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The Potemkin Stairs

2019-05-26 | views: 287

Today the staircase consists of 192 steps and ten spans. But initially there were exactly two hundred of them, but with the expansion of the port, eight steps were filled up and, according to the old residents, they still rest in the depths of the roadway.

The length of the staircase is 142 meters, it is built perspectively - its base (21.7 m wide) is much wider than the upper part (12.5 m), so that when viewed from the top of the staircase you get the impression of uniform width along its entire length.

The parapets of the stairs seem parallel and only the platforms are visible, except for the upper march.

Seen from below, the staircase seems longer and only a continuous cascade of steps is visible.

The city of Odessa, located on a hill, needed access to the port located by the sea. At the dawn of Odessa, the sea approached almost the very precipice of the future Primorsky Boulevard. Then the sea "pushed aside" Primorskaya street and port facilities.

Then they descended to the sea here, as Pushkin wrote in Onegin's Journey: I flee from the steep bank, Already to the sea.

Already after Pushkin’s departure from Odessa, wooden stairs appeared on the slope.

The giant staircase was designed in 1825 by architects Francesco Boffo, Abraham Melnikov and Pote, and built in 1837–1841 by engineers Wapton and J. Morozov. The Most High Prince Vorontsov ordered to build a staircase as a gift to his wife Elizabeth, and she cost him 800 thousand rubles at that time. The staircase was built “in the place where there was a path”, as the old-time Odessa resident Mikhail Deribas stated.

To match the architectural perfection, the design of the stairs, mainly developed by engineer Upton.

The Russian playwright A.N. Ostrovsky told in detail about her in a letter from Odessa: “From the boulevard, a unique staircase leads to the sea, it is divided into 10 ledges of 20 steps each. It seems 200 steps, and you enter easily. ” This effect was achieved due to the optimum angle of inclination of the stairs and the number of platforms allowing the pedestrian to rest.

The reportage accuracy of the description made by A. N. Ostrovsky today can cause doubts only in the number of steps, which at first were actually exactly two hundred, and the ladder descended almost to the sea itself.

Subsequently, the terracing of the slopes "disguised" the design of the stairs, and from the side of the funicular it seems to be laid on a gentle slope, as if "a wide spreading cloth", as noted by the Ukrainian writer Ivan Nechui-Levitsky.

She became world famous thanks to the film "The Battleship Potemkin" (1925) by Sergei Eisenstein, in the key scene of which the baby carriage rolls down the stairs. Shortly after the film was released, the poet Nikolai Aseev in the essay “How the film“ The Battleship Potemkin ”was shot” stated that “the Odessa staircase ... will not be forgotten by the audience”.

A baby carriage, fired up the stairs by the assistants of the great director, swept across the screens of the whole world, and the stairs that became widely known began to be called Potemkinskaya.

And the writers who wrote about her were often already repelled by the events depicted in the film, replacing historical reality with Eisenstein's fiction.

History and cinema have forever tied the giant staircase with the rebellious battleship Potemkin.

The staircase was gradually destroyed by erosion, and in 1933 sandstone was replaced with pink-gray granite, and the sites were covered with asphalt.

In modern literature, various names are given: Portovaya, Boulevard, Big, Giant, Vorontsovskaya, which the Ladder had supposedly had in the past. But this is not confirmed by primary sources. The name ‘Potemkin’s’ became official only after the war, in the 50s. Prior to this, for some time, the official name was “Primorsk Staircase”, as evidenced by the cast-iron plate that has survived to the present day, certifying the status of the staircase as an architectural monument.

Next to the staircase there is a funicular that connects Primorskaya Street with Primorsky Boulevard. It was built in 1902, and in the 1970s was replaced by an escalator. After an escalator crash in the 1990s, the city authorities decided to build a new cable car, which was opened on September 2, 2005 in honor of the 211st anniversary of the founding of Odessa.

The funicular consists of two cars, 12 people can accommodate in each. Travel time is 1 minute 10 seconds.

According to a study conducted under the auspices of the company Marketing e tv, the Potemkin Stairs entered the sixth number in the top ten most beautiful stairs in Europe.

Every year it is held the race "Up the Potemkin Stairs". The competition record is 22.8 seconds. And every September 2 is a concert in honor of the birthday of the city! The Potemkin Staircase turns into a large grandstand on which both citizens and guests of the city are placed, who have arrived to watch the action with the participation of many stars of show business ...

Arriving by boat to Odessa, it is impossible not to see the “eighth wonder of the world” - the Potemkin Stairs!