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Sevastopol (Ukrainian: Севастополь, Russian: Севастополь, ) (see pronunciation below) is a port city in Ukrainemarker, located on the Black Seamarker coast of the Crimeamarker peninsula. It has a population of 342,451 (2001). The city, formerly the home of the Sovietmarker Black Sea Fleet, is now home to a Ukrainian naval base and facilities leased by the Russian Navy and used as the headquarters of both the Ukrainian Naval Forces and Russia's Black Sea Fleet.

The unique geographic location and navigation conditions of the city's harbours make Sevastopol a strategically important naval point. It is also a popular seaside resort and tourist destination, mainly for visitors from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries.

The trade and shipbuilding importance of Sevastopol's Port has been growing since the fall of the Soviet Unionmarker, despite the difficulties that arise from the joint military control over its harbours and piers.

Sevastopol is also an important centre of marine biology research. In particular, studying and training of dolphins has been conducted in the city since the end of World War II. It was first conducted as a secret naval program to use the animals for special undersea operations.

Political status and subdivision

Administratively, Sevastopol is a municipality excluded from the surrounding Autonomous Republic of Crimeamarker (see Administrative divisions of Ukraine for more details). The territory of the municipality is 863.5 km² and it is further subdivided into four raions (districts). Besides the City of Sevastopol proper, it also includes 2 towns — Balaklavamarker, Inkermanmarker, urban-type settlement Kacha, and 29 villages.


Sevastopol together with Kronstadtmarker and Gibraltarmarker is one of the most famous naval citadels in Europe. It was founded in 1783 by Rear Admiral Makenzie, in Russian service, as a base for a naval squadron, when Russiamarker annexed the Crimean peninsula. Five years earlier Aleksandr Suvorov ordered that earth works be erected along the harbor and Russian troops be located there. At first the place was called by its ancient name, Akhtiar. In February 1784 Catherine II (the Great) ordered Grigory Potyomkin (Grigoriy Potemkin) to build there a fortress and call it Sevastopol. The realization of the initial building plans fell to Captain F.F. Ushakov, in 1788 named commander of the port and of the Black Sea squadron. It became an important naval base and later a commercial port. In 1797 under an edict issued by Emperor Paul I, the military stronghold was renamed Akhtiar. Finally, on April 29 (May 10), 1826, the Senate returned the city's name to Sevastopol.

One of the most notable events involving the city is the Siege of Sevastopol carried out by the Britishmarker, Frenchmarker, Sardinian, and Turkishmarker 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 had 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 created by Franz Roubaud and restored after its destruction in 1942 is housed in a specially constructed circular building in the city. It portrays the situation in the height of the siege, on 18 June 1855.

During World War II Sevastopol withstood bombardment by the Germans in 1941–1942, during the Axis siegemarker which lasted for 250 days before it fell in July 1942. The city was renamed as "Theodorichhafen" in 1942. It was liberated by the Red Army on May 9, 1944 and was awarded with the Hero City title a year later.

In 1957, the town of Balaklavamarker was incorporated into Sevastopol.

During the Sovietmarker 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. It was directly subordinate to the central Russian SFSR authorities rather than the local oblast and later (after 1978) to the Ukrainian SSR administration.

On July 10, 1993 the Russian parliament passed a resolution declaring Sevastopol to be "a federal Russian city". At the time many supporters of then President Yeltsin had ceased taking part in the Parliaments work. In May 1997, Russia and Ukraine signed the "Peace & Friendship" treaty ruling out Moscow's territorial claims to Ukraine.

Like in the rest of the Crimeamarker, Russian remains the predominant language in the city, although following the independence of Ukrainemarker there have been some attempts at Ukrainization that have had very little success. government-appointed administration retains formal control of Sevastopol's life (such as of taxation and civil policing) and tries to avoid confrontation with the Black Sea base command and pro-Russian groups. A few years ago, the Communist-dominated city council rejected a EBRD loan to renovate Sevastopol's poor sewage system, declaring that the project was intended to increase the city's dependence on the Ukrainian government and the West.

The WE Youth Political Organization, which advocates Russian citizenship for Sevastopol residents, published a poll in 2004 claiming "72% of the Sevastopol citizens support the idea of the independent status of Crimea... Besides, 95% of the respondents support the constant stationing of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol even after 2017, when the time of the corresponding agreement between Russia and Ukraine is up. Also, 100% of the interrogated people are for the accordance of the having a double citizenship, Russian and Ukrainian, right to the Sevastopol citizens. Although it is notable those in case of obtaining the Russian citizenship only 16% of the Sevastopol citizens are ready to give up the Ukrainian one."

Etymology of the name

The name of Sevastopolis (Modern , old-fashioned Σεβαστούπολις, Sevastoupolis), or currently Sevastopol, was originally chosen in the same etymological trend as other cities in the Crimean peninsula that was intended to reflect its ancient Greek origins. It is a compound of two Greek nouns, (sebastós, Modern sevastós) "venerable, reverend" and (pólis) "city". is the traditional Greek translation of the honourable Roman title Augustus "venerable, august", originally given to the first emperor of the Roman Empire, G. Julius Caesar Octavianus and later awarded as a title to his successors (see Augustus).

