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Odessites are the best known among others as people who are fond of their hometown - Odessa. "Why? - you can argue. - The others also love their hometowns!" Yes, you are right, everybody does, but only Odessites' tender affection for Odessa has become a legend.

A myth. A tale. . Our ancestors were proud enough to compare Odessa with Paris: Duke de Richelieu as the first governor and the Pale-Royal at the front of the gorgeous Opera House, the "Moulin Rough" cinema on Tiraspolskaya Square and the "Lyons Credit" bank on Rishelievskaya Street, rich maecenases and plenty of artists.

Yes, our ancestors could be proud enough to compare Odessa with Paris. Today that comparison is just a legend. A myth. A tale.

"There was happened what was happened" as they say in Odessa. And now only the historians' "Odessa Memories" about that miraculous "small Paris" freely walks around the world and tells to others about specific cultural and social features that have left Odessa streets for the history just as Odes sa Jews have left Moldavanka for America and Israel. The old Moldavanka. That was more than just the "Jewish ghetto of Odessa", more than a city-district, even more than the famous Odessa gangsters' home. It was a phenomenon of life style.

They lived there like an entire family. Housewives scaled fish, cooked jams and bathed babies outside. In stuffy summer nights they slept under the old acacia in the yard. In the yard they gathered to share their joy and pain, to celebrate their weddings and to mourn for their dead.

Today that life style is just a legend. A myth. A tale. Only these old yards with their numerous ramshackle galleries and weak stairs remind us the poetry of that vulgar but so charming living. But these yards will disappear soon also.

And then only Babel's "Odessa tales" will freely walk around the world and tell to others "how it was done in Odessa". The original of the article with photos you will find here .

By: Lora Osypenko

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