A silhouette of the early twentieth century warship is markedly noticeable in Petrogradskaya embankment of St. Petersburg. It is a unique monument of the history of Russia and its Navy, a museum ship – the legendary cruiser Aurora.
This ship happened to become a witness and participant of many controversial events of the intricate history of XX century. The cruiser took part in three wars, became an active participant of the revolutionary events of February-October 1917 and was a “smithy” in training of several generations of naval officers. This famous ship has seen many great people.
Having joined the fleet of warships of the Russian Imperial Navy in 1903, the cruiser honourably carried the flag of St. Andrew and subsequently — the Naval flag of the USSR — across many seas and oceans of the world.
The cruiser Aurora is a participant of the 2nd Pacific Squadron march to the Far East, unprecedented in the world history, a witness of the Battle of Tsushima on May 14-15, 1905, tragic for the Russian Navy, a member of the First World War in the Baltic Sea and a defender of Leningrad in the years of the Great Patriotic War.
The ship, after healing the war wounds, was placed for eternal moorage at Petrogradskaya embankment in 1948, opposite Leningrad Nakhimov Naval School instituted four years earlier. The Aurora became a training base for the college cadets. The future naval officers received basic maritime skills there. In 1950, a ship museum was set up on the cruiser. On July 5, 1956, in accordance with a directive of the Commander-In-Chief of the Navy, a branch of the Central Naval Museum was set up on the Aurora. The first head of the branch was an honoured naval officer, Captain 2nd Rank, B.V. Burkovsky who supervised the work of the museum for more than twenty years.
The cruiser Aurora was included in the list of monuments protected by the state by a resolution of RSFSR Council of Ministers as of August 30, 1960.
In the years 1984-1987, the cruiser Aurora underwent major repairs and restoration at Leningrad Shipyard named after A.A. Zhdanov (now Severnaya Verf Shipyard, JSC). The ship became a host of exposition dedicated to the revolutionary and militant past of the legendary cruiser, placed in six halls. The museum became one of the most popular places of Leningrad visited by the residents and guests of the city, including numerous foreign delegations and foreign tourists. To date, the Aurora and the museum exhibition halls have been visited by about thirty million people from almost all countries of the world. The guestbook commenced as early as 1924 contains comments of the national and foreign public and political leaders, astronauts, prominent figures of science, culture, art, representatives of the public.
The inclusion of Cruiser Aurora in the Golden Book of St. Petersburg as a historical monument of the maritime capital of Russia and the Navy was a sign of well-deserved appreciation of the legendary ship. The cruiser Aurora is included in the International Association of Museum Ships.
In 2016, the Aurora found a new life after a nearly two-year overhaul at Kronstadt Shipyard.
The cruiser Aurora today is a waterborne ship with the operating systems and mechanisms securing its service life for 20 days in the stand-alone mode. In fact, after becoming a ship-museum, it has retained a number of features of the operable warship. The ship has a military crew headed by the commander who provides for due operation of the cruiser and its proper technical condition.
Today, after the repairs and the recreation of the exposition, the cruiser Aurora, is, as before, one of the most visited museums of St. Petersburg — the city where this great ship was built and where the most of its service for the benefit of the Motherland took place.
The country’s leadership has made a huge contribution in the organization and implementation of repair work on the cruiser Aurora. On the Navy Day — July 31, 2016 — the cruiser Aurora that had returned to the place of eternal mooring after the overhaul was visited by Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Federation President V.V. Putin and the Russian Defence Minister S.K. Shoigu.
May 11, 1900 — launched.
July 16, 1903 — commissioned for the Baltic Fleet.
1905 — participated in the Battle of Tsushima.
1906-1914 — set off for long-distance foreign campaigns as a training ship.
1914-1916 — took part in military operations in the Baltic Sea during the First World War.
1916-1918 — underwent overhaul at the Franco-Russian plant in Petrograd.
October 25-26 (November 7-8 — new style), 1917 — the cruiser seamen took part in the October armed uprising in Petrograd.
1918-1923 — was in the reserve.
1923-1941 — combat training ship, a smithy of staff for the Navy.
November 2, 1927 — the cruiser Aurora was awarded the Order of the Red Banner by Decree of USSR Central Executive Committee.
1944-1948 — the ship underwent renovation and re-equipment as a training base of Leningrad Nakhimov Naval School.
November 17, 1948 — the cruiser Aurora was placed for eternal moorage at Petrogradskaya embankment in Leningrad as a monument to active participation of the Baltic Fleet seamen in the overthrow of the Provisional Government.
Up to 1956, she ship was used as a training base of Leningrad Nakhimov Naval School.
In 1956, a ship museum was opened on the cruiser Aurora as a branch of the Central Naval Museum.
The cruiser Aurora was placed under state protection as a monument of history and revolution by the resolution No. 1327 of RSFSR Council of Ministers as of August 30, 1960.
In 1961, the cruiser Aurora was transferred to Leningrad naval base due to reorganization of Nakhimov Naval School.
The cruiser Aurora was awarded the Order of October Revolution by decree of the Presidium of USSR Supreme Council as of February 22, 1968.
August 18, 1984 — transferred for repairs to Leningrad Shipyard named after A.A. Zhdanov.
August 16, 1987 — took its place of eternal moorage at Petrogradskaya embankment again.
December 1, 2010 — was assigned to Central Naval Museum as a historical monument.
May 2013 — recommissioned for the Navy.
June 4, 2013 — Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation approved a technical assignment for the overhaul of the cruiser Aurora. The objective is renovation of the technical condition of cruiser Aurora for its use as a museum ship.
September 21, 2014 — transferred to Kronstadt Shipyard for overhaul.
July 16, 2016 – returned to its place of eternal moorage at Petrogradskaya embankment.