Vahid Takro
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Walk Into History: Sevastopol

RussiaUkraine

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Sevastopol or traditionally Sebastopol is a city located in the southwestern region of the Crimean Peninsula on the Black Sea. As a result of the 2014 Russian annexation, the city is administered as a federal city of the Russian Federation, though Ukraine and most of the UN member countries continue to regard Sevastopol as a city with special status within Ukraine.

Sevastopol has a population of 393,304 (2014 Census), concentrated mostly near the Bay of Sevastopol and surrounding areas. The location and navigability of the city's harbours have made Sevastopol a strategically important port and naval base throughout history. The city has been a home to the Russian Black Sea Fleet, which is why it was considered as a separate city in Crimea of significant military importance and was therefore once a closed city. Although relatively small at 864 square kilometres (334 sq mi), Sevastopol's unique naval and maritime features provide the basis for a robust economy. The city enjoys mild winters and moderate warm summers; characteristics that help make it a popular seaside resort and tourist destination, mainly for visitors from the former Soviet republics. The city is also an important centre for marine biology; in particular, dolphins have been studied and trained in the city since the end of World War II.

Walk Into History: Sevastopol

Sevastopol was founded in June 1783 as a base for a naval squadron under the name Akhtiar. by Rear Admiral Thomas MacKenzie (Foma Fomich Makenzi), a native Scot in Russian service; soon after Russia annexed the Crimean Khanate. Five years earlier, Alexander Suvorov ordered that earthworks be erected along the harbour and Russian troops be placed there. In February 1784, Catherine the Great ordered Grigory Potemkin to build a fortress there and call it Sevastopol. The realisation of the initial building plans fell to Captain Fyodor Ushakov who in 1788 was named commander of the port and of the Black Sea squadron.

One of the most notable events involving the city is the Siege of Sevastopol (1854–55) carried out by the British, French, Sardinian, and Turkish troops during the Crimean War, which lasted for 11 months. Despite its efforts, the Russian army had to leave its stronghold and evacuate over a pontoon bridge to the north shore of the inlet. The Russians chose to sink their entire fleet to prevent it from falling into the hands of the enemy and at the same time to block the entrance of the Western ships into the inlet. When the enemy troops entered Sevastopol, they were faced with the ruins of a formerly glorious city.

A panorama of the siege originally was created by Franz Roubaud. After its destruction in 1942 during World War II, it was restored and is currently housed in a specially constructed circular building in the city. It portrays the situation at the height of the siege, on 18 June 1855.

Sevastopol Under the Soviet Union

During World War II, Sevastopol withstood intensive bombardment by the Germans in 1941–42, supported by their Italian and Romanian allies during the Battle of Sevastopol. German forces used railway artillery — including history's largest-ever calibre railway artillery piece in battle, the 80-cm calibre Schwerer Gustav — and specialised mobile heavy mortars to destroy Sevastopol's extremely heavy fortifications, such as the Maxim Gorky naval battery. After fierce fighting, which lasted for 250 days, the supposedly untakable fortress city finally fell to Axis forces in July 1942.

Photo: "Soldier and Sailor" Memorial to Heroic Defenders of Sevastopol

Walk Into History: Sevastopol
Walk Into History: Sevastopol
Walk Into History: Sevastopol

Sevastopol as part of Ukrainian SSR

During the Soviet era, Sevastopol became a so-called "closed city". This meant that any non-residents had to apply to the authorities for a temporary permit to visit the city. On 29 October 1948 the Presidium of Supreme Council of the Russian SFSR issued an ukase (order) which confirmed the special status of the city. Soviet academic publications since 1954, including the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, indicated that Sevastopol, Crimean Oblast was part of the Ukrainian SSR. At the 1955 Ukrainian parliamentary elections on 27 February, Sevastopol was split into two electoral districts, Stalinsky and Korabelny (initially requested three Stalinsky, Korabelny, and Nakhimovsky). Eventually Sevastopol received two people's deputies of the Ukrainian SSR elected to the Verkhovna Rada A.Korovchenko and M.Kulakov.

Photo: Monument to the Sunken Ships in Sevastopol is the emblem of the city. Installed on an artificial island in increments of roughly processed granite blocks, 10 meters from the beach at Primorskiy Boulevard. The monument is a column with Corinthian capitals, topped with a bronze double-headed eagle with open wings, holding in its beak a laurel wreath. The authors of the monument - Estonian sculptor AG Adamson and architect B. A. Feldman. The total height of the monument - 16,66 m. On the monument, on the wall of the embankment, reinforced anchor with submerged ships. The monument was established in 1905 to the fiftieth anniversary of the first defense of Sevastopol, which had been flooded with Russian sailing ship, «to block the entrance of enemy ships to the raid and thereby save Sevastopol» (P. Nakhimov). Flooded across the fairway first seven obsolete ships and in February 1855 when the South was left the party in the bay flooded and the rest of the fleet. Fire shore batteries and flooded boats did Sevastopol bay inaccessible to the Anglo-French fleet. At the memorial plate mounted in the monument, says: «In memory of the ships, submerged in the 1854-1855 year for the barrier entrance to the raid.

Walk Into History: Sevastopol
Walk Into History: Sevastopol
Walk Into History: Sevastopol
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