© istock/SCQBJ-JZ
© istock/SCQBJ-JZ

Cruiser Aurora, a famous battleship of Saint Petersburg

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Cruiser Aurora is a famous battleship whose name was known to every child in post-Soviet countries thanks to the famous song and an important role it played during the Revolution in Russia. Now, after all the historical ups and downs, and the period of refurbishment, it is possible to visit famous Cruiser Aurora in Saint Petersburg, as a museum.

The early days of Cruiser Aurora

© istock/pwmotion
© istock/pwmotion

Cruiser Aurora was built back in 1897 at the New Admiralty shipyard. Emperor Nicholas II of Russia personally named it after the Roman goddess of dawn. The cruiser was launched in 1900 and soon was sent to the Far East, where Cruiser Aurora took part in the Battle of Tsushima Strait during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). After that, upon its return back to the Baltic Sea, Cruiser Aurora served as a training ship.

It also took an active part in World War I, when it served as a scene for some important events. It all started on February 27 (Julian calendar) with the uprising in which the captain was killed, and the superior officer seriously injured. When the crew members learnt that there was the February Bourgeois Democratic Revolution (Julian calendar: Feb. 23 - Mar. 3) happening, they raised a red flag at Cruiser Aurora, and some of them joined the others in the city, getting ashore. 

Later, in October that year, the determining shot, which announced the start of the Great October Socialist Revolution, was made on Cruiser Aurora. It was a signal to start assaulting the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg (back then called Petrograd), the seat of the Provisional Government, now hosting Hermitage Museum. This moment found its place in history, and that is why Cruiser Aurora is so well known for many generations.

Its recent history

© istock/Konstantin Aksenov
© istock/Konstantin Aksenov

Later, Cruiser Aurora served as a battleship during the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945). After that, the cruiser underwent restoration and was used as a base for training the pupils of the Nakhimov Naval School, close to which it was placed. In 1950, some veteran enthusiasts decided to create a museum based on Cruiser Aurora and starting from 1961, it was no longer used for training, as it became a branch of the Naval Museum.

Another massive restoration was undertaken in the 1980s. In particular, all the interior rooms were re-planned, some equipment refurbished and renovated according to modern standards. 

In 2016, it was again placed back to its former place.

If you decide to visit Cruiser Aurora Museum, take into account it is located not very close to any metro stations, so it definitely would be quite a long walk. And it is better to visit it together with Peter and Paul Fortress, as it is on the same bank of Neva River, although you will need to cross some bridges. Cruiser Aurora Museum is open every day from 11 am until 6 pm, except for Mondays and Tuesdays. 

Peter and Paul Fortress, Saint Petersburg
Peter and Paul Fortress, Saint Petersburg
St Petersburg, Russia, 197046

Cruiser Aurora in Saint Petersburg will be interesting for those who love history or are curious about seamanship. Anyway, this extraordinary and famous battleship breathes history, and if you have more time in the Northern capital of Russia, just do not miss the opportunity to visit it.

Cruiser Aurora, Saint Petersburg
Cruiser Aurora, Saint Petersburg
Petrogradskaya embankment, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 197046

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The author

Maria Selezneva

Maria Selezneva

Hi, I am Maria, or Masha, as Russian speaking people call me. I’m your local guide for must-sees as well as off-the-beaten-track places in Moscow and St. Petersburg. I’ll show you my favourite destinations in both cities, where you can feel the true spirit of local traditions.

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