General Information
  Odessa Guide
  Street names

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  What to do in Odessa



What to buy in Odessa; Including business directory in Odessa

What to buy, souvenirs
A warning about Ukrainian Customer Service
Customs and duty free allowances

Business Directory

Odessa's bazaars offer the visitor a eclectic mix of trinkets and souvenirs. The quality can vary greatly so always inspect the items closely. Prices in stores are fixed, but some minor haggling over the price in souvenir bazaars is possible, especially if buying more than one of an item.

Keep in mind: All Odessa businesses have a no refund policy. Some stores and vendors will exchange items.

Unless otherwise indicated all items listed here are available in gor-saud, (Deribasovskaya Park).

One of hundreds of paintings sold at Gor-saud (Горсад)

Paintings A wide variety of paintings for any person's tastes are displayed in Deribasovskaya Park. A visitor may have to have the art examined by an official before leaving the country. (See Odessa's Expert Commission, below)
Also see the section below for art galleries.

Soviet era pins A small piece of Soviet History, prices are very reasonable for these small works of art.

Embroidery Odessa is famous for its very high quality hand-woven embroidery.

Hand painted wooden boxes


Matreshka dolls
Matreshka dolls have many different themes other than the traditional painted maiden. There are matreshka dolls with past leaders of the Soviet Union, American Basketball stars, pop stars, the Beatles.
One set of matreshka dolls had all of the participants in the Clinton / Monaca Lewinsky scandal, Bill Clinton, Monica, Kenneth Star, and the smallest matreshka doll was a cigarette.


Russian English Translation program

The most comprehensive English-Russian dictionary sold

Stuart Little in Russian and Adobe Photoshop
in both Russian and English

Pirated CD's
Pirated CD's are available in the Grecheskaya Ploshat (Square)
(Греческая Площадь) . Any PC and music CD is available here, including compilations of every song an artist or group has ever made. [Not available in gor-saud, (Deribasovskaya Park)]

As of 2002, each CD costs 3 Hryvenia (less than a dollar)

Films are usually in Russian, most programs are in English and sometimes in Russian also.

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Cuban Cigars
Available at Gastranom 1

Customer Service
Odessa's tourist infrastructure has incredible potential but is still very undeveloped. Most of the monuments lack proper on-site information panels, signs, and labels. Those that are labeled are always only in Russian or Ukrainian.

Though service has gotten much better in the ten years since the fall of the Soviet Union, years of communist socialism is apparent in the mediocre customer service that many hotels and shops provide.

Another legacy of the Soviet Union is that bureaucracy and red tape is rampant in the Ukrainian government. Employees in the government and private sector often have very strict guidelines they must follow, and they rarely deviate (unless bribed) from these guidelines no matter how much common sense the minor deviation may have. A visitor to Ukraine working with the government bureaucracy quickly understands why Ukrainian people are so incredibly patient.

Why does Ukraine have such poor service?
In the former Soviet Union, employees were guaranteed a job for life. The process to fire an employee was extremely difficult.

The Soviet supply-side economy also made many everyday essential products almost impossible to find. The infamous long lines formed for many products. Cashiers, not customers had all of the power.

Hoping to win favor with the cashier or director of a shop, on major holidays customers would actually give flowers or chocolates as gifts. This was in the hope that the store would hold back certain scarce consumer goods.

If you ask any Ukrainian today about the customer service in Ukraine, they will tell you that it is much better than it was during the Soviet Union.


Customs and duty free allowances
When leaving Ukraine, you will be asked to present the customs declaration and the entry pass that you received upon entry.

Foreigners cannot leave the country with Ukrainian currency in excess of the amount declared at arrival.

Ukrainian citizens and foreigners cannot leave the country with more than $1,000.

Art and antiques
The government prohibits the export of art or antiques produced before 1945.

To export works of fine art after 1945, you will need a license. Present the work of art with two photos of the art to the Expert Commission for evaluation.

A tax of 50% the assessment value will be levied and is payable at customs.

If art is purchased from a gallery, and a receipt can be shown, no tax is levied.

Odessa's Expert Commission is located next to the literary museum, through the courtyard.

Lanzheronovskaya 2 (Ланжероновская) Room 8
Tel: 22-33-30

The expert commission works:

Monday - Thursday 11 am - 5 pm for "objects"
Wednesday - Friday 11 am - 5 pm for "Printed publications"
Wednesday 10 am- 11 am for "Musical items"
Lunch from 1 pm - 2 pm daily
Closed Saturday and Sunday.

The cost of an evaluation is 5 Hryvna.