Monument to Orange – Odesa, Ukraine - Atlas Obscura

Monument to Orange

Odesa, Ukraine

An artful memorial to 4,000 fateful oranges. 

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For centuries, the Ukrainian city of Odessa has served as the region’s great trading port. But legend has it that it took a fabulous bribe to pave the way. The story goes that 18th-century Odessa wanted money to build their port. Unfortunately, when the new tzar Paul I took power in 1796, he diverted the badly-needed port money elsewhere.

That left the city in limbo. As a result, town officials came up with an interesting solution. They imported 4,000 Greek oranges and sent them as an exotic gift to Paul I. Since Paul had never tasted oranges before, he was fascinated and impressed by the fruit. Paul I soon approved the money needed to construct the the port.

In 2004, the city gained a monument in honor of those fateful oranges. A giant metal orange on wheels sits on a pedestal, resembling a carriage pulled by a team of horses. Inside, Paul I stands holding an orange up to his face approvingly. The monument is topped with sculptures of several iconic and well-known buildings in Odessa. Designed by Valery Balukh and completed by the sculptor Alexander Tokarev and the architect Vladimir Glazyrin, the sculpture is a monument to a monumental bribe.