Grafskaya Quay is the main ceremonial wharf of Sevastopol, a peculiar emblem of the city, a landmark. It’s located in central part of the city on shores of the Southern Bay. Grafskaya Bay forms the naval façade of Sevastopol and represents one of the most important architectural dominants of its central part.
Grafskaya Quay is the main ceremonial wharf of Sevastopol, a peculiar emblem of the city, a landmark. It’s located in central part of the city on shores of the Southern Bay. It was constructed together with the very first buildings of Sevastopol. Initially it was a simple boat wharf. And in June 1783 a new portico ”of stone was constructed within a bit more than a month”, as admiral Dmitry Senyavin wrote. In 1787, before visit of Catherine II to Sevastopol, a broad stone staircase was built together with a wharf. In honor of visit made by Catherine II, the quay was named Ekaterininskkya (literary: Catherine’s Quay).
This official name was stubbornly rejected by citizenry of Sevastopol, as well as its another official name before the Great Patriotic War – ‘Quay of the III International’. Instead the name of Grafskaya (from Russian word “graf” meaning “earl” or “count”) settled firmly down.
The name Grafskaya is connected with count Marco Voinovic who was second commander (after Thomas MacKenzie) of Sevastopol naval squadron (within 1786-1790). Voinovic use to go aboard his boat at this quay. In 1830 Grafskaya Quay was decorated with stone staircase, and in 1837 military engineer John Upton created a design of colonnades and pavilions.
The quay is built in Greek Revival architecture style. This monumental structure consists of a wooden wharf, two rows of massive columns made of Inkerman limestone and forming a main entrance. These columns bear an entablature crowned with attic which bears the construction year – 1846.
A wide granite staircase with parapets leads from the colonnade to the sea. The parapets are decorated with sculptures of lying lions made by famous Italian sculptor Fernando Felicio. Two antique-styled statues made by the same craftsman from Genoa are installed in niches in the colonnade and face the sea. Appearance of Grafskaya Quay is majestic, but at the same time not complex, and is classically noble.
Many memorable events of Sevastopol’s history are connected with Grafskaya Quay. During the Siege of 1854-1855, Grafskaya was the main point from where ammunition, inventory and food supplies were delivered to all bastions, and it was a place of connection with the North Side. There are two memorial plaques hanging above sculptures to both sides of the colonnade. The left plaque reminds that in 1853 Grafskaya was a place where victorious admiral Pavel Nakhimov was greeted after the Sinop Battle. The right memorial plaque tells us that in November 1905, lieutenant Pyotr Schmidt left Grafskaya and went aboard cruiser “Ochakov” to lead the uprising of the Black Sea Fleet warships. On a supporting wall to the right of the wharf, there is a memorial plaque reading: “Here, on 12 November 1941, cruiser ‘Chervona Ukraina’ (literary: “The Red Ukraine”) was destroyed in a battle with far superior enemy”. The cruiser was destroyed by German aerial attacks; its crew went ashore and continued fighting in outskirts of Sevastopol.
Grafskaya Quay continues to be the main landing place of the city even today. Its broad staircase greets the welcomed guests of Sevastopol. Following a tradition, veterans of the Great Patriotic War still meet here in memorial dates and holidays of Victory and liberation of Sevastopol.
And numerous visitors, tourists, and citizens of Sevastopol come here to observe the wonderful views of the sea unveiled from Grafskaya Quay.