Despite its Greek origin, the name is not old. The city was probably named after the Empress (= "Augusta") Catherine II of Russiamarker who founded Sevastopol in 1783. She visited the city in 1787 accompanied by Joseph II, the Emperor of Austria, and other foreign dignitaries.In the west of the city there are well-preserved ruins of an ancient Greek port city Chersonesosmarker founded in the 5th c. BC. The name means "peninsula" reflecting its location and is not related to the ancient Greek name for the Crimean Peninsula, Chersonēsos Taurikē ("the Taurian Peninsula").

Orthography and pronunciation of the name

  • In English, the current prevalent spelling of the name is Sevastopol. The spelling Sebastopol was also formerly used. In English it is or .
  • , in Ukrainian and in Russian.
  • Modern Sevastoupoli

Sights and monuments

After World War II, Sevastopol was entirely rebuilt. Many top architects and civil engineers from Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev and other cities and thousands of workers from all parts of the USSR took part in the rebuilding process which was mostly finished by the mid-1950s. The downtown core situated on a peninsula between two narrow inlets, South Bay and Artillery Bay, features mostly Mediterranean-style, three-story residential buildings with columned balconies and Venetian-style arches, with retail and commercial spaces occupying the ground level. Some carefully restored landmarks date back to the early 20th c. (e.g., the Art Nouveau Main Post Office on Bolshaya Morskaya St and the Art Museum on Nakhimovsky Prospect). It has been a long-time tradition for the residents of surrounding suburbs to spend summer evenings by coming to the downtown area for a leisurely stroll with their families along the avenues and boulevards encircling the Central Hill, under the famous Sevastopol chestnut trees, and usually ending up on the waterfront with its famous Marine Boulevard.

Due to its military history, most streets in the city are named after Russian and Soviet military heroes. There are hundreds of monuments and plaques in various parts of Sevastopol commemorating its military past.

Attractions list

Diorama Storm of Sapun Mountain on May 7, 1944 Museum


There are many historical buildings in the central and eastern parts of the city and Balaklava, some of which are architectural monuments. The Western districts have modern architecture. More recently, numerous skyscrapers have been built. Balaklava Bayfront Plaza, currently under construction, will be one of the tallest buildings in Ukraine, at 173 metres with 43 floors.


The population of Sevastopol proper is 342,451 (2001), making it the 15th largest city in Ukrainemarker and the largest in Crimeamarker. City agglomeration has population 961,885 (2008). According to the Ukrainian National Census, 2001, the ethnic groups of Sevastopol include Russians (71.6%), Ukrainians (22.4%), Belarusians (1.6%), Tatars (0.7%), Crimean Tatars (0.5%), Armenians (0.3%), Jews (0.3%), Moldovans (0.2%), and Azerbaijanis (0.2%).


Apart from navy-related civil facilities, Sevastopol hosts some other notable industries, such as "Phiolent" - Ukraine's largest power tools manufacturer and Stroitel one of the leading plastics manufacturers in Ukraine.

City Honor Board for distinguished people, best enterprises and district


There are 7 types of transport in Sevastopol:
  • Bus - 337 routes
  • Trolleybus - 19 routes
  • Minibus - 52 routes
  • Cutter - 18 routes
  • Ferry - 1 route
  • Express-bus - 15 routes
  • HEV-train - 1 route

Russian naval base and ownership dispute

According to the 1997 treaty, the Russianmarker naval base is declared to be "located in Sevastopol" on the terms of a twenty year renewable lease, following a long diplomatic and political dispute between Russia and the newly independent Ukrainemarker. At first, Moscow refused to recognize Ukrainian sovereignty over Sevastopol as well as over the surrounding Crimeanmarker oblast, arguing that the city was never practically integrated into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic due to its military base status. This claim has been relinquished in the bilateral "Peace & Friendship" treaty, which has confirmed that Sevastopol belongs to Ukraine. A separate treaty establishes the terms of a long-term lease of land and resources in Sevastopol by Russia.

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. The two navies now co-use some of the city's harbours and piers, while others were demilitarised or used by either country. Sevastopol remains the home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet Headquarters with the Ukrainian Naval HQ also based in the city. A judicial row continues over the naval hydrographic infrastructure both in Sevastopol and on the Crimean coast (especially lighthouses historically maintained by the Soviet/Russian Navy and also used for civil navigation support).

The status of the Black Sea Fleet has a strong influence over the city's business and cultural life. The Russian society in general and even some outspoken government representatives have never accepted the loss of Sevastopol, and tend to regard it as temporarily separated from the homeland. Moscow Mayor Yuriy Luzhkov declared that Sevastopol "should again be a Russian city" and appropriated $34 million for "the support of compatriots abroad." Protests by citizens of the city caused the cancellation of a joint Ukraine-NATOmarker military exercise in 2006.

The current President and Ukrainian government have no intention of renewing the Russian naval leasehold supporting the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol and the Crimea.

In July 2009 the Chairman of the Sevastopol city council Valeriy Saratov (Party of Regions) stated that Ukraine should increase the amount of compensation paid to Sevastopol for hosting the Russianmarker Black Sea Fleet in the city.

See also


Further reading

External links

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