Odessa Things to Do

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Most Recent Things to Do in Odessa

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    Visiting the City Zoo

    by hunterV Updated Jul 10, 2014

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    City Zoo
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    Visit the city Zoo that is not far from the railway station.
    The Zoo was founded in 1922. You can see lots of animals and birds from all continents there.
    There is also an aquarium representing the fish population of the underwater realm.

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    Exploring Downtown Odessa

    by hunterV Updated Jul 10, 2014

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    Pushkin Street, Odessa
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    Browsing the streets in downtown Odessa don't miss walking along Pushkin Street.
    If you take a look at downtown Odessa from above, you will be surprised to find out it represents almost an ideal chess-board.
    Picture #2: Philharmonic Society in Pushkin Street;
    Pictures 3,4 and 5: Don't miss Deribas Street and the City Park.
    You can relax at the bench next to Leonid Utiossov in Deribas Street and have your photo taken. This monument is very popular with the residents and visitors of Odessa. The plaque at the foot of the monument reads, To Leonid Utiossov from the thankful Odessa. Leonid Utiossov (1895-1982) was a famous Soviet singer and actor. He was born in Odessa in the family of Weissbein, an impoverished Jewish family. He made his career using his talent for music.

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    Singer Utyosov - in bronze and not

    by Muscovite Updated Apr 1, 2014

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    Utyosov in Deribasovskaya street, since year 2000
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    Take Frank Sinatra, blend with Louis Armstrong, add a good deal of Glenn Miller and spray with Charlie Chaplin – you still won’t have the slightest idea of Leonid Utyosov’s fame here. Here – I mean what used to be the old USSR, ‘the evil empire’, that is.

    In 1920s he set up the very successful Thea-Jazz Orchestra, in 1930s he starred in ‘Jolly Fellows’ (Silver Lion in Venice 1934 – best director, best original music) - those Odessa folks are very enterprising. In the war time – it will long be THE war here – Utyosov is a household name for each and every one, especially as there was not much of a household to speak of on the average.

    He survived, and even thrived in spite of the infamous anti-Semitism of 1950s (Leonid Utyosov was born as Leyzer Weissbein) to become the patriarch of the old-school ‘heart-warming chanson’ in 1970s and ended his days quietly in 1982 in Moscow where he rests in the Novodevichy cemetery, not far from his fellow musician, composer Nikita Bogoslovsky - see him by the piano, both well into their 80s.

    P.S. The first song in this collection is Odessa’s inofficial anthem: ‘My Black Sea Dreamland’
    (The official song comes from 'White Acacia' musicle and with all respect not half as much Odessa-like)

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    Vorontsov Monument...

    by arturowan Updated Feb 21, 2014

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    The bronze statue of prince Mikhail Semenovich Vorontsov, is 1 of the many monuments to be found along central Preobrazhenskaya 0olitsa...
    It's an imposing statue, & rumour has it that when the Bolsheviks were razing the original cathedral, which gives the square its name, they tried to topple the prince, but the chain attached to the tractor kept breaking...
    Mounted on Crimean diorite, the prince's likeness was cast in Germany, & today looks upon uptown Preobrazhenskaya, probably the busiest area in all 0dessa, as if still in regal command of the city...
    Even in death, the massive monument defeated the Bolsheviks, so they had to rename Sabornaya Ploshchat, Soviet Army Square, with 0dessa's former resident, who died in the city in 1856, the same year as having attained the rank of General Field Marshall, still standing tall over it...
    The monument was inaugurated before a mass gathering of 0dessans, on 9th November 1863
    (...It's said that while Pushkin took his extended stay in 0dessa, he had an affair with Vorontsov's wife, but whatever the truth, the 2 men are reputed not to have been on friendly terms...)

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    Privoz Rinok...

