Never meet your heroes goes the old saying. Standing at the top of the Potemkin Steps it was clear to see why. I'd been hoping for something out of Eisenstein, but what I got was pure Mike Leigh. Overgrown trees and blue metal fences, white graffiti and smashed green bottles, the view is not so much of the Black Sea than of the ugly oblong sprawl of the 1960s ferry passenger terminal and all nineteen stories of the post-Soviet Hotel Odessa. Damaged by erosion, the stairs no longer even sweep right down to the water: the original Trieste sandstone was covered over with granite in the 1930s and an extension to the port cut the number of landings - famously invisible from the bottom, despite being so broad that the stairs can't be seen from above - in half, reducing the two-hundred steps to one hundred and ninety two - plus one busy road.
Here's one they made earlier: