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Panorama of 1854–1855 Sevastopol Defenses

Панорама «Оборона Севастополя 1854–1855 годов»
Александр Железняк
Панорама «Оборона Севастополя 1854–1855 годов»
Александр Железняк
Панорама «Оборона Севастополя 1854–1855 годов»
Александр Железняк

The panorama of 1854–1855 defenses of Sevastopol is one of the 60 largest panoramas in the world.

Its author was Frantz Alekseevich Rubo, a Russian artist, academician, and leader of the military painting studio of the Imperial Academy of Arts. The work was created under his supervision in 1902–1904 by a group of German artists in a suburb of Munich. The panorama's opening in 1905 was devoted to the 50th anniversary of the heroic defense. The realistic nature of the exhibit was noted by veterans of the Crimean War who were some of its first visitors. The exhibit displays the events of June 6, 1855 when the besieged Russians repelled six attacks of the French assault on the Malakoff Kurgan Ridge. The assault was a complete failure.

On June 25, 1942, the building of the panorama was destroyed by bombing and artillery bombardment. Only the heroic actions of soldiers and sailors who rushed into the fire helped save 86 fragments of the canvas that, along with the wounded, women and children, were taken to Novorossiysk on the frigate Tashkent. However, the cargo hold with the precious burden was flooded and two thirds of the panorama was not subject to restoration.

After the war ended, a group of artists led by member of the Academy of Fine Arts, Vasily Yakovlev and then Pavel Sokolov-Skal worked on the restoration of the masterpiece. Soviet Admiral, Professor Isakov and A.N. Kuzmin, Candidate of Military Sciencesб acted as experts. From October 16, 1954, the panorama was again open for general viewing.  

As a work of art, the Sevastopol Panorama comprises an enormous painting (circumferential length — 115 meters, height — 14 meters) supplemented by the object elevation (with the area of about 1,000 square meters), located in a cylindrical building with a viewing platform in the center.

The building of the panorama (38 meters in diameter and 36 meters high) dominates the Korabelnaya and Central Portions of Sevastopol, and can be easily seen when entering the city from the mainland and marine routes. Its majesty is perceived when viewed both close up and from afar.

The panorama is devoted to the heroism of defenders of Sevastopol during the period of the Oriental (Crimean) War of 1853–1856. This war was the largest pan-European military campaign of the 19th century. The warring parties were Russia, confronted by Turkey, Great Britain, France and the Kingdom of Sardinia (Italy) that had created a military alliance against it.

The militant parties fought for the redistribution of spheres of influence in Europe, the Caucasus, the Middle East, Southwest Asia, and Asia Minor. However, starting from the fall of 1854, the main efforts of the Allies were concentrated against Crimea in order to destroy the Black Sea Fleet and its main base at Sevastopol. The doom of the heroic city at the southern border of the Russian Empire astounded the world: its defenders repelled the attacks of the strongest European armies for 349 days.

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Address: Sevastopol, Istoricheskiy Boulevard, 1

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