The Odessa Catacombs are a network of tunnels under Odessa, Ukraine and its surrounding region, that are mostly the result of stone mining, at first, and then smuggling. The Catacombs are on three levels and reach a depth of 60 metres below sea level.
In the 19th-century, most houses in Odessa were built of stone that was mined nearby. These mines were abandoned and later used, and widened, by local smugglers, creating a labyrinth of underground tunnels beneath Odessa.
The approximate topography of the Odessa underground labyrinth is unknown. The catacombs have not been fully mapped. Most (95–97%) of the catacombs are former sandstone multilevel mines, from which stone was extracted to construct the city above. The remaining catacombs (3-5%) are either natural cavities or were excavated for other purposes such as sewerage. As of 2012, there are more than 1000 known entrances to the tunnels.
Only one small portion of the catacombs is open to the public, within the "Museum of Partisan Glory" north of Odessa. During World War II the catacombs served as a hiding places for Soviet partisans, in particular the squad of V.A. Molodtsev. In his work The Waves of The Black Sea, Valentin Kataev described the battle between Soviet partisans against fascist invaders, underneath Odessa and its nearby suburb Usatovo. In her book "Life from Stone", Sofiya de Havilland describes the catacombs and the part it played during WWII with the partisans' use of it in their guerilla warfare. In 1961 the "Search" (Poisk) club was created in order to explore the history of partisan movement among the catacombs. Since its creation, it has expanded understanding of the catacombs, and provided information to expand mapping of the tunnels. (wikipedia)
the laundry facilities-
an underground school -
two underground memorials for the victims of the war---
When we got back from the caves/catacombs- we found Iryna waiting with strawberries to go with the birthday "champagne" we had purchased in Moldova- and then the hotel delivered cake and fruit and more sparkling wine (prosecco) for Phil's birthday... so we had a feast!
the cake was so amazingly good we each had a second piece and then the birthday boy celebrated with a third- but still we barely made a dent in it...so we had it for dessert after dinner and again the next day!
later we headed to a lovely traditional Ukrainian restaurant for some comfort food-
we started with some kind of traditional shot- which was actually yummy - not my usual reaction to shots- LOL
and these terrific eggplant rolls stuffed with something tasty!
Phil had some chicken soup with dumplings-
and some sausage and potatoes with bacon -
I had potato pancakes and cabbage rolls- mine were pork filled and Iryna had rolls filled with mushrooms-
we skipped dessert and went back for more birthday cake!
so come on back for more about what we did the next day and you'll have a chance to have another look at the cake which we were still eating from for an afternoon snack - LOL!