Printed on 06.12.2021
City and geographical review
Sevastopol (or Sebastopol) is one of the largest sea ports, a cultural, historical and recreation-tourist center in the south of the Ukraine, located on the Black Sea coast of the Crimean peninsula, on the same parallel with Milan (Italy) and Lyon (France). Sevastopol, formerly the home of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet, is now a Ukrainian naval base mutually used by the Ukrainian Navy and Russian Navy. The name of Sevastopolis (nowadays - Sevastopol) is a compound of two Greek nouns ("sebastos" - modern "sevastos" - "venerable, reverend" and "polis" - "city", was intended to reflect its ancient Greek origins, but despite that, the name is not old. The city was probably named after the Empress Catherine II who founded Sevastopol in 1783. The name means: "a majestic city, worthy of worship".
After the World War II the city was awarded the title of a Hero City. The distance between Sevastopol and Kyiv is 1100 kilometers. Territory of Sevastopol is divided into four districts and includes the independent city of Inkerman, town Kacha and 47 suburban and rural settlements.
Administratively, Sevastopol is a municipality excluded from the surrounding Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
There are four administrative districts on the territory of Sevastopol region:
Besides the City of Sevastopol proper, it also includes 2 towns — Balaklava and Inkerman, urban-type settlement Kacha, and 29 villages. The spoken language is Russian. Due to its military history, most streets in the city are named after Russian and Soviet military heroes.
Even as you wander through the streets of Sevastopol you sometimes catch yourself thinking that you are on a ship, a feeling that is heightened by the sight, not infrequent here, of a tall mast, apparently amidst the buildings. At a moment like that it is brought home to you especially vividly that Sevastopol is a port, a sailors' city with many roads leading forth into the world, beckoning one to go travelling — to far-away seas and countries. Such voyages begin from Kamyshovaya Harbour, where since the World War II an up-to-date fishing port has developed, and from Grafskaya Quay whose history takes us through pages of Sevastopol's glorious past.
The landscape of Sevastopol is determined by numerous bays and mountain valleys. There are 33 bays within the limits of the region, which all have got their own names. The Sevastopol bay is the biggest one at the Black Sea. It is also considered to be on the 3rd place after Hong Kong and Sidney bays for its convenience. The border of two geographical zones moderate and subtropical lies through the Sevastopol region.
Sevastopol is one of the richest regions in Crimea and Ukraine in natural resources. Especially the supplies of non-metal (non-metallic) minerals are great. It’s marble type, nummulite and other types of limestone, used in building and metallurgy; different clays, flux, sands and others. Recreational potential of the region is enormous, while almost unrealized.
Climate is comparatively mild, marine, moderate-continental in foothills and moderate-continental with the traits of the subtropical Mediterranean type on the southeast coast. The average monthly temperature is nearly always above zero during the year. The coldest month is February (+2,6ºС) and the warmest is July (+23,2ºС). There are about 238 days without frost.
The temperature of the surface layer of the Black sea water at Sevastopol coast is also above zero during the year and is +22ºС to +26ºС in July. The driest month is July. Almost subtropical climate, combined with a large number of sandy and pebble beaches, warm sea and picturesque landscapes are the most attractive features of the city.
Soils of the Sevastopol region differ in variety: there are black soils at the foothills, brown mountain forested soils, turf-carbonate soils, mountain-meadow chernozem type soils, brown soils, most of which are suitable for growing different agricultural crops, gardens and vineyards, tobacco, essential (volatile) oil crops etc.
30% of Sevastopol region is a reserve: there is one state preserve (part of it), three state reserves of the republican and the local value, four nature monuments of the local value, one state park monument of the gardening-parking art of a local value, one protected natural boundary and five coastal aqua complexes. The Fiolent Cape is declared the monument of nature of the local value since 1969. Ayya Cape is a state reserve of the republican value since 1982.
Botanists count over 2600 types of wild growing and about 1000 cultivated plants in Crimea. The majority of them also grow in the Sevastopol region. The most characteristic and widespread trees are oak, hornbeam, beech, pine-tree, Crimean pine-tree, juniper, cypress and others.
The region is rich in medical plants, such as lily of the valley, valerian, adonis, nettle, milfoil, belladonna, sophora, hawthorn and others; wild growing fruits and berries like dogwood, merry, pear and strawberry; melliferous such as linden-tree, acacia, melilot; essential oil plants such as a lary, lavender, mother-of-thyme, rose and others; decorative plants like tulips, crocuses, primrose, cyclamen, Crimean snowdrop, lily of the valley, pi-mesons, wisteria and others.
