Odessa or Odesa is the third most populous city of Ukraine and a major tourism center, seaport and transport hub located in the south-west of the country, on the northwestern shore of the Black Sea. The city is also the administrative centre of the Odessa Raion and Odessa Oblast, as well a multiethnic cultural center. Odessa is sometimes called the "pearl of the Black Sea", the "South Capital", "The Humor Capital" and "Southern Palmyra".
Before the Tsarist establishment of Odessa, an ancient Greek settlement existed at its location. During the 19th century, Odessa was the fourth largest city of Imperial Russia. Its historical architecture has a style more Mediterranean than Russian, having been heavily influenced by French and Italian styles. Some buildings are built in a mixture of different styles, including Art Nouveau, Renaissance and Classicist.
Odessa is a warm-water port. The city of Odessa hosts both the Port of Odessa and Port Yuzhne, a significant oil terminal situated in the city's suburbs. Another notable port, Chornomorsk, is located in the same oblast, to the south-west of Odessa. Together they represent a major transport hub integrating with railways. Odessa's oil and chemical processing facilities are connected to Russian and European networks by strategic pipelines.
The economy of Odessa largely stems from its traditional role as a port city. The nearly ice-free port lies near the mouths of the Dnieper, the Southern Bug, the Dniester and the Danube rivers, which provide good links to the hinterland. The city functioned is Ukraine's busiest international port. The port complex contains an oil and gas transfer and storage facility, a cargo-handling area and a large passenger port. In a typical year the Port of Odessa handles over 31,368,000 tonnes of cargo. The port of Odessa is also one of the Ukrainian Navy's most important bases on the Black Sea. Rail transport is another important sector of the economy in Odessa – largely due to the role it plays in delivering goods and imports to and from the city's port. The Container Terminal Odessa (CTO) in the port is the largest container terminal in Ukraine. It is operated by the Hamburg-based HHLA Group and, in addition to containers, also handles bulk goods, general cargo and project cargo. This means that Odessa is networked with the ports of Hamburg, Muuga and Trieste via the logistics group HHLA.
Industrial enterprises located in and around the city include those dedicated to fuel refinement, machine building, metallurgy, and other types of light industry such as food preparation, timber plants and chemical industry. Agriculture is a relatively important sector in the territories surrounding the city. The Seventh-Kilometer Market is a major commercial complex on the outskirts of the city where private traders now operate one of the largest market complexes in Eastern Europe. The market has roughly 6,000 traders and an estimated 150,000 customers per day. Daily sales, according to the Ukrainian periodical Dzerkalo Tyzhnia, were believed to be as high as US$20 million. With a staff of 1,200 the market is also the region's largest employer. It is owned by local land and agriculture tycoon Viktor A. Dobrianskyi and three partners of his. Tavria-V is the most popular retail chain in Odessa. Key areas of business include: retail, wholesale, catering, production, construction and development, private label. Consumer recognition is mainly attributed to the high level of service and the quality of services. Tavria-V is the biggest private company and the biggest tax payer.
Deribasivska Street is one of the city's most important commercial streets, hosting many of the city's boutiques and higher-end shops. In addition to this there are a number of large commercial shopping centres in the city. The 19th century shopping gallery Passage was, for a long time, the city's most upscale shopping district, and remains to this day an important landmark of Odessa.
The tourism sector is of great importance to Odessa, which is currently the second most-visited Ukrainian city. This sector recorded a total revenue of 189,2 mln UAH. Other sectors of the city's economy include the banking sector: the city hosts a branch of the National Bank of Ukraine. Foreign business ventures have thrived in the area, as since 2000, much of the city and its surrounding area has been declared a free economic zone – this has aided the foundation of foreign companies' and corporations' Ukrainian divisions and allowed them to more easily invest in the Ukrainian manufacturing and service sectors. To date a number of Japanese and Chinese companies, as well as a host of European enterprises, have invested in the development of the free economic zone, to this end private investors in the city have invested a great deal of money into the provision of quality office real estate and modern manufacturing facilities such as warehouses and plant complexes.
Odessa also has a well-developed IT industry with large number of IT out-sourcing companies and IT product start-ups. Among most famous start-ups is Looksery and AI Factory both developed in Odessa and acquired by Snap inc.
Odessa was ranked #79 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Odessa has a population of over 1,017,699 people. Odessa also forms part of the wider Odessa metropolitan area which has a population of over 2,377,230 people.