Sevastopol

The USA has Norfolk Virginia and San Diego

The UK has Portsmouth and Scarpa Flow

The USSR had Murmansk and….

Sevastopol.

A monumental city….inasmuch as I have never seen so many monuments crammed into one city.

One of the great naval ports of the world, Sevastopol has been at the centre of the ‘Great Game’ of international politics and war since the mid 19th century.

Coveted by the Russian, French, British, and Ottoman Empires, then later Hitler’s Germany, the city has been the backdrop for sieges, battles, determined last stands, personal heroics, and fatal military blunders; Florence Nightingale; the siege of Sevastopol, the Charge of the Light Brigade…they are all a part of the history of Greater Sevastopol and the Crimea.

During the Great Patriotic War the city fell to the Nazis after a 250 day siege before finally being retaken 2 years later by the Red Army in the final retreat of Nazi Germany off Soviet soil.

Since the dissolution of the USSR the base has been a source of diplomatic friction between the Ukrainian and Russian governments, especially with regards to renewing a long term lease for the Russian navy.

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The population is nearly 60% ethnic Russian and regular calls for Crimea to be re-incorporated under Russian sovereignty, or at least some autonomous status are aired.

Due to the Russian naval history and presence here, there are monuments of every stripe:

Particular battles

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Particular Admirals

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Particular branches of the Naval Forces

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…in addition to the usual memorials for the 1941-45 war and others celebrating the Navy in general….

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Not to mention the city received the highest Soviet honour: Hero City of the Soviet Union.

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Sevastopol is situated on a number of bays and inlets and it’s the more obscure bay about 10km from the city which has some of the most interesting features….

The cliffs are honeycombed with these huge excavations where munitions and materiel were stored and radar and anti aircraft missile batteries operated….most were to far away to photograph except for these ones……


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I made camp on the beach….

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Where after nearly 11,000km, the kayak finally got wet!

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….and my day ended with glorious views of the bay….

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…of the local fishermen….

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…and finally the sunset….

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