Odessa's new parks lead a blossoming of urban regeneration

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Ukraine’s third city is home to sights including the Potemkin Steps. Now the port’s glorious past is taking centre stage with its Istanbul and Greek gardens

Looking like a living Liberty print, Odessa’s new promenade park spills over with blossoming flower beds, picnics and couples waltzing in the shade. Tantalising slivers of the Black Sea appear through the trees and salty sea breezes wash over it all. This park is the first completed stage of the regeneration of the gardens surrounding the city’s iconic Potemkin Steps, made famous by the director Sergei Eisenstein in his silent 1925 film Battleship Potemkin. In the film, the Tsar’s Cossacks fire at civilians and, in the most famous scene, a pram goes tumbling down the 192 steps that lead down to Odessa’s docks.

Now, the steps form the architectural landmark of the city, as well as acting as a centrepoint between two new gardens. The Istanbul garden is complete, with its Turkish fountain and portrait artists, while the Greek garden, promising to highlight local archaeological finds, remains under construction.

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