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Odessa Culture Lab
Available with Summer RSL in Odessa

SRAS cultural programs are designed to give you a wide introduction to your city. These structured experiences are intended to be both educational, fun, and an opportunity for students to get to know each other.

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SRAS students enjoying a warm day near the beach in Odessa.
The Odessa National Opera is an excellent example of the city's striking European architecture.

1. Included Events

Introductory Tour of Odessa
This tour will show you all the beauty of Odessa's cozy streets, parks and avenues. The architecture is intensely influenced by French and Italian styles, which was greatly in style in tsarist Russia when they were built. You will also see the impressive Potyomkin Stairs (featured in famous film Battleship Potyomkin), the awesome Odessa Opera House, fantastic monuments, parks and promenades that will surprise even most experienced travelers.

Odessa Catacombs
This network of tunnels was created as limestone was dug out to fuel the 19th-century construction boom that Odessa experienced. The single source of material accounted for 90% of the building blocks used in Odessa at that time and helped provide architectural and stylistic coherency to the booming city. Today, the three-level maze of tunnels covers nearly two thousand miles under the city, making it the largest underground labyrinth in the world. You will hear about the role these abandoned mines have played in the city’s life: including as a refuge for criminals and outcasts, an operating space for pirates and smugglers, and the final stronghold of the city's WWII heroes!

Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi Fortress
Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi is one of the most ancient cities in Ukraine. It is situated on the right bank of the Dniester Liman near Odessa, in the historical region of Bessarabia. Its history starts in the 7th century BC when Greeks founded a colony here called Tira. The city has changed its name many times since then. Once conquered by the Turks in 15th century, (and renamed it Ak-kerman, which means "white stone" in Turkish). Retaken by the Russians in 1770, and now a Ukrainian city, it is "Белгород" or "white city." The fortress invites you to share in the spirit of its history.

Shabo Winery
Shabo is the name of a valley near Odessa where vineyards were first founded by ancient Greeks. The area has long enjoyed a reputation for delicious wines and fruit. You will have a nice tour of the vineyard, explore the King’s Cave Cellars, and take a break in the winery’s restaurants where you’ll taste samples and learn about the local tradition of winemaking.

Odessa National Opera (if time permits)
Visit one of the oldest and most beautiful theatres in Europe; it is often compared with the best theatres of Italy, Austria, and England. Learn about the architecture of the building, its history, and interesting secrets. It was built in 1887 according to the design of well-known Austrian architects Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer. The opera house impresses its guests with its luxurious decor in French rococo style: columns, sculptures, arches, intricate molding, dark red velvet armchairs, and numerous mirrors are literally breathtaking!

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