06.06.2011


Odessa Culture Lab
Learn Russian, Live Ukraine!

SRAS cultural programs are designed to give you a wide introduction to your city and to Ukraine as a whole. These structured experiences are laid-back, educational, and an opportunity for students to get to know each other.

In our experience, however, most students prefer to save on the costs of organized activities and to have mostly free time – to study, to peruse independent interests, and to spend time with the friends they make from around the world while in Ukraine.

To strike a balance between these needs and wants, we offer several core activities, attendance to which is required and the cost of which is included in most programs (see the individual program pages for details). We also offer several optional experiences that are available at additional cost.

   Cathrine\'s-Monument-in-Cent
Odessa at night - the monument is one of the city's monuments to Catherine the Great.
 
   
  Vilkovo-the-Ukrainian-Venice
The "streets" of Vilkovo. 
   

1. Included Events

Central Odessa Tour
The city is a mix of many nationalities and ethnic groups, including those of the former USSR, and also Greeks, French, Polish, Italians, Jews, Bulgarians, Germans, Koreans, Romanians, Turks, and many others. You will see streets bearing their names with beautiful houses built by Italian architects about 150 years ago. You will hear quirky stories about the historic personalities that are still felt in the city today. Nearly every building has a story behind it – if it catches your eye, ask for the story! See historic monuments to Deribas, Catherine the Great, The Duke de Richelieu, and Lenin. You will visit the unique gardens full of mini sculptures, the Arcadia beach and other interesting places. 

Catacombs
Odessa stands on three layers of sandstone catacombs, which form the longest - about 1000 km - man-made labyrinth in Europe. They appeared as a result of quarrying to build some the city's grand 19th century architecture. During various periods the catacombs were used by smugglers, robbers, revolutionaries, and guerrillas.

Belgorod-Dnestrovsky
Belgorod-Dnestrovskiy is one of the oldest cities in Europe – about 2500 years old. It originated as an ancient Greek colony named "Tira" and has had a long and interesting history ever since. Nowadays, this small town has a lot of places worth visiting: a huge medieval fortress, a 13th century Armenian church, a 16th century Greek church with a holy spring and a Greek cathedral with a fine collection of old Greek icons. You will see much of the city's history laid out in the local museum and, if the weather is nice, have a pleasant and delicious open-air meal at The Argo Restaurant.

Archaeological Museum
The Archaeological Museum in Odessa was founded in 1825. It is one of the oldest museums in Ukraine. It has halls dedicated to archaeological artifacts from the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, the Greek period (blackwashed vases, artistically ornamented vessels, terracotta and marble statuettes etc.), and the Scythian-Sarmatian (items found in burial mounds) and the Slavonic (arms and armory of an ancient Russian warrior) periods. There is a well-known collection of gold and silver coins and a unique exhibition of ancient Egyptian relics, including three Egyptian mummies. It is the only such exhibition in Ukraine.

Vilkovo – the Ukrainian Venice
The town of Vilkovo is situated at the mouth of the Danube River and was founded in 1746. It is built on silt and sand islands and thus is often called “the Ukrainian Venice.” The trip to Vilkovo by car takes about 3.5 hours. The trip includes a tour around the old town and a motorboat excursion to a picturesque island down the Danube River where you will have a traditional Ukrainian picnic lunch. There you can also bathe in the Danube River and bask in the sun in a cozy fruit orchard while sipping the wonderful local red wine or drinking aromatic tea. This unique trip is a must for nature lovers.

Cultural Performance
Each semester, students are treated to one cultural performance. Popular venues in Odessa include the magnificent Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Theatre of Ukrainian Drama, the Theatre of Russian Drama, and the Theatre of Musical Comedy. There are also several specialized theatres such as the House of Clowns, Puppet Theatre, and Children's Theatre. Which you attend will depend on availability and student requests will be considered.

2. Optional Events

Jewish Odessa
The city of Odessa has been a center of Jewish culture for the more than two hundred years of its existence. The diaspora that emanated from Odessa boosted the Jewish communities of the USA (particularly New York), Germany, Australia, Israel, and other countries. During this two-day tour, you will see places in Odessa relevant to Jewish culture, find out about the history of the Odessa Jewish community and get acquainted with the Jewish culture there.

  Odessa_Pirates
Pirates on parade in central Odessa!

Temples of Odessa
The Greeks, the French, the Polish, the Italians, the Jews, the Russians, the Germans, the Ukrainians, the Turks and others have all lived in Odessa and in the surrounding area since the very beginning the city's existence. Naturally, all of them built infrastructure to facilitate the practice of their religions. So, there are now Russian Orthodox, Catholic, Greek, and Armenian churches, as well as a mosque and two synagogues. You can explore all of them!

Pirate Odessa
See the places connected with the activity of the former pirates of the Odessa region. You will see a meeting place of pirates and free masons, a grotto, and the catacombs under the palace of a Russian aristocrat. At the end of the tour you will see meet a retired pirate, Iron Gugo as he calls himself, and listen to his stories of the glorious past. You cannot enter his residence unless you are wearing a pirate's costume and take a pirate's vow. There you will find a place to sing pirates' songs and dance if you wish. Argh!

Criminal Odessa
At the beginning of the 20th century, Odessa was known as a place where famous criminals lived and "worked." One of them, Mishka Yaponchik (Mike the Jap), who lived in the early 20th century, was said to have robbed the audience at the Odessa Opera house in just thirty minutes. He was the leader of a whole army of thieves, burglars and pick-pockets numbering about 10,000. His slogan became widely-known and repeated "A lot and immediately!" His personality was so popular that he was introduced into fiction by Odessa writer Isaac Babel. During this tour you will have a chance to see places in Odessa connected with the biographies of famous criminals, find out about their lives and the notorious heritage they have left.

Outdoor Adventures
Odessa offers a range of opportunities for the casual or more active time spending. OLSC can assist you in making the necessary arrangements.

Carting
A modern carting track is just about 15 minutes from the school in a beautiful park. 

Day Boat Trips
Harbor trips by boats from Odessa Sea Port.

Night Boat Trip
This is a unique opportunity to make a night trip along the Odessa coastline on a disco boat.

Beach Trips
Enjoy the sandy beaches of Odessa for an afternoon of lazing in the sun and wadding in the clear seas.

Windsurfing and Water-Skiing
Everything that is supposed to be included into the beach fun is right there: windsurfing, waterskiing, aquacycles, rowing and banana boats.

Other Events

OLSC keeps a close eye on events and keeps you informed of other unique tours, exciting cultural events, city celebrations, etc. These events are often available at little or no cost.

 


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