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View of the Sevastopol port.


Coat of arms
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
Country  Ukraine
Oblast Sevastopol City Municipality
Raion Municipality
Founded 1783
 - Mayor Serhiy Kunitsyn
 - Total 1,079 km2 (416.6 sq mi)
Elevation 100 m (328 ft)
Population (2007)
 - Total 379,200
 Density 350/km2 (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

Sevastopol (Ukrainian: Севастополь, Russian: 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).[1] 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,[citation needed] 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

View of Sevastopol

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.[citation needed] 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.[2][3] 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.

Panorama Museum of 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.

Eduard Totleben Monument in Sevastopol (1909).

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[citation needed] and was administrated 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.[4]

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"[19]. 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.[5] 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.[6]

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.[citation needed]

The WE Youth Political Organization, which advocates Russian citizenship for Sevastopol residents,[7] 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 2017, 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."[8]

Etymology of the name

The ruins of an ancient Greek theatre. Chersonesos, Sevastopol.

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 [seβ̞ɑsˈtɔpɔlʲ] in Ukrainian and [sʲɪvɐsto'pəlʲ] in Russian.
  • Crimean Tatar: Aqyar
  • Turkish: Akyar and Sivastopol
  • Modern Greek: Σεβαστούπολη Sevastoupoli

Sights and monuments

View of Sevastopol and the North Shore.

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
  • Chersonessos National Archeological Reserve
  • The Panorama Museum (The Heroic Defence of Sevastopol during the Crimean War)
  • Malakhov Kurgan (Barrow) with its White Tower
  • Vladimirsky Cathedral (St. Vladimir Cathedral) on the Central Hill
  • 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[9].


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%).[10]


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

Astronaut photograph of the Sevastopol area.

According to the 1997 treaty, the Russian 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 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.[11] Moscow Mayor Yuriy Luzhkov declared that Sevastopol "should again be a Russian city" and appropriated $34 million for "the support of compatriots abroad." [12] Protests by citizens of the city caused the cancellation of a joint Ukraine-NATO military exercise in 2006.[12]

In July 2009 the Chairman of the Sevastopol city council Valeriy Saratov (Party of Regions[13]) 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.[14]

See also


Further reading

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Ukraine : Crimea : Sevastopol

Sevastopol, also known as Sebastopol, is in the Crimea, in Ukraine.

California has a city of Sebastopol, named after this one.


It is an important and historical port on the Black Sea. Founded in 1783 as the base of the Black Sea Navy of Russia, it was beseiged by the British in the Crimean War. In the 20th century it was the home port of the Soviet Navy's Black Sea Fleet, and the city retains a significant Russian naval presence.

The population is still largely ethnically Russian and the population's sympathies still lie largely with Moscow rather than Kiev. City residents have strongly protested the visit of American naval ships and Ukrainian interest in joining the NATO alliance. Russian politicians, including the Mayor of Moscow, have even suggested Crimea and specifically, Sevastopol, joining the Russian Federation. While peaceful and stable, the political orientation towards Moscow, continues to define Crimea and Sevastopol.

The major features of the city are on two streets, ul. Lenina and ul. Bolshoya Morskaya; there is a hill between them, on which is ul. Sovietska; there are numerous steps to get up and across the hill. Marshrutki tend to go up one of these streets and down the other; at the south end of ul. Lenina you can turn left to get to the train station and the bus-station.

Get around

Getting around Sevastopol, on a day to day basis, is much like getting around many Ukrainian cities -- by foot, by mini-bus (marshrutka), and by city bus. Given the hilly terrain and circuitous routes created as Sevastopol grew around its bays and shoreline, walking is less likely to be efficient, especially after one leaves the city center.

