Odessa Oblast

Odessa Oblast (also known as Odesa Oblast; Ukrainian: Одеська область, Odes’ka oblast’, Russian: Одесская область, Odesskaya oblast’) is an oblast (province) of southwestern Ukraine, located along the northern coast of the Black Sea. Its administrative center is the city of Odessa (Ukrainian: Одеса, romanized: Odesa).

Odessa Oblast

Одеська область
Odes’ka oblast’


Coat of arms
Country Ukraine
Administrative centerOdessa
  GovernorMaksym Kutsyi[1]
  Oblast council84 seats
  ChairpersonSerhiy Paraschenko (Petro Poroshenko Bloc)
  Total33,310 km2 (12,860 sq mi)
Area rankRanked 1st
  Total 2,396,442
  RankRanked 6
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal code
Area code+380-48
ISO 3166 codeUA-51
Cities (total)19
 Regional cities7
Urban-type settlements33
FIPS 10-4UP17

The region, the largest in Ukraine by area, is approximately the size of Belgium.[3] The length of coastline (sea-coast and estuaries) reaches 300 km (190 mi), while the state border stretches for 1,200 km (750 mi).[3] The region has eight sea-ports, over 80,000 ha (200,000 acres) of vineyards, and five of the biggest lakes in Ukraine.[3] One of the largest, Yalpuh Lake, is as large as the city of Odessa itself.[3]

Odessa, the administrative center of the oblast, is the third-largest city in Ukraine. The town has become known in Ukraine as the "Black Sea Pearl" or as the "Southern Palmyra".[3][4] Odessa became the first city in Ukraine to see a car, with the internal combustion engine brought to the city in 1891 by Vasiliy Navrotskiy, the chief editor of Odesskiy Listok.[3] After Catherine the Great founded Odessa, one of her foreign military commanders, José de Ribas (1749-1800), brought the lava for making the cobblestones on vulytsia Deribasivska from the Vesuvius volcano near his native Naples.[3] Under that street are the Odessa catacombs, which purportedly exceed the expanse of the catacombs in Paris or Rome.


Evidence of the earliest inhabitants in this area comes from the settlements and burial grounds of the Neolithic Gumelniţa, Cucuteni-Trypillian and Usatovo cultures, as well as from the tumuli and hoards of the Bronze Age Proto-Indo-Europeans. In the 1st millennium B.C. Milesian Greeks founded colonies along the northern coast of the Black Sea, including the towns of Olbia, Tyras, Niconium, Panticapaeum, and Chersonesus. The Greeks left behind painted vessels, ceramics, sculptures, inscriptions, arts and crafts that indicate the prosperity of their ancient civilisation.

The culture of Scythian tribes inhabiting the Black Sea littoral steppes in the first millennium B.C. has left artefacts in settlements and burial grounds, including weapons, bronze cauldrons, other utensils, and adornments. By the beginning of the 1st millennium A.D. the Sarmatians displaced the Scythians. In the 3rd–4th centuries A.D. a tribal alliance, represented by the items of Chernyakhov culture, developed. From the middle of the first millennium the formation of the Slavic people began. In the 9th century the eastern Slavs united into a state with Kiev as its centre. The Khazars, Polovtsy and Pechenegs were the Slavs' neighbours during different times. Archeological evidence of the period of the 9th–14th centuries survives in materials from the settlements and cities of Kievan Rus': Belgorod, Caffa- Theodosia, and Berezan Island.

The Mongols took over the Black Sea littoral in the 13th century.

The Grand Duchy of Lithuania acquired the area at the beginning of the 15th century.

In 1593 the Ottoman Empire set up in the area what became known as its Dnieper Province (Özü Eyalet), unofficially known as the Khanate of Ukraine.[5] Russian historiography refers to the area from 1791 as the Ochakov Oblast.[6] The territory of the Odessa oblast passed to Russian control in 1791 in the course of the Russian southern expansion towards the Black Sea at the end of the 18th century.

After the February Revolution of 1917 in Russia the area became part of the Ukrainian People's Republic (1917-1918), but soon succumbed first to the Russian Volunteer Army (part of the White movement) and then to the Russian Bolshevik Red Army. By 1920 the Soviet authorities had secured the territory of Odessa Oblast, which became part of the Ukrainian SSR. The oblast was established on 27 February 1932 from five districts: Odessa Okruha, Pervomaisk Okruha, Kirovohrad Okruha, Mykolaiv Okruha, and Kherson Okruha.

In 1937 the Central Executive Committee of the USSR split off the eastern portions of the Odessa Oblast to form the Mykolaiv Oblast.

