When the right-of-way was finally picked, both little settlements started packing their blacksmith shops and general stores and moved to the railroad. When the president of the new railroad, Mr. Blackburn, came to the j unction of the two settlements he asked what name the town had. Both settlements wanted their particular name and left it to the president to settle. Being a wise man, he picked neither and remarked that the extensive wheat fields reminded him of Odessa, Russia, where he had lately traveled. The railroad so designated the new town, and this was also used by the post-office department which eliminated the Greenton and Mt. Hope post-offices. Odessa is a suburban city in Lafayette County, east of the Kansas City metro area. Population of 4,818 (year 2000 US census).

Odessa, Florida (FL), USA Named in the 1880s by a Russian immigrant Peter A. Demens, who was instrumental in financing the Orange Belt Railway, which ran from Sanford to Trilby to St. Petersburg. He also named St. Petersburg. Odessa was originally situated in Pasco County; today it extends into northern Hillsborough County. The latest US Census data from 2000 indicates that the town has population of 3,173.

Lake Odessa, Michigan, USA Humphrey R. Wager, a capitalist from Ionia, Michigan developed Lake Odessa in 1887. He suspected that the railroad would soon pass through the area, so he purchased an 80 acre farm on the route. The Detroit, Lansing and Northern Railway built their track to connect Grand Ledge and Grand Rapids. The first train came in 1888.  The village was incorporated in 1889. The village was named for the two lakes, Tupper Lake and Jordan Lake, and the Township of Odessa. The Village of Lake Odessa located on the edge of Jordan Lake is a small part of Odessa Township. Population (year 2000): 2,272.

Odessa, Township, Michigan, USA. The southwest corner of Ionia County was made property of the United States by the Chicago Treaty of August 20, 1821.  This treaty was signed by General Lewis Cass and chiefs of the Pottawattomie, Ottawa and Chippewa Nations. The land was surveyed during October and November of the year 1830. In June, 1839, Myron Tupper, of Monroe Co., N.Y., was in Michigan looking for land, and at Jackson learning from Kirkenthal, the mail-carrier over the Clinton trail between Jackson and Grand Rapids, that there was government land to be had in the town now called Odessa, Tupper proceeded at once to enter the southeast quarter of section 27, through which flowed a small stream, and upon which rested the waters of a small lake.  He returned eastward at once, and, securing the companionship of Harvey Kibbey, moved westward once more, and made no halt until the Odessa land was reached.  They put up a shanty and stopped long enough to chip five acres and put in a little corn and potatoes. Having done that as the first attempt at improvement in the present town of Odessa, they left the town to itself and went back to New York State.  As soon as he could Tupper gathered his household goods, and with his family and Wellington Russell, an unmarried young man, started once more for Michigan.  From Jackson, Michigan, they followed the Clinton trail until within less than a mile of their destination, and that point they made without much more ado. This, then, was the pioneer settlement in Odessa. Population excluding the Village of Lake Odessa and based on 2000 census is 1,551 - all rural.

Odessa, Washington, (WA) USA The Odessa territory was first settled around 1880's by cattleman who felt the bunchgrass covered land, with Crab Creek running through the center, was one of the best rangelands in the Northwest. One such man George W. Finney, later known as the founder of Odessa, who once homesteaded land upon which the town now stands. In 1892, the Great Northern Railroad was built through this part of the country, with a sidetrack known as the Odessa Siding. The Great Northern Railroad officials selected the name of the Black Sea port as suitable for a place in the highly productive wheat country. In order to attract settlers to Odessa and ensure themselves of future success, the Great Northern Railroad offered immigrants free passage and the opportunity to obtain homesteads. By 1898, Mr. Finney, realizing the potential for a town, donated his land and platted the town site. 80% of immigrants settling in Odessa were Volksdeutsche Germans from Russia.  Many settlers heard of the new land through friends and relatives already living in areas south of Odessa, such as Ritzville and Colfax.  These German families, living along the Black Sea and the Volga River in Russia as wheat farmers for the past 100 years, were discouraged by increasing taxes, government harassment, and forced military service. Entire families came to the Odessa area, bringing with them the German culture they strove to retain throughout the many years of hardships under Russian domination. n October 1902, Odessa was incorporated.  The town continued to grow reaching approximately 1200 people at its peak and was home to 957 people, according to the 2000 census.

Odessa, New York, (NY) USA This village in Schuyler County is approximately 25 miles southeast of Ithaca. In 1824, Phineas Catlin Jr., son of Judge Phineas Catlin, born on the homestead near Millport, N. Y., in 1795, purchased 200 acres of land, where the present village of Odessa is located. Sometime between 1824 and 1827, the town was surveyed and laid out with the aid of John Foster, a surveyor. It was known for many years as "Catlin's Mills" from the fact that Phineas Catlin had bought both the grist and saw mills that were already built, located near each other on this property. It was home to 617 people in 2000.


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