Exploring Soviet naval history in Ukraine


It turns out that ties to the old Soviet motherland still run strong in parts of Ukraine. Most notable, perhaps, is Sevastopol, a port city in Crimea and home to the Soviet Black Sea Fleet. Walking around town one gets the feeling that the Soviet Union might not have ever really collapsed. And even if they did, the presence of the Russian fleet operations there today still keeps the ties strong. And, just in case you try to forget that history, there’s also the Museum of Naval History, celebrating the Soviet Black Fleet’s 40 years in the area a well as the couple hundred years prior where the port served the strategic needs of other nation states.

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The museum is split across two buildings, something we didn’t figure out until we were leaving the first one, slightly disappointed with the limited collection on display. And the second building, while showing off a bit more, still left me a bit wanting. I assume that part of the issue is that the displays are presented in languages I don’t understand. And I think part of it was that the city was actually pretty nice without my feeling that spending time in museums was the best way to enjoy it. It wasn’t all bad, though. There were a couple bits on display which were quite interesting.

The propaganda posters, for example, were pretty awesome. Then again, most propaganda posters are. That’s why they work.

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And getting up close with a torpedo is not something one gets to do most days.

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They also had some exhibits about life on the ships, from uniforms to the meal service. The former was quite impressive (all those medals!); the latter not so much.

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The museum is a decent enough way to spend an hour or two in Sevastopol, especially if it is blazingly hot outside given that the air conditioning worked pretty well. And the exhibits were OK. Not amazing but entertaining enough.

Read more from this Trip Report under the Ukraine2012 tag here.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .

4 Comments

  1. Ive always wanted to visit the Soviet Black Sea fleet. Did you get a tour of the warships that are docked in the harbor ? Or was it mostly museums ?

    1. We didn’t see any options to tour ships in port. Doesn’t mean they don’t exist but we didn’t see them.

      We did visit the former Soviet secret submarine base in Balaclava. It was AWESOME. Another post coming soon on that bit.

  2. Sevastopol is basically a Russian naval town, and the sentiment there is generally that it should be part of Russia, not Ukraine (unlike much of the rest of Ukraine, where nationalism is strong). Also, most of the population has ties to the Navy, and that naval history is mostly Soviet. This might explain why it feels more Soviet than the rest of Ukraine 🙂

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