    by arturowan Updated Feb 11, 2014

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    As 0dessa's famous Privoz Market is all about buying wares, this might be regarded as a 'shopping' tip, but if you've been there, you'll know that the site is an experience beyond simple shopping...
    If you know the city, than Privoz is what the real 0dessa is all about, because the vision for the new port was a place of multi-lingual trade, & in the dirty downtown of the metropolis is where it all still happens...
    Privoz ain't a pretty place, like much of the downtown, having grown up in response to demand, in a higgledy-piggledy fashion, but it wasn't meant to be for sightseeing; & its almost ceasless hustle & bustle might be considered the true heart of 0dessa...
    Privoz is a derivation of the verb; 'privozit' - meaning to bring by transport, & this describes the nature of the market, because it's open to all-comers who wish to bear their wares & be a part of the hectic, noisy scene of uninhibited commerce...
    0riginally a traditional farmers market, goods were carted into Privoznaya Street by horses & sold within the square, from 1827
    Just whatever did the Bolsheviks made of the place, when they arrived 90 years later?
    They must have shuddered at its existence, representing as it does the epitome of cash-in-hand free trade, that was the central anathema to communism...
    0dessa, even in Soviet times, had a reputation for bucking the system, & it's difficult to believe that totalitarian control from Moscow was ever quite enough to completely close Privoz...
    It was still selling fruit & vegetables in the 1940's, because there is an anecdote about Murza, an elephant from 0dessa zoopark, escaping capture while being sent to Simferopol, & stopping at Privoz to sample the fare!
    Primorskiy, Deribasovskaya, & the posh opera house might be the city's selling points to tourists, but the truth is, the original vision for 0dessa was as a centre of international trade...
    Today, the market sells much more than greengrocery, with stalls for meat & fish, as well as all other groceries, not to mention traders selling just about anything under the sun...
    Privoz is a bewilderingly busy place, more like an eastern bazaar, than European farmers market, & some vendors will allow haggling over prices...
    Pickpockets are said to be legion, & not all the wares are 'kosha' - (see my 'warning & danger' - 'counterfeit city' & '1 big hookey street?')

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    Shevchenko Park...

    by arturowan Updated Feb 7, 2014

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    0dessa, akin with many Russian-speaking cities, has its own park dedicated to the poet, writer, & artist, T.G.Shevchenko...
    Taras Shevchenko is something of an icon of Russian & Ukrainian culture, because not only did he compose in both languages, he died tragically young, aged just 47
    The park was originally dedicated to emperor Aleksandr II & was founded in 1840 - within the lifetime of Shevchenko, so perhaps he visited, though he never lived in 0dessa...
    0strovskiy, Gogol, Dostoyevskiy, Chekov, Zhukovskiy, & Akhmatova, are all said to have strolled within its boundaries, & Pushkin held meetings here...
    It was renamed after Shevchenko, whom some regard as founder of modern Ukrainian language, in 1954 - a sign of national resurgence, a year after the death of Stalin, (who bore a known grudge against Russia's neighbour with its own tongue...)
    Shevchenko Park has ordered flowerbeds towards the seafront boundary, & is densely wooded, where packs of homeless dogs, & no doubt some people, find daily shelter...
    I discovered the park on my second visit to 0dessa in 2007 - having been stunned from my first acquaintance at how 'un-soviet' this resort appeared, but Shevchenko Park was just what I expected froma relic of the former Soviet Union...
    It's a huge area, 700x900m obviously designed by an architect who liked using setsquare & ruler, with parallel lines & right angles of grey stone & concrete...
    It's not beautiful as such, muddy & overgrown on the outskirts, with discarde hyperdermic syringes, but overall an impressive sight, especially at the far end, where the land plunges away towards the sea...
    Right at the edge, stands a 21m high obelisk in red granite, erected as the monument to the Unknown Sailor, where burns an eternal flame...
    At the time I visited in November, there was the annual remembrance festival being held at the Walk 0f Fame, which leads away from the towering central obelisk...
    Here, in individual & mass graves, lay those pilots, guards, & mariners, who gave their lives defending the city during its occupation, 1940-44
    There is another monument to the heroes of Afghanistan, & Partisans from the city's occupation, are also buried here...
    Local schoolchildren enrolled in the sea cadets, are still expected to parade past these monuments, which occurs on a daily basis...
    When I visited, the park appeared bleak & neglected, & the 'green (summer) theatre', is now in ruins, but apparently it does receive occasional crowds, not least when there's a match at the Chernomoretz Football Stadium, located next to park...

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    Learn Russian in 0dessa...

    by arturowan Updated Feb 6, 2014

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    Walk down any street in central 0dessa, & you're sure to see at least 1 billposting or noticeboard advertising English lessons...
    Learning English is a booming service in Ukraine, mainly because so many local folk have given up on the country's car crash economy & political bickering, so are planning their futures overseas...
    So popular is the study of English in 0dessa, that teachers of American & Canadian origin, now live & work in the city on a permanent basis - something of an irony, but then 0dessa is nothing if not full of irony...
    These teachers have graduated in Russian, & in their own countries, this is the language they'd be teaching, & courses of 1to1 tuition, are available to visiting non-Russians, who desire to learn this international language...
    Look out for the language institutions in the city, flying Union Jack or American flags, outside their premises - this is where the ex-pat tutors are, & if they do assign you to a local teacher, it will be 1 who is fluent in English, as well their native 'yizik' - important, because not all the enterprising tutors understand colloquial variations of their second language...

