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Must See Places in Odessa: Monument to Duke Richelieu

1. October 2009 by Daniel 0 Comments

In the city center of Odessa, at the top of Potemkinskaya Ladder, there is yet another fascinating point of interest for sightseers – the monument to Armand Emmanuelle, Duke Richelieu. Armand Emmanuelle was the fifth person to occupy Richelieu’s duke house in France and a direct descendant of this house’s founder, the famous cardinal of Ludwig XIII.

 

After participating in the events of the French Revolution, as well as the Battle of Izmail in the Russo-Turkish War, Richelieu took the post of Odessa city administrator, which the Russian emperor, Alexander I, offered to him. At the time, the city of Odessa was just eight years old, but the Russian government considered it to be the main port for foreign trade on the Black Sea.

 

Richelieu arrived in Odessa in May 1803. In his 11-year administration, he strived to have the city become the cultural and commercial center of Europe. He managed the foundation of a gymnasium, a commercial college, many private boarding-schools, etc. On his demand, the architect Toma de Tomone constructed the Opera Theater in 1809.

 

In his free time, Richelieu walked the city and the port inspecting work being done and visiting the newly-arrived people on quarantine and offering that they stay in Odessa. In 1812, during the plague epidemics in Odessa, he did not leave the city, but stayed to support the citizens.

 

After Napoleon’s defeat, Richelieu returned to Paris at the urging of Ludwig XVIII and Alexander I and became the internal affairs minister as well as France’s prime minister. Still he yearned to return to Odessa and spend the rest of his life there. On May, 16, 1822, Armand Emmanuelle Richelieu died of a brain hemorrhage. After his death, Duke Langerone helped raise money for the installation of a monument to Richelieu in Odessa. A bronze monument was created, depicting Richelieu dressed in a Roman toga as well as three brass bas-reliefs symbolizing arable farming, trade and justice.

 

The opening of the monument took place on April 22, 1828. Today, it is one of Odessa’s most popular attractions.