During World War II Axis forces conquered the area and Romania occupied the oblast and administered it as part of the Transnistria Governorate (1941-1944). After the war the Soviet administration reestablished the oblast with its pre-war borders.

Odessa Oblast expanded in 1954 to absorb Izmail Oblast (also known as the Budjak region of Bessarabia), formed in 1940 as a result of the Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina (from Romania), when Northern and Southern parts of Bessarabia were given to the Ukrainian SSR.

During the 1991 referendum, 85.38% of votes in Odessa Oblast favored the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine. A survey conducted in December 2014 by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology found that 2.3% of the oblast's population supported their region joining Russia, 91.5% did not support the idea, and the rest were undecided or did not respond.[7] A poll reported by Alexei Navalny and conducted in September 2014 found similar results.[8]


The country's largest oblast by area, it occupies an area of around 33,300 square kilometres (12,900 sq mi). It is characterised by largely flat steppes divided by the estuary of the Dniester river. Its Black Sea coast comprises numerous sandy beaches, estuaries and lagoons. The region's soils are renowned for their fertility, and intensive agriculture is the mainstay of the local economy. The southwest has many orchards and vineyards, while arable crops are grown throughout the region.

Points of interest


Significant branches of the oblast's economy are:

The region's industrial capability is principally concentrated in and around Odessa.


The oblast's population (as of 2004) is 2.4 million people, nearly 40% of whom live in the city of Odessa.

Significant Bulgarian (6.1%) and Romanian (5.0%) minorities reside in the province.[9] It has the highest proportion of Jews of any oblast in Ukraine (although smaller than the Autonomous City of Kiev) and there is a small Greek community in the city of Odessa.

Bulgarians and Romanians represent 21% and 13% respectively, of the population in the salient of Budjak, within Odessa oblast.

19901,833 166
19911,732 119
19921,630 155
19931,528 185
19941,426 197
19951,424 993
19961,323 666
19971,222 491
19981,221 273
19991,119 969
20001,120 042
20011,120 423
20021,221 227
20031,222 326
20041,323 343
20051,323 915
20061,425 113
20071,526 759
20081,628 780
20091,628 986
20101,628 690
20111,629 225
20121,730 384

Age structure

0-14 years: 15.5% (male 188,937/female 179,536)
15-64 years: 70.7% (male 812,411/female 867,706)
65 years and over: 14.0% (male 116,702/female 218,808) (2013 official)

Median age

total: 38.4 years
male: 35.4 years
female: 41.5 years (2013 official)


Religion in Odessa Oblast (2015)[10]

  No religion (8%)
  Unaffiliated Christian (6%)
  Catholicism (0.5%)
  Protestantism (0.5%)
  Undecided (1%)

The dominant religion in Odessa Oblast is Eastern Orthodox Christianity, professed by 84% of the population. Another 8% declares to be non-religious and 6% are unaffiliated generic Christians. Adherents of Catholicism and Protestantism make up 0.5% of the population respectively.

The Orthodox community of Odessa Oblast is divided as follows:

Administrative divisions

The Odessa Oblast is administratively subdivided into 26 raions (districts) and 7 municipalities which are directly subordinate to the oblast government - (Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, Chornomorsk, Izmail, Podilsk, Teplodar, Yuzhne and the administrative center of the oblast, Odessa).