Crimea fauna is original, but meagre. It is possible to find a Crimean deer, roe deer, wild boar, European moufflon, squirrel, grey and black rats, 3 types of shrews, and 16 types of bats. Among predatory animals there are special subspecies of badger, stone marten and fox, and also weasel.
There are two types of black sea dolphins in the coastal waters: afalina and belobochka, a black sea shark katran; there are tens of types of fish are in bays and outside of them.
A little bit of the history
Sevastopol together with Kronstadt and Gibraltar is one of the most famous naval citadels in Europe. The historical heritage of Sevastopol city is unusually significant and counts many centuries. Founded on the territory of antique Chersonesus (Chersoness, Khersoness, Kherson, Chersonese, Chersonessus), where in 988 A.D. the Kyivan prince Volodymyr was converted to Christianity, Sevastopol stands out as the place of imperishable orthodoxy teachings of Apostle Andrew and traditions of the creators of the Cyrillic alphabet Cyril and Methody.
The ancient Greek colony of Chersonesus (Chersonesos) or Cherson was founded in 421 B.C. The name means "peninsula" reflecting its location and is not related to the ancient Greek name for the Crimean Peninsula.
Medieval Chersonesus was the chief Byzantine bastion in the Crimea until the 13th century and being under the influence of Byzantium, remained a political, economic and cultural center on the north coast of the Black Sea for many centuries.
Chersonesos ceased its existence in 1399, when it was destroyed by a Tatar invasion (by Khan Edigey).
Nowadays, in the western part of the city, there are well-preserved ruins of the ancient Chersonesos.
Another Greek settlement - Symbolon-Limne - existed on the territory of modern Sevastopol. It was located to the south of Chersonessus and formed a part of the polis. Now it is the town of Balaklava, situated in the administrative territory of Sevastopol.
Numerous monuments of that period, which have survived to this day, have been gathered at the Chersonesus History and Archaeology Preserve, a museum of specific type, one of the few in the country.
Modern Sevastopol was founded in 1783 as a naval fortification, a city and port by Catherine II on the site of the Tatar village of Akhtiar after the Russian annexation (1783) of the Crimea. By the decree from February 10, 1784 Ahtiar, city - fortress at the Black sea, was renamed Sevastopol. Sevastopol city became an important naval base and later a commercial port and the cultural, historical and recreative center.
The name of Sevastopol was given to the city by Catherine II. But the story says, first she decided to name it Kherson in the memory of ancient Chersoneses. The name of Sevastopol was prepared for another city, situated in the mouth of the Dnipro River. But the envelopes with Catherine's decrees were mixed up and sent to the wrong directions, so the supposed Sevastopol became Kherson and the future Kherson was named Sevastopol. After finding out about the mistake the Empress Catherine II decided to change nothing and left it like it was.
The history of the city is forever connected with the names of Admiral F. Ushakov, who was the Commander-in Chief of the Black Sea Navy and the ports and Admiral M. Lazarev, a military Governor of Sevastopol. Admiral Lazarev founded a special school for training officers for the Black Sea Navy.
Crimean War (1854–1855) started up in 1854 as result of long economic and political disagreements between England, France, Turkey and Russia over the Black Sea. Each of these countries aspired to strengthen their influence on the Near East to get the new markets and subordinate new territories. At the beginning of September 1854 an English - French fleet started to move towards Sevastopol. In order to block the entrance to the harbor the Military Council of the Black Fleet decided to sink 12 big, old ships.
Knowing that the city is well protected from the seaside, the Anglo-French invaders landed south from Evpatoria to approach Sevastopol from the landside.
To defense the city from the advancing enemy, it was decided to build a defensive line (8 kilometers in length) consisting of seven bastions during a very short time by the organizers of Sevastopol defense V.Kornilov, P.Nahimov and V.Istomin.
The eighth bastion, later named Kornilovsky, was on Malakhov barrow. Thousand sailors, soldiers and habitants of the city, including women and children were building fortifications. Quite often citizens gave their property to strengthen the city: horses, oxen, carts and building materials. They were working day and night.
The colonel E.I.Totleben managed engineering defense.
Russian army of 30 thousand was bravely repulsing the attack of their opponents, but sustained defeat and withdrew.
English and French armies moved on towards Sevastopol and occupied comfortable bays (British – Balaklavskuyu and French - Kamyshovuyu).
Sevastopol siege started on September 13, 1854 and lasted for 349 days.
The invaders did not decide to storm the city immediately and began the siege during which they bombed Sevastopol six times. On June 6 1855 the Anglo-French forces undertook an attempt to assault the fortifications of the Korabelnaya side, including Malakhov Kurgan. This assault was repelled. The events of this day are shown on picturesque linen of Panorama "Sevastopol Defense of 1854-1855".
