/ The St. Petersburg Guide
St Petersburg — By Ivan Stupachenko on April 20, 2010 at 3:17 pm
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Cruiser Aurora: Warship Number One in Russia

Every Soviet pupil till the USSR’s collapse in 1991 knew the name of the most prominent warship in the country: Cruiser Aurora. It was so called “Ship №1″ of the Soviet navy.

Now it’s a museum, but Aurora was given this honor not only because of its military achievements which, to be honest, were not outstanding, though the ship, undoubtedly, contributed to the performance of Russia in the wars in 1904-1905 and WWI. It was not then the USSR, but a Russia governed by the Romanov’s monarchy family.

What brought the fame to the cruiser was the Great October Revolution in 1917, which led to the fall of the temporary government (that had replaced the fallen monarchy) and gave the power to the bolsheviks. On October, 25 (now it’s November, 7) one of the Aurora’s guns shot, and that was a signal for soldiers, marimen and workers to conquer the Winter Palace where the government was conducting a meeting.

This way the warship became the symbol of the Revolution and in 1956 was turned into a museum that was of great symbolic importance for promoting Soviet ideology.

Now Aurora is a branch of the Museum of the history of  the Russian navy and is happy to host visitors, though most of tourists prefer seeing such highly-promoted venues like the Hermitage or The Russian museum.

What’s interesting is that Aurora is so far a warship that is managed by the Ministry of defense, not by the Ministry of culture. It means that you visit very old, but still active warship. Of course, Aurora cannot go any more, it stands on a concrete postament. And yes, its being served by military men, consisting of seamen and officers, not by civilian personnel.  A bit weird, maybe, but explainable: still the number one in Russia.

Highly recommended: a panoramic view from a site on the embankment where the ship stands.

Address: the Petrovskaya embankment, not far from the Peter and Paul fortress.

Open: 10.30-16.00, every day except Friday and Monday.

Tickets: 200 roubles.

Photo credit: www.wikipedia.com

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