NameUkrainian nameArea
Population 2015[2]Admin.centerUrban Population Only*
OdessaОдеса (місто)1391,010,490Odessa (city)1,010,490
Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi ^Білгород-Дністровський (місто)3157,559Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi (city)57,559
ChornomorskЧорноморськ (місто)2572,553Chornomorsk (city)67,323
Izmail ^Ізмаї́л (місто)5372,266Izmail (city)72,266
PodilskПодільськ (місто)2540,613Podilsk (city)40,613
TeplodarТеплодар (місто)310,277Teplodar (city)10,277
YuzhneЮжне (місто)932,149Yuzhne (city)32,149
Ananyiv RaionАнаньївський (район)1,05026,999Ananyiv8,441
Artsyz Raion ^Арцизький (район)1,37945,274Artsyz14,886
Balta RaionБалтський (район)1,31741,666Balta18,940
Berezivka RaionБерезівський (район)1,63733,930Berezivka12,614
Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi Raion ^Білгород-Дністровський (район)1,85260,774Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi (city)N/A *
Bilyayivka RaionБіляївський (район)1,49794,083Biliaivka14,334
Bolhrad Raion ^Болградський (район)1,36469,148Bolhrad15,451
Ivanivka RaionІванівський (район)1,16226,604Ivanivka8,807
Izmail Raion ^Ізмаїльський (район)1,19451,584Izmail (city)N/A *
Kiliya Raion ^Кілійський (район)1,35852,400Kiliya28,434
Kodyma RaionКодимський (район)81829,586Kodyma11,195
Lyman RaionКомінтернівський (район)1,49971,158Dobroslav14,028
Liubashivka RaionЛюбашівський (район)1,10030,688Liubashivka10,954
Mykolaivka RaionМиколаївський (район)1,09316,127Mykolaivka2,850
Ovidiopol RaionОвідіопольський (район)82978,941Ovidiopol32,486
Okny RaionОкнянський (район)1,01320,186Okny5,338
Podilsk RaionПодільський (район)1,03727,091Podilsk (city)N/A *
Reni Raion ^Ренійський (район)86158,352Reni25,527
Rozdilna RaionРоздільнянський (район)1,36837,353Rozdilna19,003
Sarata Raion ^Саратський (район)1,47445,057Sarata4,351
Savran RaionСавранський (район)61719,083Savran6,420
Shyriaieve RaionШиряївський (район)1,50227,151Shyriaieve6,781
Tarutyne Raion ^Тарутинський (район)1,87441,603Tarutyne12,932
Tatarbunary Raion ^Татарбунарський (район)1,74838,825Tatarbunary10,988
Velyka Mykhailivka RaionВеликомихайлівський (район)1,43631,006Velyka Mykhailivka8,472
Zakharivka RaionЗахарівський (район)95620,233Zakharivka8,881
  • Note: An asterisk (^) indicates the two municipalities and nine raions which previously constituted Izmail Oblast until that former oblast's merger with Odessa Oblast on 15 February 1954; these areas lie to the west of the Dniester River, and formerly constituted the territory known as the Budjak (southern Bessarabia).
  • Note: Asterisks (*) Though the administrative center of the rayon is housed in the city/town that it is named after, cities do not answer to the rayon authorities only towns do; instead they are directly subordinated to the oblast government and therefore are not counted as part of rayon statistics.

Notable people

One of the most famous Odessits is Sergei Utochkin who was a universal sportsman excelling in cycling, boxing, swimming and played football for the Odessa British Athletic Club.[3] Utochkin had challenged a steam-powered tram while running, on a bicycle he beat a galloping horse, while on roller skates he was passing a bicyclist.[3] The next stage for him was to conquest skies.[3] Utochkin managed to buy an airplane from a local banker and completed dozens of exhibition flights.[3] Eventually, he managed to assemble his own Farman-type airplane.[3] In Kiev, Utochkin was demonstrating his piloting skills in front of some 50,000 people, among which was a future creator of helicopters Igor Sikorsky.[3]

In the Southern Palmyra were also born a poet Anna Akhmatova, former NASA scientist Nicholas E. Golovin who worked with the Apollo program, as well as the founder of jazz in the Soviet Union Leonid Utyosov.[3]

See also


  1. "President introduced new Odesa RSA Head Maksym Kutsyi". Office of the President of Ukraine. October 11, 2019. Retrieved October 14, 2019.
  2. Tell about Ukraine. Odessa Oblast. 24 Kanal (youtube).
  3. Compare in the European context Saint Petersburg, known as the "Northern Palmyra".
  4. Secrieru, Mihaela. "Republic of Moldavia – an Intermezzo on the Signing and the Ratification of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages" (PDF). Iași: "Alexandru Ioan Cuza" University of Iaşi. p. 2. Retrieved 2014-09-19. On the left shore of the River Nistru [Dniester] there was the Khanate of Ukraine and of the properties of the Polish Crown, and their inhabitants, until the end of the 18th century, were the Moldavians[.]
  5. Friesen, Leonard G. (2008). Rural Revolutions in Southern Ukraine: Peasants, Nobles, and Colonists, 1774-1905. Harvard series in Ukrainian studies. 59. Harvard University Press. p. 40. ISBN 9781932650006. Retrieved 2014-09-19. [...] the war with the Ottoman Empire [...] ended with the Treaty of Eternal Peace in December 1791, whereby the so-called Ochakiv (Ochakov) oblast was brought into the empire.
  6. Лише 3% українців хочуть приєднання їх області до Росії [Only 3% of Ukrainians want their region to become part of Russia]. Dzerkalo Tyzhnia (in Ukrainian). 3 January 2015.
  7. Navalny, Alexei (23 September 2014). Соцопрос ФБК по Харьковской и Одесской областям. Европа, Россия, Новороссия [Survey of Kharkov and Odessa Oblasts] (in Russian). navalny.com. Archived from the original on 23 September 2014.
  8. Results of the 2001 All-Ukrainian population census for the Odessa oblast
  9. "Religious preferences of the population of Ukraine". Sociology poll by Razumkov Centre, SOCIS, Rating and KIIS about the religious situation in Ukraine (2015)

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