We invite you to join our excursion – Palaces of Odessa. During our tour you will see some of the most beautiful mansions that have survived to this day. This is the Vorontsov palace complex, the Tolstoy mansion, the Shah’s palace and other historical buildings that belonged to the elite of Odessa in the 19th century. It’s a walking tour along the central district of the city. Duration – 2-2,5 hours.
Since the 1820s, Odessa began to actively build up and develop as a seaport city, becoming the main trading center of the south of the country. The rapid pace of development has attracted the attention of many noble aristocrats and rich people from all over the empire. In prosperous Odessa or “Southern Palmyra”, as it was poetically nicknamed, estates, mansions, apartment buildings began to appear. Architecture in the central part of the city is especially saturated with aristocracy and grandeur. Many buildings have survived to this day.
The palaces of Odessa delight with their grace and luxurious decoration, as well as with a variety of styles and architectural solutions. The palace buildings are presented in the style of empire, baroque, neo-gothic, eclecticism and renaissance. Palaces of Pototsky, Tolstoy, Vitte, Vorontsov and Shah’s are rightfully called masterpieces of architecture. Each building has its own story, its own legends and secrets. Thus, for example, if you look carefully, on the facades of buildings, you will find signs or messages encoded in moulding and symbols left by architects. During our tour, we will try to decipher some of these messages.
Interestingly, some Odessa mansions have their own basements. Not just basements – whole dungeons! One of those is located under the palace of Prince Vorontsov. A 140-m long tunnel once connected the building with utility rooms and a stable. The underground corridor, built at the beginning of the 19th century, is today an object of cultural heritage of local importance.
The Pototsky Palace, which served as a residence, is interesting not only as a monument of architecture. Since 1899 till today it housed the Art Museum. Under the main building there are several galleries and cellars. One of them has got an underground grotto – the only one available for visiting. You can get into the cave within a guided tour where you will see all the beauty of a unique grotto of its kind, as well as learn the history of the Naryshkin-Pototsky mansion and family.
The Tolstoy city estate is one of the few palace complexes where the original interior is still preserved. The living rooms of Orekhovaya, Silk and Marble are especially striking in their rich decoration. A number of scenes of the famous Soviet movie “D’artanyan and the Three Musketeers” were shot in the count’s rooms. Now it houses the House of Scientists. To get inside, you must pre-book a tour. You will see not only luxurious halls, but also antique furniture, a fireplace, mirrors in openwork frames and an original piano by K. Schroeder. The Tolstoy Palace is the place where you can immerse yourself in an aristocratic atmosphere and feel the spirit of Odessa of the XIX century.
Of course, this is not the whole list of palace buildings worth of attention. During the tour, on our route there will also be the mansions of Prince Gagarin (since 1977 – the Literary Museum) Count Abaza (Museum of Western and Eastern Art) – the first honorary citizen of the city and other historical sites. We will talk about the fate of famous owners, debunk myths and reveal the secrets of their homes.