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Sevastopol

Monument to Sunken Ships

Памятник затопленным кораблям
Александр Железняк
Памятник затопленным кораблям
Александр Железняк
Памятник затопленным кораблям
Александр Железняк
Памятник затопленным кораблям
Александр Железняк

The Monument to Sunken Ships has become the main symbol of the city of Sevastopol. It stands tall among the waves in the form of a dignified antique column. At the top sits a bronze eagle holding a sprig of bay leaves in its beak. It seems that the eagle will drop it into the water at any moment, as if in tribute to the memory of the ships that were sacrificed to block the entrance to the harbor.

The monument was designed in 1905 by the military engineer Friedrich Oskar Enberg, the architect Valentin Avgustovich Feldman, and the sculptor Amandus Heinrich Adamson and erected in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the First Siege of Sevastopol, during which the ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet were scuttled to protect the harbor.

After the British, French, and Ottoman forces landed in September 1854 and the Russian troops were defeated on the Alma River, the situation of Sevastopol became very difficult. Anticipating an attack from the sea and a breakthrough by the enemy fleet into the harbor, Russian officers made the decision to scuttle some of the old sailing ships at the gates to the harbor. The gunfire from coastal artillery batteries and the sunken ships made the Northern Bay inaccessible to the enemy's naval forces.

On September 11, 1854, seven old ships (no longer in service) were sent to the bottom across the channel between the Konstaninovsky and Alexandrovsky artillery batteries: the Sizopol and Flora frigates, and the Uriil, Tri Svyatitelya, Silistriya, Selafail, and Varna ships. After autumn and winter storms, as a result of partial destruction of this barrier, a merchant vessel and the Pilad corvette were additionally scuttled in November-December in between the Konstantinovsky ravelin and Sizopol frigate, and the Gavril was sunk next to the Silistriya. Thus the total number of sailing ships on the first barrier line reached ten vessels. In February 1855, a second line of masts sticking out of the water appeared from the Mikhailovsky fort on the northern side to the Nikolayevskaya battery on the southern side. Six more vessels were sunk to the bottom: the Dvenadtsat» Apostolov, Rostislav, and Svyatoslav ships, and the frigages Kagul, Messemvriya, and Midiya.

With the help of sixteen vessels in total, two barrier lines were created. On August 27, 1855, when the defenders retreated from the Southern side, the remaining fleet was also sent to the bottom of the bay. The artillery fire from the coastal batteries and the sunken ships made Sevastopol Bay inaccessible to the British-French fleet.


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