Note that English maps and schedules for buses do not appear available (based on internet searching) and that one may need to depend on the word of citizens, operators, and fellow passengers to find the right route and stop. Buses and marshrutkas are economical, though often crowded, with marshrutkas being faster and slightly more expensive. Some travel sites (e.g., contain comments recommending boats/skiffs that will take tourists to beaches and islands. Note that its much harder to get off boats if you realize you are on the wrong one and it is also difficult to leave a dicey location if the only transport is by boat.

Good road maps of the town (with street names in both Latin and Cyrillic characters) cost 7.5UAH from press kiosks.


Sevastopol is a good jumping-off place to see some of the sites from the Crimean War. There is an amazing museum called a Panorama, which depicts the siege of Sebastopol (from the Russian point of view) with a display a little like a diaorama, but much more impressive - there is a huge circular canvas of about 2000 square metres as a backdrop, and then lots of props such as cannons and models of redoubts in the foreground. It's narrated in Russian but you can hire an audioguide in English or French. Admission is about 20UAH plus 5UAH for a camera.

There is a park with war memorials on Sapun Gor nearby, though it focuses on the battles of the World War Two siege of Sevastopol. You can visit the "Valley of Death", where the famous Charge of the Light Brigade occurred, and you can also visit nearby Balaklava, site of another famous battle, and an interesting little town, formerly a Russian submarine port.

The Greek city of Chersonessus is located about three kilometres from Sebastopol, within the city centre; admission is 10UAH plus 5UAH for a camera, there is a good guidebook available from the ticket office for 15UAH. This is where Volodymyr, the first leader of the Kievan Rus to convert to Christianity, was baptised; there is a large cathedral at the spot, rebuilt in 1999 after being closed down by the Soviets in the 1920s and blown up by the Nazis in 1944. Also on the site are various Byzantine basilicas, including a famous one with marble columns, and the 'foggy bell', made of melted-down Turkish cannons in the late 1700s, which was taken to Paris after the Crimean War and returned in 1914.

There are many Soviet war memorials - Sevastopol is one of the thirteen Hero Cities of the Great Patriotic War. There is a large statue of Lenin, with soldiers, peasants and workers, on ul. Sovietska which is the spine of the main section of the city. There is a statue of Nakhimov, who defeated the Turkish fleet and masterminded the defence of Sevastopol at the time of the Crimean War, in a square at the head of the main part of the city.


You will also find, at 11 ul Lenina, the Museum of the Black Sea Fleet. It is open Wednesday to Sunday and closed for cleaning on the last Friday of every month; there is a small exhibition of Russian and Soviet weapons outside the building. A couple of doors further down ul. Lenina is the Church of the Black Sea Fleet.

In the Park Panorama sits the famous Diorama museum dedicated to the Crimean War. It features a massive diorama depicting the siege of Sevastopol by the British and French Allies. The museum was heavily bombed during WWII and meticulously restored in the 1950's. Admission is 25UAH for adults. Occasionally they offer English tours, but there is signage in English.

Ride the ferry boats crossing the bay. Common routes include those to a number of locations on the north side of town, where the best white sand beach and small airfield are. Locals use these north/south ferries to commute to and from work. Price of the ferries is only 2.5UAH (~$.70) and they travel all over the city and it is a good way to get photos of the various landmarks.

In the summer, there are numerous tented beer bars on the waterfront. It's great for watching the ships entering the bay and the beautiful and skinny scantily clad Ukrainian and Russian girls prance the boulevard in their high heels.

Please note, that Sevastopol was a closed city during the Soviet period. Residents, as in other ethnic Russian areas, are not impressed with foreigners who have no appreciation or understanding of their language and culture. Probably fewer than 30 percent of the locals have a working knowledge of English and only about ten percent of those 30 percent CARE to speak English with foreigners who display the attitude that English is the universal language. If, on the other hand, you have bothered to master a basic understanding of Russian and show a little humility, Sevastopol locals, like Russians elsewhere, will often go out of their way to communicate with you, most often by adapting their speech as if they were speaking to a five year old or whatever your level is.

Sevastopol, like most any ethnic Russian town, is a challenge, but certainly worth the attempt for all interested in its unique charm and war history.


