George Page
Micha Jelisavcic
John Sloan


The full name of the museum is "Museum of the Heroic Defense and Liberation of Sevastopol." As such its perview encompasses all the military history of Sevastopol and Crimea including not only the Great Eastern War but also the Great Fatherland (Second World) War. It has several subsidiary sites including the Malakov Kurgan and the diorama at Sapun Gor. The centerpiece of this museum, however, is the marvelous 360 degree panorama depicting the height of the siege during the assault on 6 June of 1855. The author of this immense art work was Frants Alekseyevich Rubo, a professor of fine arts at the Petrograd Akademi of art. To accomplish this huge undertaking Rubo visited Sevastopol in 1901 and studied the location and documents and interviewed eye-witnesses. Then he prepared the outline for the work in Petersburg. He took this material to Munich Germany where the painting was completed with the assistance of artists Shenkin, Merte, Frosh and 20 art students at the Bavarian academy. The 14 by 115 meter painting was completed by fall of 1904. The work was opened to the public on 14 May 1905 for the 50th anniversary of the battle. Among the first viewers were veterans of the war. On 25 June 1942 during the massive German bombing and artillery shelling of the city the museum building was hit. The majority of the painting (86 separate sections) was saved from fire by soldiers and sailors during a two hour rescue battle. On the night of 27 June the remaining sections of the painting were shipped out of the besieged city on the last ship, the Tashkent, along with 2000 wounded, women and children. The commander, V. N. Yeroshenko, managed to bring the ship through German bombing to Novorossiisk. After the end of the war restoration of the work was among the priorities for artistic work. A group of famous artists under the direction of V. N. Yakovlyev, and after his death, under P. Pl Sokolov-Skalya. They were advised by Admiral Professor I. S. Isakov and Candidate in military art, A. N. Kuz'min. Fortunately they also had photographs and the original artist's cartoons, and other documents. But they also added some incidents to the composition. The museum was reopened to the public on 16 October 1954 in honor of the 100th anniversary of the war.


One cannot reproduce the psychological effect on the viewer how stands in the center of this immense work of art. Moreover, the museum has thousands of artifacts in addition to this central panorama. As a start to an appreciation and to encourage visits, here are a few photos taken at the great Museum of the Heroic Defense of Sevastopol. Currently the museum has embarked on an ambitious project to place its holdings in computer data bases so they can be accessed by historians world- wide. For information about this project or any other questions about visiting Sevastopol please contact Dr. Krestiyannikov.

We have more about this excellent museum, the Malakov Kurgan, the various bastions in the city defense works and the city at Sevastopol. For information about visits to Sevastopol please contact Xenophon.
A view of the assaulting French troops to the south east (that is to the right when facing the front toward the center of the enemy lines) of the Malakov bastion. Southeast direction
A view directly east into the center of the enemy lines, where the British were located. East direction
A view to the west, back into the city behind the defensive positions. From this view it is evident that when the allies captured this key terrain they could direct artillery fire into the city. This forced the Russians to evacuate promptly. View into city
A map depicting the location of the Allied military camps surrounding Sevastopol. Note how spread out they were. This map is in a special exhibition of artifacts from these allied camps and siege works prepared by our gracious host and guide, Pavel Lyashuk. Map of allied camps.
A display of artifacts associated with the allied armies. Display
A display of allied military decorations awarded for service in the war. Medals
A close up of the reconstruction of the rampart and embrasures with cannon at the bastion surrounding the museum.Cannon.
Painting of Sevastopol harbor. Painting.
Bust of Admiral Nakhimov outside the museum.
Bust of Admiral Kornilov outside the museum.
Bust of Admiral Istomin outside the museum.
Bust of Admiral Melnikov outside the museum.
Painting of the siege inside the Museum of the Black Sea Fleet. Painting.
Bust of Admiral Istomin in the Museum of the Black Sea Fleet. Bust.
Bust of Admiral Nakhimov in the Museum of the Black Sea Fleet. Bust 2.
To return to the Xenophon main page please click here. From the Crimea you can reach sections on the battles at Alma, Inkerman and Balaklava. For many views of the city of Sevastopol, please go here.