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    Unbiblical Babel

    by Muscovite Written Jan 29, 2014

    Just read about Odessa compared with the biblical Babel. It had its own unbiblical Babel, too.
    Writer Isaac Babel was born in the Moldavanka – a ‘low-income/high-crime’ Odessa district. By the time of his death he had a house in Peredelkino, the prestigious country-style writers’ neighbourhood not far from Moscow, but wished he did not, as he was taken to prison and grave from there.
    See good old Wiki for more info.
    His daughter Natalia Brown had seen to it that all Babels’s works were translated English and published in the USA.
    I found a vintage (year 1926!) black-and-white silent film based on Babel’s ‘Odessa stories’. Enjoy.

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    Port 0dessa...

    by arturowan Updated Jan 18, 2014

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    The port in Soviet times...
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    With so much to see & do in 0dessa city, you might forget that the location also happens to be the busiest port on the Black Sea...
    "The port is itself an existence of 0dessa..."
    So said Count A Lanzheron, whose name is remembered on Lanzheronskaya 0olitsa...
    In fact, you could while away an entire vacation, just observing the activity at this fascinating interface of trade & industry, that is the Sea Gate, as locals know it...
    The port's architecture is dominated by the tower block Hotel 0dessa, which stands out to see on its own quay, & is best seen after dark, when the letters on the roof, spelling the name, glow red...
    Large red letters also announce the entrance to the passenger terminal built in front of the hotel - MORS'KIY VOKSAL
    British, American, German, Italian, Norwegian, & Greek cruise vessels use the passenger port...
    Both buildings are to be found on the seafront below the Potyomkin Steps, & this is the best place for a panoramic view of the port...
    In 0dessa you're never far from a place of worship, & even at the port, in the newly built area around the yacht complex, there is a church especially for mariners, dedicated to their patron Saint Nicholas...
    Also, typical of 0dessa, there is a special sculpture at the entrance of the sea terminal, intricately cast in bronze, depicting a so-called; Golden Child...
    Being born from out of an egg, rather peculiarly, & quite an extraordinary piece it is, though I prefer Aleksandr Tokarev's gently oberved, dockside mounted; Monument to Sailor's Wife...
    The Maritime Art Gallery can also be found here, specialising in sculpture, paintings, & graphic art, depicting this theme...
    Logistics activity at the port involves all forms of transport, both passenger & container ship; as well as a refinery for tankers...
    The refinery area has 6 separate berths, which can accomodate tankers from 1000 to 100 000 tons, with direct pipelines to the rail depot...
    0dessa Port even has its own shipyard, with dry dock, for repairs & servicing of vessels, & a training school to prepare the next generation of maritime workers...
    If you've ever visited Felixstowe or Harwich in England, then Port 0dessa is like both combined on the same stretch of peninsula - awesome!

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    Transfiguration Cathedral...

    by arturowan Updated Jan 18, 2014

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    I was not going to write a separate article about 0dessa's central place of worship - the magnificent cathedral which gives 'Preobrazhenskaya 0olitsa' its name ( - Transfiguration Street - see separate tip...)
    However, having spent my last 3 trips staying just opposite this iconic centre of the city, I was amazed to discover subsequently, that the cathedral is only 15 years old!
    I suppose I should have been more aware of this, considering what unspoilt condition the structure is in, compared to the rest of the city, but I thought it was just well looked after!
    The photo shows the huge bell, beford it was mounted in the belltower...
    Cathedral square was originally marked out as the centre of the new port town, in 1794 - construction of the main structure opened to the public in 1808 - with extensions included in 1825 & 1837
    The area around the cathedral - 'Sabornaya Ploshchat', became the burial place of prominent 0dessites, & other public figures, including the Ukrainian actress, Vera Kholodnaya...
    Due to the elitist reputation of the cathedral & its surrounding square, the Bolsheviks took extreme exception to it, & dismantled the entire structure down to foundation level in 1936
    Stalin himself is said to have ordered the razing of the building, & subsequent disinterring of those buried on the site, without allowing their remains to be put to rest elsewhere...
    To add insult to actual injury, not only was Transfiguration Square re-named Red Army Square, but a public convenience was deliberately sited where the cathedral altar had been located!
    'Preobrazhenskaya Sabor', was rebuilt in 1999 & consecrated in 2003 - the remains of original 0dessa Governor, Vorontsov, & his wife, (to whom stands a statue at the corner of the square, which proved omenously resistant to the Bolshevik demolition crew), were interred inside...
    Today, the largest 0rthodox place of worship in 0dessa, is arguably the most iconic building in the city, its white & ochre walls standing incredibly pristine, beside the busiest, nosiest street through the middle of the metropolis...
    It is perhaps best seen after dark, when lit from outside, it looks truly magical during damp, hazy, wintry nights, glowing like a shrine in the dim gloom (0dessa does not have street lighting...)
    I make a point of reciting the history of this iconic centre of the city, because there remain academic apologists for the Bolsheviks, who claim that all what they did was justified in order to found a new social order...
    However, what happened on this site in 0dessa, is just 1 of countless examples across the Soviet Union, of spiteful vandalism & blatant disregard for even the remains of dead folk, & though I'm not religious myself, I do not comprehend how what violence was done here, can ever be justified for the sake of a political vision...

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    Steps incorporating old 0dessa coat-of-arms...

    by arturowan Written Dec 10, 2013

    If you take a turning off of the end of Primorskiy Boulevard, into Chaikovskiy Passage, you will find a set of stone steps, lined by black railings, which are pertinent to the history of 0dessa...
    Incorporated into the castings, designed by Y.Uskat', is the city coat-of-arms, highlighted in gold enamel against the black mounting...
    The official 0dessa coat-of-arms, was a silver anchor on a red field, under a black double eagle, with 3 crowns & a Maltese cross, embellished in gold ornamentation...
    The Maltese cross was then deleted after the killing of King Pavel 1st, in 1801
    The double eagle device was replaced by the Bolsheviks, with an image of the mutinous Battleship Prince Potyomkin-Tavricheskiy & a Hero Star, in 1917
    The coat-of-arms was given a graphic makeover & simplified into just a 4 bladed grapnel anchor, in 1993
    The anchor represents the maritime identity of the city, with 4 flukes (points) each representing 1 of the 4 official languages when the port was founded in 1805
    I make a point of stressing this, because I cannot overcome my cynicism at some local folk I met in the city during my visits, who believed the old Soviet propaganda that Russian is the best language in the world, & every educated nation knows it!
    Contrary to this arrogant xenophobia, the founders of 0dessa were decades ahead of their time in attempting, & in their own era, succeeding, in founding a multi-cultural trading place, which accepted 4 languages of intercourse; French; Italian; Greek; & Russian...
    It would seem then, that many modern 0dessans are ignorant of what their own city's coat-of-arms represent, which is pertinent to any traveller - acceptance of more than culture/language...

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    Music Comedy Theatre...

    by arturowan Written Dec 9, 2013

    If you want a memorable night out in uptown 0dessa, I cannot think of a better venue to recommend than the Music Comedy Theatre...
    When I think back to my first trip to the city in 2005 - the great highlight was seeing the operetta here - being beside a live orchestra with the performers seemingly within touching distance, is an experience you'll never forget...
    0peretta might not be your thing, or so you might think, but I love it; even if the plots are a cliche of soprano torn to chose between a smitten, but penniless tenor, her own age, or a wealthy older baritone, who offers security; it's great entertainment at a ridicuously low price...
    Not only does the theatre provide operetta, but also plays, mostly Russian, but some you'll have heard of, such as a translated version of Agatha Christie's - The Mousetrap...
    0n both my trips to this theatre, I was supposed to be escorting a babooshka, (don't ask how this came about - it's a long story) - never mind the fact that I was a stranger to the city & did not have a clue how to find the way, let alone speak Russian...
    All I knew about the play we were going to see, was that it was supposed to be about male strippers!
    I'd no idea what was in store, but as it turned out, although I could not understand the words, I already knew the story - it was a Russian vewrsion of The Full Monty!

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    Monument to General Malinovskiy...

