The history of the Gretska square begans when Franz Devolane constituting the first development plan of nascent Odessa. Following the model of the architects of ancient Rome, it was decided to create several independent centers (“hearth”) of urban life, which would be grouped around the market square. One of these centers was the Grecheskaya square, and apart from her – Starobazarna, the so-called Free market, and Khersonska (New Market). Gretska square was also the center of the main shopping artery of the city – traffic, rising from the port on the Gavanna street, crossing Deribassvska freely falling on it, and from there, through a wide Alexandrovsky Avenue, in the Starobazarna square.
In the square there were four buildings housing, divided into 25 sections of the same type of two-storey, shopping arcades were decorated with porticos, colonnades and stone arcades. Among the first were known developers in Odessa family of Greek merchants, such as Ioannopulo, Serafino Papahadzhi, Rally, and Grigory Marazli senior.
The house on Deribasovskaya 27, where there was a “House of Books” as well as Mayurov’s “round house” in the center square, which is now the shopping center “Athena” are appeared later. More later Privoz became the main market in Odessa, but before this time the main market located there on Grecheskaya square. The atmosphere of the bazaar, soaked with sweet fruit and overseas wines, loved Pushkin strolling here with obligatory heavy cane.
“The market was noisy on Grecheskaya square,
Sunsets are burned over the city,
Coffee-shops are steamed and Puskin watched
On fresh glaucous sea “
Years passed, and square lost it’s trading importance, giving it to the Pryvoz, Novy ans Starokonny markets. Here there was one of the first horse-drawn railway stations, urban road, the predecessor of the tram, within Belgian society. In Soviet times, this square was renamed in Martynovsky, and mainly served as the transport interchange hub, where many were trailing stops and trolley bus routes.
In our days Gretska square has it’s historical name. it’s restored and now became the area for rests, at the same time and the parade entrance to the walking Deribassvska. Sometimes concerts and different meeting are held here.
The “round house” was restored and rebuilt, and became the large trade center named “Athens”. Some years ago famous Odessa’s market of book and video- and audio-production “Knizhka” located here too, but now it’s moved to Alexandrovsky avenue. Adjacent hotels “Bolshaya Moskovskaya” and “Spartacus” are in the process of restoration now.