The history of Sevastopol
The history of Sevastopol dates back to great antiquity. They found Neanderthal men’s site in the vicinity of Sevastopol.
Cro-Magnon men’s sites Murzak-Koba, Fatma-Koba and Shan-Koba date back to later period of time.
The word “Koba” can be translated as “a cave”. And all the above mentioned sites are located in caves..
Primitive man’s traces were discovered on the shores of Laspi Bay and in other places within present Sevastopol’s boundaries.
The Cimmerians, Tauri, Scythians, Sarmathians, Ancient Greeks, Genoese, Venetians, Goths, Huns, Khazars, Tatars left their traces on the land of Sevastopol during various periods of time.
According to some scientists, Balaklava harbour corresponds to the description of the Listrigons” port where Hellenistic hero Odysseus might have got during his traveling.
Balaklava can boast unique nature monuments(Cape Aya and Cape Feolent), romantic ruins of the Genoese fortress of Chembalo and mysterious ancient temples with poetic aura of legends.
In ancient time the part of the present Sevastopol’s territory was occupied by a Greek city-colony of Chersonesus that was founded by the former inhabitants of Heraclea Pontica in the 5th century B.C. It became part of the Roman and Byzantine Empires later.
St Apostle Andrew the First-to-be-Called came to Chersonesus. St Clement, a Roman pope, was martyred here.
Martyn the Confessor, another Roman pope, died from hunger in his exile in the Crimea in the 7th century. In 861 St Cyril (Constantine) on his way to Khazariya found St Clement’s relics and created the Cyrillic alphabet .
Kiev Prince Vladimir Svyatoslavovich conquered Kherson(the Byzantine name of the town) in 988 and was baptized with his troops here.
The fond where Prince Vladimir was baptized according to the legend is located on the territory of Chersonesus Preserve.
Almost 300-year period of the Turkish occupation (1475-1774) was a quiet epoch, yet the time of stagnation in the South-Western Crimean history.
The Ottoman Empire spread its power over the whole Black sea coast, at the same time it saved from piracy, wars and conflicts. Only Zaporozhye Cossacks boats could be seen in the sea from time to time.
As a result of the Russian-Turkish war for the Crimea (1768-1774) the Crimea was annexed to Russia. But on February 10, 1783 Catherine the Great issued a decree to establish the fortress of Sevastopol.
When the city was founded it was given the name of Sevastopol which can be translated from Greek as a majestic, heroic city, worth of worship.
It justified its name by its more than 200-year history.
There are cities in the world that are older , even more ancient, but one can hardly find another city that could rival the feats of Sevastopol’s defenders within one century in 1854-1855 and in 1941-1944. To honour the glorious city the following medals were sanctified: “For the Defense of Sevastopol from September, 13 to August 27, 1855” and “ For the Defense of Sevastopol” in 1941-1942.
During the Crimean War (1853-1856) Sevastopol became the cockpit of military actions. The British, French- Turkish troops landed north of Sevastopol in 1854.
The 349-day heroic defense of Sevastopol came down into history as the first defense of Sevastopol.
Officer Leo Tolstoy was among the defenders of Sevastopol and later on he described his war experience in his famous “Sevastopol Sketches”.
There are still legends about the treasures of the British sunken frigate “Prince” that shipwrecked in Balaklava Harbour in 1854 during the Crimean War. It was then when the representatives of the most famous aristocratic families of Great Britain perished in the Battle of Balaklava.
During the first defense of Sevastopol sailing ships were scuttled “to block the roadstead entrance for the enemy ships and hence save Sevastopol”
At first 7 old ships were scuttled in February 1855 and later when the Southern Side of Sevastopol was abandoned, all the rest Russian Navy was scuttled in Sevastopol Harbour.
The coastal batteries firing and scuttled ships made Sevastopol Harbour inaccessible for the British-French Fleet.
The Monument to the Scuttled Ships, the most renowned monument in Sevastopol and its emblem, was erected in 1905.
In 1921 once again the legal status of Sevastopol was changed. It was annexed to the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, the latter being part of the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic.
Sevastopol, being the main Black Sea Fleet base, was an objective of the Nazi Commandment.
Fighting for Sevastopol started at dawn on June 22, 1941 when fascist aircrafts tried to mine the entrance to Sevastopol Harbour. The defense of Sevastopol began on October30, 1941 was over only on July 3, 1942 and lasted for 250 days.
Since May 20, 1942 bombing and shelling of Sevastopol became constant. The biggest air and artillery forces were concentrated around Sevastopol During World War II.
The defense of Sevastopol lasted during 250 days, but it took only a week to liberate it. On May7, 1944 the Soviet troops of the Fourth Ukrainian Front liberated the Sapun Ridge after the successful assault of the German fortifications. On May 9 , 1945 they showed great courage and heroism and liberated the city,.
Throughout its history the city was closely connected with the Fleet due to its geographical location (just in the centre of the Black Sea) and because of its convenient harbours ( Sevastopol Harbour cuts 8 km deep inland).
The Panorama and Diorama Museums situated in different city districts describe the military events and display various Crimean War and World War II monuments .
In 1965 Sevastopol was awarded with the title of the Hero-City. Reconstructed by the whole country, the present Sevastopol is one of the most beautiful Crimean cities currently.