There are lots of boutiques on Bolshoi Morskoe if you want fashionable clothes. Debit and credit cards are accepted in most shops in the city, but not accepted in markets. There are a lot of ATM machines.


The restaurant 'Rybatsky Stan' on the West side of Artillery Bay has excellent fish dishes; it's a bit expensive, perhaps 200UAH per head for a meal without wine.

Ukrainiski Shinok is an excellent authentic Ukrainian Restaurant on the basement level of the Hotel Sevastopol in the Center.

Ostroi Sushi (Eastern Sushi) is quite the landmark in the center where the ferries dock at Artillery Bay. They are also one of the few wifi spots in the city. Meals are over $20.

The McDonalds in the center is probably the most popular restaurant in the city and a hangout for many teenagers.

You should try original and real "Baklava", which is different than the Greek or Turkish versions. European soldiers fighting in the Crimean War coined the term "Baklava" while fighting in Sevastopol and neighboring Balaklav from the local fried bread coated in honey popular in the region. Hence, the name, Baklava, was imported to the West. It's a thin unleavened fried flour bread covered in honey and sold in small stores and on beaches by vendors.

The popular Pizza Celentano located in the city centre serves cheap and delicious pizzas, fruit salad, pancakes and drinks. There is a vast range of toppings to be chosen for the pizzas and pancakes. If you're lucky the staff will speak some English.


This is a major naval port, there are lots of places selling beer and other drinks scattered around the city.

  • Sevastopol Mega Hostel, V.Kychera 5, ap.. Only hostel in the city, quite central and and most staff speaks English. Rooms: $50-200/night, Dorm: ?.  edit
  • Hotel Ukraine, (across from the Panarama Park). The rooms are quite standard. $35-100/night.  edit
  • Hotel Olymp. Only about 100m from the Hotel Ukraine on a quite street, It's a nicer and newer hotel, but lacks an elevator, which is useful if lugging heavy bags up four floors. Rooms range from $75-120/night.  edit
  • Ukraine Accommodation (Sevastopol apartments), +38-067-480-65-25 (), [1]. checkin: 13-00; checkout: 12-00. Spacious and comfortable apartments in Sevastopol downtown. Some of the apartments are minutes away from the sea-side and have great sea-views. Rooms range from $60-90/night.  edit


Ostroi Sushi in the center of Artillery Bay has wireless. The Greenwich Coffee House at #15 Admiral Oktyobraskaya (~300 m West of Bolshaya Morskaya) also has wifi in a starbuck's like atmosphere.

The Main Post Office in the center on Bolshoya Morskaya has a large internet cafe. The Hotel Crimea (Gastonitza Krim) has an internet cafe that is open 24 hours a day.

None of these locations have english speaking staff.

Get out

One of the nicer beaches is located approximately 30 minutes from the city in the village of Loobeemovka. It is a sandy beach with hundreds of tourists in the summer.

The city of Balaklava is approximately 45 minutes away and popular for it's underground submarine port that is now a tourist site.

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1911 encyclopedia

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Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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Alternative spellings

  • Sebastopol (historical)


Late 18th century. From Ukrainian and Russian Севастополь (Sevastópol’), from Greek Σεβαστόπολις (Sevastopolis) < σεβαστός (sebastós), august) + πόλις (pólis), city), probably after Empress (=Augusta) Catherine II of Russia.


  • IPA: /ˌsɛvəˈstoʊpəl/, /səˈvæstəpoʊl/
  • Hyphenation: Se‧vas‧to‧pol

Proper noun




  1. A port city in the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine, base of the Black Sea Fleet.


  • Aqyar (historical)


Simple English

Sevastopol (used to be called Sebastopol) is a large sea port and city. It is in Ukraine, on the Crimean Peninsula. The city is on the Black Sea. 380.000 people live in the city. The port is shared by both the Ukrainian and Russian naval forces.

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