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The Potemkin Stairs is the name of a robust stone staircase in the north of the Ukrainian city Odessa
. It consists of 192 steps and goes from Primorsky Boulevard to the pier. Originally, there were only ordinary stairs and not very comfortable paths leading to the harbour. A plan for the new stone staircase was created in 1825 by F. Boffo and its construction lasted for four years (1837-41) . In the upper part of the staircase, there is a statue of Duke de Richelieu who led the Russians in the fight against the Turks. There used to be two hundred steps and they touched the sea. But one whole part disappeared through time under an artificial bank created while widening the harbour. At the beginning the staircase was made from greenish gray sandstone brought from Trieste
. The sandstone disintegrated and in 1933 was replaced with gray-pink granite. The Potemkin Stairs create an optical illusion. They get narrower at the top which makes them look longer from the bottom view. The lowest step measures 21,6 m while the highest only 12,5 m.
The Battleship Potemkin film
The staircase is known from a Sergei Eisenstein film called The Battleship Potemkin which tells a story from times of the First Russian Revolution. Emperor’s sailors revolt but their leader gets shot in the battle. The rebels sail to Odessa where major strikes of the working-class take place. His body is laid on the staircase of Odessa and people come here to express support to sailors and their rebellion. According to the film, these people are shot by emperor’s soldiers right on this spot. But the fact was that they suppressed the rebellion in surrounding streets.
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Last update: Oct 19, 2012 7:38:45 PM