Trying to destroy Sevastopol fortifications, the opposition used underground mine warfare. 1280 meters of underground galleries were dug and 120 explosions were made by the opponent. But the defenders of Sevastopol started a countermine war in time and during 7 months of this underground-mine war dug 6889 meters of galleries and sleeves (5 times more than the opponent) and produced 94 big explosions. Field engineer officer A.V.Mel’nikov led the mine war.
A prominent doctor, scientist, founder of the military field surgery N.I.Pirogov took part in Sevastopol defense. He arrived in the besieged city with a detachment of sisters of mercy, and here for the first in medical history adopted the wide use of a cast for the wounded extremities and an ether exhalation anesthesia during the surgeries.
During all 349 days of the siege especially tense fights were going on over the key position of the city defense - Malakhov Kurgan.
On the 28th August 1855, the French successfully stormed the fortress of Malakhov, on the south shore of the bay and three days later the Russians were forced to cross Sevastopol bay to the northern shore. So, opponents exhausted by the long siege and bloody battles became separated by the Sevastopol bay. Military operations were actually halted. A record of the spirit and sufferings of the city's defenders has been preserved in The Tales of Sevastopol by L.N.Tolstoy, who fought in the ranks of the besieged.
Sevastopol declined as a military fortress after the Crimean Peace Conference held in Paris (1856), and its fortifications were razed. It was prohibited for Russia to have a fleet on the Black Sea, to build fortresses and naval bases. The Russian dramatist A. N. Ostrovskiy, who visited Sevastopol in June 1860 wrote: "It is impossible to look at this city without tears, there was truly not a stone standing upon another stone left in it."
According to the colonel E.I.Totleben, 1, 356, 000 artillery shells were dropped on Sevastopol by the enemy during the siege.
It took ten years to clean the bay from the sunken ships.
But in 1870 Russia refused to stick to the Paris Peace agreement and started to restore the Black Sea Fleet. In 1890 the city again became a chief naval base.
On the eve of the World War I the Black Sea fleet had about 400 military, auxiliary and transport ships.
In the middle of 1880s, after the construction of the Lozovo-Sevastopol railway, the revival of the commercial port began. Large storages for grain, salt and other loads were built in Sevastopol.
The economic growth in the country, caused by the abolition of serfdom and development of capitalism had a great influence on Sevastopol. The rates of fleet and city revival were accelerated.
However, the Sevastopol sailors mutinied during the 1905 revolution.
Twelve years later, the population of Sevastopol found out about the February bourgeois-democratic revolution of 1917 and the overthrow of the tsar only in March of the following year.
Soviet power was established in the city on December 29, 1917, but it did not last long. Breaking the Brest Treaty, German troops took the Crimean peninsular and Sevastopol in 1918. Until 1919 Sevastopol was under English and French interventionists, then the White Guard of General Denikin, later, the general Wrangler established a military dictatorship in Crimea.
German, English and French intervention inflicted an enormous financial harm on Sevastopol. They took away all ships in good condition and robbed and destroyed all others.
By the end of November 1920 the Southern front under M. Frunze took Sevastopol and the Soviet power was re-established.
Later on, Sevastopol started to develop and grow. The electrical station of the Northern dock started to work in 1923. In 1925 Sevastopol trade port became the largest point of domestic and external trade in the south of the USSR. In 1924 – 1925 a tramline connecting Sevastopol and Balaklava was built. Its length was 18 kilometers. By 1941 Sevastopol had turned into a powerful military and naval Black Sea base.
But the World War II 1941 - 1945 was a severe and heavy test for Sevastopol citizens and sailors of the Black Sea navy. The heroic resistance of Sevastopol in 1854–1855 was, if possible, eclipsed by the stand the city made against the Germans in World War II.
Sevastopol, among the first cities in the former USSR, was exposed to the raid of fascist aviation on the 22nd June 1941. On the 30th October 1941 the second heroic Sevastopol defense, which lasted for 250 days, began. From the first to the last days of the city defense the defenders showed a selflessness, unexampled firmness and heroism.
During a siege lasting more than eight months, the city was virtually destroyed. For three weeks the defenders fought on in the rubble, against all hope, until July 3, 1942, when German and Romanian troops took the city. During 22 months fascists were committing outrages in Sevastopol. They killed 3 thousand women, old men and children in Inkerman underground galleries; over 400 workers were murdered in the Troitsky tunnel. On July 12 invaders drove together 1500 citizens to Dynamo stadium and after robbing and taunting them killed them on the 5th kilometer of the Balaklava highway. During the times of the occupation fascists killed, burned, drowned in the sea and drove away by force tens of thousands of Sevastopol citizens to Germany.
