I offer a number of tours around Odessa, Kiev, the Crimea and Ukraine. They can be done as day tours or take several days. It is up to you. As your private tour guide, I can adjust the schedule, duration and activities to meet your needs. Please let me know of any special requests you have. All tours may be tailored to your interests like museums, Jewish or German heritage, architecture, churches/religion, etc. Anything that can fit one day is good! You choose. However, if you cannot last for many hours and are only interested in some special items please take a look at my other shorter tours as they may suit you better as well as turn out cheaper.
The cost of the tour is a function of the length and number of visitors. Basically I charge $30 an hour. It is good for one person or one couple. For three people or two couples it is 1.5 times as much that is $45. For 5 to 6 people the rate doubles.
Most of the tours are done on foot due to the short distance between objects and many streets in the downtown being either pedestrian or very difficult to park. So by default a private car is not included. However, it is possible to have it for an extra fee of $10 an hour. Please note that my car has 5 seats so I can have up to 4 guests this way. For more people a third party service must be used.
My fee does not include admission fees and some other costs that you may encounter. I suggest having about UAH 200 per person for things like this. Additionally, you may need some cash for snacks, souvenirs, etc.
Each tour has some 'must see' things. We may not have time to visit all of them. Please let me know your priorities and top interest. I can be flexible and include items from shorter tours in this list (e. g. Jewish Heritage).
Most of the tours include the following:
This is a comprehensive city tour which covers most of the downtown. Odessa is rich in history, culture, religion, traditions, architecture. It was established as a port and a multinational city, and many nations have co-existed here. Each of them contributed to what makes Odessa great and unique. Nowadays it is one of the biggest cities in Ukraine, having over one million inhabitants, the fourth after Kiev, Harkov and Dnepropetrovsk in terms of the population but definitely not the last in terms of history and culture. While Kiev is the biggest and oldest city in Ukraine and as a result has a whole lot to offer, it is not always easy to state that Odessa is inferior to it. This is, at least, the second greatest city in Ukraine. What’s funny, a century ago the situation was the same: in the then Russian Empire it was Odessa that was the second major city after the capital, St.Petersburg in terms of culture, while in terms of the population it was again the fourth (after Moscow and Warsaw). The history repeats on another scale in the independent republic of Ukraine.
Odessa was built and made by many nations. Frankly speaking, Ukrainians and Russians were just one of them. It is enough to mention that the first mayors were foreigners such as duke de Richelieu, a nephew of the famous French cardinal of the 17th century.
If you have Jewish roots you may find it interesting to visit Odessa as this town once had the biggest Jewish community in the Russian Empire and later in the Soviet Union. In fact, there was a saying in Odessa: show me an Odessite who is not a Jew. While there have been a host of other nationalities in Odessa and the language which is mainly spoken there is Russian, it cannot be denied that Jewish influence of the culture and history of Odessa is great, and many of native Odessites do have Jewish ancestors even if they are Russian or Ukrainian basically. Actually, the Russian language spoken in Odessa is quite different from that used in Russia not the least because of Jewish flavor.
There are many locations of Jewish Heritage in Odessa like synagogues, monuments, hospitals founded by Jews, etc. Some of the locations are historical but there are some that are used now like synagogues where you can meet local members of the Odessa Jewish Community. There is a museum dedicated to Jewish history of Odessa.
There is a unique manmade system of underground caves in Odessa, a real maze of tunnels that stretch for about 3,000 kilometers total. The caves are called catacombs in Greek. Contrast to the catacombs in Rome that are only 300 km. The catacombs are former quarries where stone was produced to build Odessa. Five million years ago there was a sea where Odessa is now. The shells that lived there died and fossilized forming limestone which is called shellstone. It is quite soft and can be easily cut. A house built of shellstone is warm and there is no radiation unlike granite. Over the years gangsters and smugglers hid in the catacombs, and during the Second World War guerillas. There are two options, you can choose both or one, see below.
Explore a medieval fortress in the Odessa region and vineyards. The medieval fortress is situated about 50 miles from the downtown of Odessa to the west in a smaller town of Belgorod-Dnestrovskiy, formerly known as Akkerman. The fortress is about 500 years old. The town is 2, 500 years old. It lies on a large salty lake which is the estuary of the Dniester river. There is an interesting winery in the adjacent town of Shabo which was founded by Swiss settlers in the middle of the 19th century. The winery has the best modern equipment and a museum dedicated to the settlers and is worth visiting. There is a store where good wine can be bought directly from the winery.
Welcome to Kiev. This is the capital of Ukraine and it certainly has something to offer! Not only will you see Kiev, but you will also learn a lot about entire Ukraine and its rich history dating back over a thousand years. This is how old Kiev is, according to most historians, although some believe that is is over 1, 500 years old and that is what was celebrated in 1982!
Odessa | Sights | Dating | Genealogy
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