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"Lenin" (Kulikovo Pole) Square & Second-hand book bazaar

Kulikovo Pole Square (Куликово поле Площадь)
Formerly named October Revolution Square during the Soviet Union.

Located right next to the railway station, to the East, reached from the railway station by the underground walkway.

This square is the biggest in the city, covering 10.5 hectares (26 acres).

Numerous Blue Tien-Shan firs decorate this square. A lane of trees had been planted by representatives of Odessa's twin towns, other communist countries, and cities throughout the former Soviet Union. It is a pedestrian only park.

Huge clusters of street lamps on towering poles flank the park in a semicircle.


Monumental building constructed in 1958

In 1958 a monumental building was built for the communist party members of Odessa. Today it is the:

Federation of Trade Unions
of the Odessa Region
and the Social Security for
Temporary Inability to Work Organization.
Odessa Regional Department.
Executive Directorate.


Second-hand book bazaar in Kulikovo Pole Square, "Lenin Park"
On the north side of the park, near the train station McDonalds

Running along the sidewalk a couple of dozen entrepreneurs have created a second-hand book bazaar. Occasionally good picture books and more seldom, English books can be found here.


Lenin Statue on Kulikovo Pole Square (Куликово поле Площадь)
To match the imposing building on the square, On October 30, 1967, the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Soviet Revolution, a mammoth statue of Lenin was unveiled. It is made of granite and stands 10 meters (32.8 feet) tall, with the figure of Lenin being 6 meters (19.6 feet). It was sculpted by Malvey and Otto Manizer. Replicas of this statue can be found throughout the Soviet Union.

It is the site of the occasional communist demonstrations, groups of pensioners who are nostalgic for the security and stability of the past.

The site was once called Kulikov field, a wasteland used by the army for soldiers' training. In the early 19th century Odessa's first prison was built here, and the square began to be named "prison square". Many revolutionaries before the Soviet Revolution were held in the prison. Two revolutionaries, S. Khalturin and N. Jelvakov were hanged in the prison on March 22, 1882, and then were secretly buried on prison square.


Revolutionary Memorial on Kulikovo Pole Square
In January 1918, Prison square was the site of strong fighting during the Soviet revolution. On January 30th the Soviets (reds) captured the railway station and severed the retreat of the nationalist from the city, forcing them to surrendered. On February 4th, 1918 a funeral was given for the 117 revolutionaries who were killed in the fighting on the square.

A memorial for these 117 revolutionaries is located on the east side of Kulikovo Pole Square. It is a large cube of black labradorite (feldspar) on a marble pedestal with a wreath of oak leaves cast in bronze on the top.

 

The inscription reads:

To the fighters who have perished in the
battle for power of the Soviets in Odessa

 

 

On the north side the inscription reads:

From Odessa's working people, 1960

Fantasies of an Insane Confectioner
Looking at the bizarre architectural creations of the Stalin Era, their mammoth size, overabundance of decorative elements, you get a feeling you are looking at a cross between a Babylonian ziggurat and an enormously huge cake.

These edifices reflected the very spirit of the totalitarian regimes. Standing close to these monstrous architectural creation, you feel dwarfed by gigantic columns, huge statues of the heroes of the totalitarian myths, flamboyant moldings, you feel your insignificance, you feel oppressed and belittled by the might and power that created these edifices. The idea was to dwarf and belittle, the individual meant little, and the state was all-important.

In the late thirties, Stalin's court architects worked out plans of "total reconstruction of Soviet cities", with Moscow "to be completely renovated" first. In Odessa, this involved the destruction of the cathedral on Cathedral Square.

Totalitarian art was marked by some features which make it a fascinating study: there were rules which prescribed what size the monument of Lenin should be depending on the importance of the place the monument was to be erected at, and varied from stupendous giants in big cities to small, mass produced clones in villages.

A great number of artists specialized in producing official art which included not only the portrayal of the leaders but also mythological monuments: muscled workers in overalls; happy, ruddy and smiling farmers, valiant soldiers, well-fed children with idiotic smiles on their thoughtless faces. The yard of practically every school was decorated with a statue of a young Leninist pioneer blowing a horn, or reading a book.

Almost every park in the Soviet Union, whose territory extended over one sixth of the globes land, had a sculpture of an athlete with an oar--usually a robust woman made of white plaster which, probably, was meant to symbolize the excellent health and athletic aspirations of the Soviet people.

In a wave of democratic exuberance and excess, the Eastern European people pulled down thousands of monuments of the leaders and other symbols of totalitarianism. Some of them should have been left. They are part of Ukraine's history, no matter what kind of history it was. Looking back in reflection, the Soviets destroyed such priceless monuments of Odessa as the Katherine the Great (which now stands the Potemkin sailor monument) and blew up the Cathedral on Cathedral Square. If Ukrainians today destroy such monuments as the Lenin statue in Kulikovo Pole Square, won't history judge those who destroy monuments today just as harshly as those who destroyed monuments 70 years ago? Would Ukrainians have learned anything from their country's dark history?

-- developed from " Fantasies of an Insane Confectioner", Andry Hlazovy, Welcome to Ukraine Magazine

Excellent examples of Soviet era statues in Odessa can be found at:


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Monument in Tomas park
Small park north of Kulikovo Pole Square
The inscription on this plaque reads:

Mihaly Dmitrievich Tomas 1833-1929

Member of the Communist Party from 1905
Participant in three Russian Revolutions
Organizer and the leader of the regiments
of Workers' Red Guards

On the side of the monument are the two dates of the revolution, 1905 and 1917.


Golden Calf (золотой теленок)
Italyansky Blvd. 11 (Итальянский Бульвар)
This defunct restaurant has a symbol from the Ilya I'lf and Yevgeny Petrov's book and film "The Little Golden Calf ", written in 1930 and translated in 1931.

The Little Golden Calf (1931), is a sequel to The Twelve Chairs. It resurrects Ostap Bender with a tell-tale scar across his throat. Bender chases after a Soviet multi-millionaire, hoping to relieve him of at least one of his millions. Bender gets his money, but the only thing he manages to keep after a customs inspection is a medal, the Order of the Golden Fleece (or Golden Calf). Although humor in The Golden Calf was clearly propagandistic in tone, and its worldview was not so bleak, the Soviet officials viewed the story with suspicion. It was published after Maksim Gorky's personal intervention.

(Click here for more on authors I'lf and Petrov's see "The Soviet famous "12 chairs" novel and movie" box)


Memorial plaque on government building (plaque on building below)
Kanatnaya 87 (Канатная)
Across the street from Kulikovo Pole Square (Куликово поле Площадь)

On Pirogovskaya (Пироговская) the roof of this colossus structure is decorated with Soviet emblems.


There is a memorial plaque with a distinguished looking man who has dozens of metals of his shirt. The memorial below states:

Marshal of the Soviet Union, four times Hero of the Soviet Union
G. K. Zjukov from 3rd June 1946 to 4th February 1948
was in command of the troops of Odessa Military Region.

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