Sevastopol ( Russian: Севастополь; Ukrainian: Севастополь; Crimean Tatar: Aqyar) ( see pronunciation below) is a port city in Ukraine, located on the Black Sea coast of the Crimea peninsula. It has a population of 342,451 (2001). The city, formerly the home of the Soviet 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. In 1993 the city was a major territorial dispute between the Russian Federation and Ukraine (see more information). Even after signing a friendship treaty the debate over the status of the city still continues almost 20 years later. 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 Union, 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 Crimea (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 — Balaklava, Inkerman, urban-type settlement Kacha, and 29 villages.
Sevastopol together with Kronstadt and Gibraltar 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 Russia 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 (1854–1855) carried out by the British, French, Sardinian, and Turkish 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 originally was created by Franz Roubaud. Later after its destruction in 1942 during the span of WWII it was restored and is being 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 siege which lasted for 250 days before it fell in July 1942. During the German occupation the city was renamed as "Theodorichhafen" in 1942 and was administered by the Wehrmacht jurisdiction as the rest of the Crimea for the future colonization by Greater Germany. 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 Balaklava was incorporated into Sevastopol. During the Soviet 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 December 11, 1992 the President of Ukraine called the attempt of "the Russian deputies to charge the Russian parliament with a task to define the status of Sevastopol as an imperial disease". On December 17, 1992 the office of the Ukrainian presidential representative in Crimea was created, which caused a wave of protests a month later. Among the protesters that created the unsanctioned rally were the Sevastopol branches of the National Salvation Front, the Russian Popular Assembly, and the All-Crimean Movement of the Voters for the Republic of Crimea. The protest was held in Sevastopol on January 10 at the Nakhimov Square. 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. On April 14, 1993 the Presidium of the Crimean parliament called for the creation of the presidential post of the Crimean Republic. A week later the Russian deputy, Valentin Agafonov, stated that Russia is ready to supervise the referendum on Crimean independence and include the republic as a separate entity in the CIS. On July 28, 1993 one of the leaders of the Russian Society of Crimea, Viktor Prusakov, stated that his organization is ready for an armed mutiny and establishment of the Russian administration in Sevastopol. In September Eduard Baltin accused Ukraine of converting some of his fleet and conducting an armed assault on his personnel, and threatened to take countermeasures of placing the fleet on alert. 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 Crimea, Russian remains the predominant language in the city, although following the independence of Ukraine 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 Fleet 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. The Crimea is an autonomous Republic within Ukraine. Besides, 95% of the respondents support the constant stationing of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol even after 2045, when the time of the corresponding agreement between Russia and Ukraine is up. Also, 100% of those polled are for the having the option for citizens of Sevastopol of dual citizenship, Russian and Ukrainian. It is notable, however, that of those expressing a desire to be able to obtain 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 Greek: Σεβαστούπολη, Sevastoupoli, 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, σεβαστός ( sebastós, Modern sevastós) ('venerable') and πόλις ( pólis) ('city'). Σεβαστός is the traditional Greek translation of the honourable Roman title Augustus ('venerable'), 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 Russia 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 Chersonesos 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 pronounced /ˌsɛvəˈstoʊpəl/ or /səˈvæstəpoʊl/.
- Ukrainian and Russian: Севастополь, pronounced in Ukrainian and in Russian.
- Crimean Tatar: Aqyar
- Turkish: Akyar and Sivastopol
- Modern Greek: Σεβαστούπολη 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.
- Chersonessos National Archeological Reserve
- The Panorama Museum (The Heroic Defence of Sevastopol during the Crimean War)
- Malakhov Kurgan (Barrow) with its White Tower
- Admirals' Burial Vault
- The Sunken Ships Monument on the Marine Boulvard
- The Black Sea Fleet Museum
- The Sturm of Sapun Mount of May 7, 1944, the Diorama Museum ( World War II)
- Brotherhood (Communal) War Cemetery
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 Ukraine and the largest in Crimea. 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.
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 Russian naval base is 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 Ukraine. At first, Moscow refused to recognize Ukrainian sovereignty over Sevastopol as well as over the surrounding Crimean 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. 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- NATO military exercise in 2006. In July 2009 the Chairman of the Sevastopol city council Valeriy Saratov ( Party of Regions ) stated that Ukraine should increase the amount of compensation it is paying to the city of Sevastopol for hosting the foreign Russian Black Sea Fleet, instead of requesting such obligations from the Russian government and the Russian Ministry of Defense in particular. On April 27, 2010 Russia and Ukraine ratified a new treaty extending the Russian navy's lease of the Sevastopol base for 25 years after 2017 with an option to further prolong the lease for five additional years. The ratification process in the Ukrainian parliament encountered stiff opposition and erupted into a brawl in the parliament chamber. Eventually the treaty was ratified by a 236 out of 450 majority. The Russian Duma ratified the treaty by a 98% majority without incident. .
Map of Ukraine with Sevastopol highlighted Coordinates: 44°36′0″N 33°31′48″E / 44.6°N 33.53°E / 44.6; 33.53 Coordinates: 44°36′0″N 33°31′48″E / 44.6°N 33.53°E / 44.6; 33.53 Country Ukraine Oblast Sevastopol City Municipality Raion Municipality Founded 1783 Government - Mayor Valeriy Saratov Area - Total 1,079 km 2 (416.6 sq mi) Elevation 100 m (328 ft) Population (2007) - Total 379,200 - Density 350/km 2 (906.5/sq mi) Time zone EET ( UTC+2) - Summer ( DST) EEST ( UTC+3) Postal code 99000—99699 Area code(s) +380-692 License plate CH Website http://sev.gov.ua/en/