The Monument to the Scuttled Warships
The Monument to the Scuttled Warships was erected in Sevastopol in 1905 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Defense of Sevastopol, when Russian sailing men-of-war were scuttled across the bay “to prevent hostile warships from entering the harbour and thus to save Sevastopol”. The Monument is erected on an artificial tiny island formed of roughly shaped granite lumps 75 ft. from shore line.
During the Crimean War, when an armada of allied English, French and Turkish fleets approached the Crimean Coasts, Russian commanders solved an extremely difficult task. It was not smart to sail to the open sea and attack the far superior enemy – the allies had a significant number of steaming ships, whereas majority of Russian men-of-war were sailing ships. Putting that fact into consideration, naval commanders decided to evade the naval battle, and prevent enemy fleet from breaking into Sevastopol harbour by way of sinking some old sailing vessels across the harbour.
On 22 September 1854 old “veterans” of the Black Sea Fleet were scuttled, namely – line-of-battle ships “Tri Svyatitelya”, “Silistria”, “Varna”, “Selathael”, “Uriel”; frigates “Sizople” and “Flora”. They sunk to the bottom of the bay almost directly from north to south on beam between Fort Constantine and Fort Alexander. This was a difficult obstacle for enemy’s fleet, but it was gradually ruined by autumn and winter storms, that’s why in February 1855 another ships were sunk, namely – ships of the line “Gabriel”, “Twelve Apostles”. “Svyatoslav”, “Rostislav”; frigates “Mesemvria”, “Kagul” and “Midia”.
Crews of the scuttled ships went ashore and formed the main power of the land defense of Sevastopol. They brought to the bastions many naval cannons, big amounts of gunpowder, and all they could need in combat. Perfect naval discipline, excellent military skills, valour and perseverance became an example for many defenders of Sevastopol.
After allied commander unveiled the obstacle blocking way to harbour of Sevastopol, and after they found out that it would be impossible to go past coastal batteries at slow speed, they abandoned their plans about breaking into Sevastopol Harbour.
50 years after this sorrowful and at the same time valorous episode of Sevastopol epic was immortalized for the posterity.
In 1904 a beautiful monument was constructed near Primorsky Boulevard under design by sculptor Amandus Heinrich Adamson. On a fine Corinth Order column, there is a bronze double-headed Russian eagle. The eagle is holding a laurel wreath in honor of glorious Russian warships sacrificed during hard times of Sevastopol. On a supporting wall of an embankment of Primorsky Boulevard, there are two anchors from the scuttled ships. In 1955 a memorial plaque was installed between them which reminds about another sad event. On 28 November 1905, sailors of the revolting battle cruiser “Ochakov” were executed by shooting at that very same place by Tsar’s police.