All three cities offer impressive architectural delights. But for opera and ballet enthusiasts the visit of Lviv (Lemberg) and Odessa is a MUST!
One of Europe’s most beautiful Opera Gems:
The Lviv National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet of Solomiya Krushelnyts’ka
The most beautiful city of Ukraine, the old town of Lemberg, today called Lviv, was listed as UNESCO World Heritage site with 200 architectural masterpieces. The gorgeous façade of the Lemberg Opera and Ballet Theatre reminds of the Opera houses of Paris and Vienna. Built in neo-renaissance style by the Polish architect Zygmunt Gorgolewski between 1897 and 1900, it also impresses with its magnificent interior design, the mirror hall and the Parnassus curtain.
Ukraine’s oldest Musical Theatre:
Shevchenko National Opera House of Ukraine in Kiev
After the big fire in 1896, the opera house reopened in 1901, the exterior designed in Neo-Renaissance style by Victor Schröter and in a classical style, called Viennese Modern, on the interior. The architect’s greatest achievement however was the stage – one of the largest in Europe, perfect for both actors and spectators and built to the latest standards of engineering at the time and alongside the Moscow and Saint Petersburg theatres, one of the Russian Empire’s best. Renovated during the 1980s the opera can accommodate up to 1650 guests, its interior shines in shades of bronze, marble and gold-plated carvings. Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, was a centre of trade between the Orient and Western Europe during the middle ages and its magic is due to its superb setting along the banks of the river Dnepr in midst of green hills and beautiful parks.
Unique in Europe:
White Opera House overlooking Black Sea in Odessa!
The crown jewel, however, is the white gem on the black sea: the Odessa National Academic Opera and Ballet Theater! Called one of the most beautiful theatres of the world, this baroque-style opera house is also a splendid architectural landmark, built between 1883 and 1887 by the world famous Viennese architects Fellner & Helmer. With its gorgeous terraced gardens it dominates the cultural centre of this once bountiful seaport and trading town, and it sits highly above the Black Sea: What a spectacular location – surely one of a kind in all of Europe!
Divas, ballerinas and great tenors have roamed this theatre’s stage – Anna Pavlova, Enrico Caruso, Sarah Bernhardt are part of the legend. And still today the performances at Odessa’s opera house leave nothing to be desired!
Largely untouched by World War II, the charming 19th century city of Odessa was established and built by Catherine the Great. Among the architectural masterpieces the second outstanding landmark and best known symbol of Odessa needs to be mentioned: The Potemkin Stairs. This formal entrance to the city from the direction of the sea was created as an optical illusion. Looking down the stairs one will only see the landings and the way does not seem to be very long, but looking up one will only see the 192 steps and they seem to be longer than they are – another false perspective created by building the stairs wider at the bottom than at the top. These steps formed the backdrop for the worker’s rebellion of 1905, the seed of the Communist Revolution, which was immortalized by Sergei Eisenstein’s silent movie “The Battleship Potemkin” in 1925.
Quite a lot of the 19th century masterpieces are renovated today and attract visitors from all over the world, but the Ukrainian capital Kiev is far away and so, not surprisingly, Odessa’s city life still features some post-Soviet attributes in local restaurants and shops – nevertheless charming though and combined with great effort to become more and more international. The five star Bristol Hotel Odessa, a former grand hotel, is a perfect example for Odessa’s success in reinvigorating the soul of affluent bygone times.
An unforgettable experience awaits – Join us on this once in a lifetime trip!
Tickets can be purchased as part of package deal.
For more information, visit www.arte-reisen.com/ukraine.html
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