Before the soot had even settled in Odessa’s burned-out Trade Unions house, the building was reopened to the public.
At least 30 people, mostly pro-Russian demonstrators, died in a fire inside the prominent building in May 2014. Horrified visitors tramp up and down the blackened stairs and through the scorched halls, hoping for credible answers that were promised by an investigation, even as those answers seem to disappear in the smoke.
Some blame Ukrainian nationalists, some the pro-Russian demonstrators. A lot of people talk about gas and Molotov cocktails being used to set the blaze and most of them believe that because the fire spread so quickly and killed so many it was pre-planned. There are a lot of unresolved questions about what happened at the Trade Unions Building, but the undeniable fact is that at least 30 persons died here because of a very complicated and ongoing regional conflict.
All the levels of the building can be visited except the basement, which is closed. There are no risks left to visitors except for some rubble and debris on the floor. People are still coming here to mourn their dead, so flowers and candles can be found all over the building, turning the charred building into a memorial.
Visit Ukraine with Atlas Obscura Trips
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On this once-in-a-lifetime tour of Ukraine, Transnistria, and Moldova, we'll delve deep into local cultures and traditions, explore unusual underground spaces, and visit an unrecognized republic.