Suvarna Garge (Editor)

Culture of Odessa

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The culture of Odessa is a unique blend of Russian, Yiddish, and Ukrainian cultures, and Odessa itself has played a notable role in Russian and Yiddish folklore.



The Russian language as spoken in Odessa is influenced by Yiddish and Ukrainian in grammar, vocabulary, and phraseology. As a result, many phrases sound inherently and uniquely humorous to Russian speakers and constitute a staple of Odessa humour. Also, the Odessa dialect of Yiddish has plenty of Russianisms.

Cultural image of Odessa

To a significant extent the image of Odessa in Russophone culture is influenced by The Odessa Tales of Isaak Babel. Odessa is often referred to by the collocation "Odessa Mama" (Mom Odessa), a term that originated in Russian criminal (blatnoy) subculture. The reputation of the city as a criminal center originated in Imperial Russian times and the early Soviet era, and is similar to the reputation of Al Capone era Chicago.

Odessa humor

Odessa humor is a notable part of both Jewish humor and Russian humor.

Since 1972 Odessa has been hosting the annual festival of humor, Humorina. For this and other reasons Odessa was known as the "capital of humor" in the Soviet Union.

"Odessa Mama"

Many places in Odessa are memorable not only for their intrinsic cultural value, but also for their place in Odessa folklore.

  • Duc de Richelieu monument
  • Deribasivska Street
  • Moldovanka
  • Odessa Catacombs
  • Potemkin Stairs
  • Primorsky Boulevard
  • Privoz Market
  • References

    Culture of Odessa Wikipedia

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