The Past and the Present
This is a typical housing block in Odessa, these are Soviet-era apartment buildings. This particular building was built in 1967, it seems older because of the spartan construction and that they were not all that well maintained over the years. This building had newly painted walls in the stairwells, the security doors work and the lights in the stairwells weren't burned-out, and it isn't leaking water or sewage, so it is in much better shape than many others! The city is trying to replace these aging relects to socialism, but it will be a long process because many of the owners of these apartments can't afford new one's and would rather stay in these, albeit they usually stink, either from sewage or mold and/or mildew, and are falling apart. Many of the owners enclose the balconies to help with keeping the apartment warm in winter. Most of these apartments have newer, insulated, euro-windows, but the buildings are still drafty and chilly. Most have central, hot water heat, that is not reliable, the radiators rarely get too hot to touch. Since this is also the hot water supply for the apartment, many have auxilliary hot water heaters because the hot water is usually not hot enough to bathe or wash with. Also electric and telephone service is often interrupted, sometimes for days. Ukraine's modest capitalist expansion was too much for the Soviet-era infrastructure to handle and is straining it to the max. I have a very difficult time calling to Ukraine, and when I succeed in getting through, the connection is usually very poor. Many newer apartments and hotels have their own water pumps and back-up generators for service outages. The more prestigious hotels in Odessa have these, (Londonskaya, Mozart, Kempinsky, etc.) and some apartments for tourists to let. If you rent an apartment, try to find out if they have their own back-ups in case the power or water are interrupted. Some times it may be days before they are back on-line.