Ekaterininskaya square repeatedly changed it’s shape and 7 times cjanged the name.
In accordance with the original plan of the city, developed by Lt. Col. Devolan, the square had a round shape and was called Ekaterininskaya, because in the foundation there was founded a Military St. Catherine Church on behalf of future Empress. After the death of the Empress, in November 1796, the construction of the church, as well as all of Odessa, was suspended by Paul I. In 1821 and unfinished church was demolished. Given the situation this square first became Elizabethan Square, then Dyukovskaya and finally was named on behalf of Karl Marx, after which it was returned to its original name. At the center of the square was laid out a park/ late. Later, in 1873, after the start of the Dniester water line, there was installed a fountain (the first in the city). Then this fountain “moved” to a permanent place of residence in the City Garden. Regular buildings located at Ekaterininskaya Square with the restructuring of its perimeter and an increase in the number of the building levels began in the third decade of the 19th century. Due to the construction of the outer parts of the square round turned into a triangle (in the plan).
In September 23, 1891 Odessa City Council had decided to establish a monument in honor of the centenary of the founding of the city of Odessa. On the eve of 100th anniversary of the city administration was held a competition to design the monument, the results of which was recognized as the best project of the architect Dimitrenko. In August 24, 1892 the town council resolved to take this project into the work. In the “News of Odessa City Council” for 1900 in the “Note about the opening of the monument to Catherine the Great in Odessa, May 6, 1900,” was written: “only projects under the motto “Odessa city port and Esperana” were awarded. The first one belongs to the architect Dimitrenko, while the second to the sculptor Donato Barkalaja.
This commission was made the followed review: “The size and shape of the monument made it eligible for a small triangular Ekaterininskaya Square … Group of Empress associates grouped at the round pedestal very well. Statue of the Empress has a magnificent view and at the same time put on a pedestal rather freely. Connection of the figure with a pedestal by a circular base and a transition to a bronze cartouche, aesthetically pleasing and properly enforced. The style of the monument entirely appropriate, and yet the whole is a work of art … Production models of the monument took over the professor of sculpture of the Saint Petersburg Imperial Academy of Arts Popov for 10,000 rubles. And the work on the construction site of the foundation of the pedestal and cast bronze figures themselves have been handed over to local sculptor Edwards and the store owner sculptural products Mentsione for a total of 38,000 rubles. Observations of the work was entrusted to drafter Dimitrenko with the fee 2650rub. “After 10 years after the opening of the monument Edwards wrote in a St. Petersburg newspaper: “The monument to Catherine II in Odessa erected by architect Dmitrenko, received the 1st prize in the contest … As for me, I was only a performer of the technical side of the construction, meaning that I performed granite and bronze works, with the exception of two figures, executed by academician Popov. So please do not attribute someone’s sins to me“.
The opening of the monument to Catherine II was held in May 6, 1900 and was timed to the 100-th anniversary of the death of one of the builders of the city – A. Suvorov. So, the name of Suvorov did not left forgotten, although his figure is not on the monument. The historical significance of the monument lies in a defiance of the enemy and the settlement of Russia in the new lands forever, leaving Russia to the Black Sea, and as the crown of these events – at the base of the port and the city.
As it happened, a monument to the founders of Odessa was opened twice: the first time – May 6, 1900. After the revolution it was covered by the canopy. At the same time, in the troubled times of 1918-1919., when the government changed in Odessa and forces of various countries came to Odessa, the Austrians rediscovered the monument.
In 1917, the City Council receives the instruction: “Take off the pedestal monument to Catherine. The question of its preservation or destruction needs to be transferred to Petrograd artistic committee under the chairmanship of Comrade Gorky. ” The intercession of Maxim Gorky and Benoit, who said that the monument represents the greatest artistic value, has led to the fact that part of the ruined monument had been sent to the Archaeological and then in the Local History Museum.
In April 30, 1920, after the final establishment of Soviet pover, Ekaterininskaya square received the name of Karl Marx. As a result during 20 years the pedestal of the Catherine’s monument was used for the Karl Markses bust. In February 7, 1921 there was opened the monument to Marks, which consisted from the one concrete head, toned to pink granite.
After the time provincial Committee opened the new one monument to Marx, which was full-length. After the sudden storm this monument, which was made from durable materials, felt down (under official version). Evidences said, that only legs of “marxizm” founder has left.
In August 1929 competent commission established artistic and historical value and the need to preserve the remnants of the monument to Catherine II, and the remaining parts of the monument were saved.
In June 27, 1965, on the 60th anniversary of the start of uprising on the battleship “Potemkin”, the square saw an opening of the monument to sailors, which were attended by a group of veterans. The authors of the monument were Muscovites. Sculptor Bogdanov, Architects Volkov and Lapin.
As it was noted above, in July 2007 Odessa City Council undefined the need of restoration of the monument to founders of Odessa; and authentic elements of the monument, which are stored in museum since the monument was destroyed in May 1920. The prodcedure was complicated, but authentic figures were restored and 18 qualified specialist of created Comission controlled this process.
In fast, the figure of Empress had to be dazzled again, because the bronze of saving head and the current metal are different, and it’s not easy to combine them in harmony. Three of the sculptor (one and two Odessa Kiev) presented three plaster models of Catherine II in height more than 1 meter. As a result of the execution of the bronze monument was commissioned by the creative art production plant in the city of Kiev (permanent director Shevelyuk), the best sculptural organization not only in Ukraine, but also the former Soviet Union.
Catherine II supported the idea of de Ribas about placing a new Black Sea cities and ports in the place named Hadjibey, and she signed in 1794 a rescript for the establishment of the city and the port and gave the name of the city – Odessa. In recent years, the life of Catherine II took care of the creation of Odessa, its settlement; she was interested in the construction process and always assisted the city.