Totally rebuilt following the Second World War, Sevastopol boasts a wealth of attractions related to both this devastating period in its history and also to its rich naval past. A river cruise along The Dnieper offers a great opportunity to explore this historic city for yourself, which enjoys a commanding position on the coast of the Black Sea in the Crimean Peninsula region. Though settlements in the area can be traced back as far as the sixth century with Greek colonisation, the city itself was founded in 1783 as a naval base and since then, its strategic position has ensured it a prominent role in a number of historical conflicts.
Sevastopol’s war-related landmarks are one of the main reasons why so many people visit the city and one of the most popular is Balaclava Bay, which was once the home of a secret marine base, which dates back to the time of the Cold War. Only certain sections are open to tourists but even so, they offer a compelling look at the naval history of this fascinating era. The bay is home to more than just the base and today, is more the preserve of craft which ride above the waves, being home to many yachts owned by visitors from all over the world. There’s also a beach which offers plenty of opportunity for relaxation, swimming or kayak rides.
The 35 Battery Museum and the Panorama Museum are two other key wartime attractions, owing to the fact that they document the city’s role in a key Second World War conflict, the Siege of Sevastopol, when Russian forces defended the strategic port against invading Axis powers. The Panorama Museum certainly lives up to its name, offering a truly immersive experience with its lifelike depiction of the Siege a must-see in the city.
Sevastopol is not all about war however and peaceful respite can be found in a number of its landmark faith buildings. Pokrovskiy Cathedral and St Volodymyr Cathedral are both architecturally ornate places of worship to be found in the city, while the Assumption Monastery is cut into the very rock of the Crimean Mountains and dates back hundreds of years. Though it is still in use by the monks it’s still possible to explore significant portions of the monastery, a number of which are atmospheric caves cut into the rock.
Once a city in its own right, Balaklava lies close to Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula and is now part of the city. The harbour of the same name which it overlooks is a popular tourist attraction with visitors to the region and one of the best ways to drink in the view is by way of a visit to Cembalo Fortress. Dating back to the time of Genoese occupation, it’s now little more than a ruin but is full of atmosphere and offers some fantastic views.
It’s important to bring cash to Sevastopol as few places accept credit or debit cards. Owing to its coastal location, Sevastopol is a great place to sample fish dishes as well as traditional Ukrainian favourites.