Sevastopol was liberated from the invaders on May 9, 1944.
The reconstruction of the city truly became a heroic epic and entered in its history as the third feat of Sevastopol. The revival of the city has started immediately after its liberation. Sevastopol was completely demolished. There were only about 3 thousand inhabitants left (compared with 112 thousand at the beginning of 1941) By the beginning of 1957 the city was practically restored. Historical and architectural monuments were restored from the ruins; new blocks of buildings and districts were built.
Sevastopol was named a “Hero City” of the Soviet Union in May 1945 as a reward for its valiant resistance. The city was transferred to the Ukrainian SSR in 1954 (as was all Crimea) and became part of the independent Ukraine in 1991. It is the home of the former Soviet Black Sea Fleet. The ex-Soviet Black Sea Fleet with all its facilities was divided between Russia's Black Sea Fleet and the Ukrainian Navy after a continuous, sometimes violent struggle in 1995. Accordingly, Russia received four-fifths of the Black Sea Fleet's warships, while Ukraine received about half of the facilities. Russian naval base and ownership dispute continues to this day.
According to the 1997 treaty, it was agreed that Russia would be allowed to base its fleet at Sevastopol on the terms of a twenty-year renewable lease. The two navies now co-use some of the city's harbors and piers, while others were demilitarized or used by either country. Kyiv-appointed authorities retain formal control of Sevastopol's life (such as taxation and civil policing) and try to avoid confrontation with the base command and pro-Russian groups. The status of the Black Sea Fleet has a strong influence over the city's business and cultural life.
Sevastopol is often compared to the phoenix. Twice it arose from fire and ruins even more beautiful than ever—a toiling city, a hero city. A city of heroic people. A city of unforgettable encounters.
During the early days of the liberation of Sevastopol the writer Leonid Sobolev visited the city, and wrote: "This is all that is now left of Sevastopol: the rocks, the sea and the sun — an immortal glory, which will bring these stones back to life."
Apart from navy-related civil facilities, Sevastopol hosts some other notable industries, such as engineering, metalworking, light industry, and food production. A big part of Ukrainian fishing, transport refrigerating and scientific-research fleets are based in Sevastopol. There are also developed ship-repairing, radio-electronic industries, power construction and the agro industrial complexes. Majority of the big enterprises is developed in the fish catching and processing fields. Annual production capacity of floating and coastal canning facilities is millions of cans and thousands of tons of smoked, dried and pickled fish.
Practically, the whole Ukrainian transport-refrigerator fleet is concentrated in Sevastopol and accounts for 4% of the world total. Six plants, capable of repairing ships of all types constitute ship-repairing potentials of the city. The most powerful sea floating cranes of the former USSR were built at the Ordzhonikidze Sea Works. The biggest dry dock in Europe (250 m) is also located at this enterprise. Ukraine's largest power tools manufacturer "Phiolent" and leading plastics manufacturers Stroitel are situated in Sevastopol as well.
The enterprises of the former military-industrial establishment of the USSR, the radio electronics and instrument-making enterprises take a special part in the industrial potential of the city. Balaklava's ore plant takes an important part in the city economics, it produces metallurgical limestone; and such building materials as crushed stone of different fractions, marble aggregate, quarry stone and others are produced from the raw materials, which can't be used for limestone production. Construction enterprises of Sevastopol make building materials from the Inkerman stone that is exported to many countries of the world.
Clothing and knitting industry consists of several enterprises, which produce garments that are in demand in all regions of Ukraine.
Agriculture of the region specializes in gardening, viticulture, and vegetable growing. Sevastopol is one of the most significant grape regions of Ukraine; the area for vineyards is about 8 thousand hectares. 1/3 of all the Crimean vineyards is concentrated in Sevastopol. Sevastopol grapes have a high quality and a variety of sorts; selected table wines are produced here.
The rich technological, producing base of wine-making and the store experience make the city a supplier of the best grape wines and champagne in Ukraine.
The efficient geographical location of the city, the auspicious natural-climatic conditions, the quite high resort potential and the cosmopolitan pedigree of Sevastopol suggest a large potential for international commerce, industry and in particular, tourism.
The transport complex of the city consists of 6 train stations. The train branches and dead-end sidings lead to most of Sevastopol’s bays, where the freight transportation is realized. The main motorways Sevastopol-Simferopol and Sevastopol-Yalta provide the highway connection of Sevastopol to all regions of Crimea. The city has a good mooring line; its length is more than 30 km.
The city has two first class aerodromes (the runway is 3.2 km). The airport Belbek (code UKFS) can realize working with 500 tons of freight and 500 passengers per day.
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