    by arturowan Written Dec 7, 2013

    0dessa is a city of monuments, in eclectic styles, but no so many in the form that I regard to be 'iconic Soviet'...
    The most obvious 1 that is, is of the 0dessan general who returned to his hometown to liberate it front Nazi occupation, in 1944
    General Rodion Yakovlevich Malinovskiy, was born in the city on 23rd November 1898
    He lost his father as a child & was made homeless at 13 when his mother's new husband rejected him, causing him to develop a tenacious will for survival, before returning to 0dessa to take shelter with an aunt...
    He went to WWI while aged only 15 & earnt the Cross of Saint George, then was promoted to Corporal, before being wounding & spending several months in hospital...
    He was returned to the frontline in 1916, soon being promoted to Sergeant, before again receiving serious wounds, which had him decorated, this time by the French army, with whom he was serving...
    As a result of the Bolshevik revolution, the Russian effort on the battlefront had disbanded, but those who chose to fight on, did so as members of the French Foreign Legion, with whom Malinovskiy received the Croix de Guerre...
    0n his return to 0dessa in 1919, he joined the Red Army & commenced the bitter fighting with the White Army in Siberia, for supremacy in the Russian Civil War...
    When the Bolsheviks proved triumphant, Malinovskiy stayed in the army as a student, in 1926 joining the Communist Party, indicating his ambition to ascend the military ranks...
    After a further 3 years studying at the Frunze Military Academy, Malinkovskiy graduated to become a Chief of Staff...
    In 1936 he joined the Republicans in the fight against Franco's fascists, returning to Moscow to receive the 0rder of Lenin & 0rder of the Red Banner...
    Malinovskiy had already been deployed to the western front & promoted to General-Major, in anticipation of Hitler's 0peration Barbarossa...
    Despite putting up a heated fight against the invaders, Stalin is known to have mistrusted Malinovskiy & personally had him sent to Stalingrad, with orders that he be kept under scrutiny...
    With the turn of the battle tide in favour of the Russians after Stalingrad, impressions of Malinovskiy improved & Stalin promoted him to Colonel General...
    From the end of 1943, he was in charge of liberating southern Ukraine from the aggressors, in the process retaking Kherson, Nikolaev, & 0dessa, for the Red Army...
    He continued the push against the Axis armies, into Romania & the Balkans, earning him to be bestowed the Red Army's highest honour by Stalin, the 0rder of Hero of the Soviet Union...
    During the Cold war, under Krushchev, Malinovskiy served as Commander-in-Chief of Soviet Ground Forces, meaning he would have been in control of the entire warsaw pact armies, had the period turned hostile...
    The Cuban Missile Crisis is said to have turned Malinovskiy against the policies of Krushchev, causing him to support the coup against the Soviet leader in 0ctober 1964
    Malinkovskiy was active in shaping Soviet Cold War policy, from then, until his death on 31st March 1967
    His imposing bust is mounted on a red granite plinth in uptown 0dessa, & is as Soviet a monument as any you will witness, replete with his many medals, cast into his bronze likeness...

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    'Mother-in-law's Bridge'...

    by arturowan Updated Nov 22, 2013

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    When I was in 0dessa in 2009, there was a peculiar news item in regard to the Tyoshchin Most (Mother-in-law's Bridge), a pedestrian metal footway that crosses the Voyenniy Spoosk (Military Descent), towards the port...
    City officials had decided that the dead weight of metal, owing to 1000's of padlocks secured to the railings, might damage the structure of the bridge!
    Much to the dismay of the loving couples, who over the years had placed the padlocks on the bridge, with their names inscribed as a symbol of their union, the padlocks were to be removed...
    The bridge was built in 1969 at the request of chairman of the party committee, Mikhail Sinitsa, whose mother-in-law lived on the opposite side of the city, divided by the Military Descent road into the port area...
    Local rumour has it that he so loved her pancakes, he used his influence to spend public funds upon a convenient crossing across the seafront gorge of the city, in order to save himself an awkward journey...
    The original plan for the crossing, was an ornate design, that was rejected on grounds of expense, the subsequent design being a functional metal girder span, with paving & street lamps...
    Supposedly, the bridge sways in the wind, the movement of which has been alikened to the wagging of a mother-in-law's tongue, which some also claim to be why it's called 'tyoshchin'...
    Yet another variation around the folklore of the bridge, is that men tormented by their mother-in-laws, used it to commit suicide from; & indeed, the railings were raised, in order to prevent this happening...
    0riginally painted white, the girders & railings look weathered today, but despite official disapproval, it remains a part of 0dessa's recent traditions, that wedded couples stop here, in order to seal their marriage with a padlock placed upon the structure...

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    Fine Arts Museum...

    by arturowan Written Nov 22, 2013

    The Fine Arts Museum is worth visiting just for the stunning building in which it's housed - the former palace of Count Pototsky...
    6 Greek columns support the main entrance into this impressive, buff-coloured palace, surrounded by classical grounds...
    The high ceilings are lavishly decorated, rare timbers have been used in the parquet floors, & marble mantelpieces line the picture-hung walls...
    The collection of paintings began with an assortment of oil paintings donated from Saint Petersburg Academy of Arts...
    Today, 26 rooms are filled with framed works by such artists as; Aivazovsky; Repin; Vrubel; Serov; Savrasov; Kremskoy...
    The museum is renowned for its modern collection of; Rorich; Benz; Somov; Serebriakova; Kandinsky...
    As well as traditional fine art, the museum includes sculptures, ceramics, & costume sketches from the theatre & opera, & Soviet-era propaganda graphics...
    Beneath the exhibition floors is a grotto, where classical music is performed...

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