Relatively new as European cities go, Odessa was founded in 1794 by Catherine the Great, and became an important commercial and cultural center, and the Black Sea's greatest seaport. Two famous sites claim the interests of most visitors: The neo-baroque Odessa Opera and Ballet Theater is considered one of the world's finest opera houses, with unique acoustics in its luxurious rococo hall, that allow even a whisper from the stage to be heard in every corner. The Odessa Steps were the set for an iconic scene in motion picture history, in a scene from the Battleship Potemkin, where hundreds of citizens were killed on the great stone steps.
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