Aurora is a protected cruiser, currently preserved as a museum ship in St. Petersburg. One of the first incidents of the October Revolution in Russia took place on the cruiser.
Aurora was one of three Pallada-class cruisers, built in St. Petersburg for service in the Pacific Far East. All three ships of this class served during the Russo-Japanese War. The second ship, Pallada, was sunk by the Japanese at Port Arthur in 1904. The third ship, Diana, was interned in Saigon after the Battle of the Yellow Sea. Aurora was part of the Russian 2nd Pacific Squadron formed mostly from the Russian Baltic Fleet, which was sent from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific, under the command of Vice-Admiral Zinovy Rozhestvensky. On the way to the Far East, she sustained light damage from confused friendly fire in the Dogger Bank incident.
On 27 and 28 May 1905, Aurora took part in the Battle of Tsushima, along with the rest of the Russian squadron. During the battle, the wounded Senior officer of the ship, Captain of 2nd rank Arkadiy Konstantinovich Nebolsine took command of the cruiser. After that Aurora, covering other, much slower Russian vessels, under the command of Rear-Admiral Oskar Enkvist, with two other Russian cruisers broke through to neutral Manila, where she was interned. In 1906, Aurora returned to the Baltic and became a cadet training ship. From 1906 until 1912 the cruiser visited a number of other countries; in November 1911 the ship was in Bangkok as part of the celebrations in honour of the coronation of the new King of Siam.
During the First World War the ship operated in the Baltic Sea. In 1915, her armament was changed to fourteen 152 mm guns. At the end of 1916, the ship was moved to Petrograd (the renamed St Petersburg) for a major repair. The city was brimming with revolutionary ferment and part of her crew joined the 1917 February Revolution. A revolutionary committee was created on the ship, with Aleksandr Belyshev elected as its captain. Most of the crew joined the Bolsheviks, who were preparing for a Communist revolution.
According to the Soviet account of history, on 25 October 1917, Aurora refused to carry out an order to put to sea, which sparked the October Revolution. At 9.45 p.m on that date, a blank shot from her forecastle gun signaled the start of the assault on the Winter Palace, which was to be the last episode of the October Revolution. The cruiser's crew allegedly took part in that attack.
In 1922, Aurora was brought to service again as a training ship. During the Second World War, the guns were taken from the ship and used in the land defence of Leningrad. The ship herself was docked in Oranienbaum port, and was repeatedly shelled and bombed. On 30 September 1941 she was damaged and sunk in the harbour. After extensive repairs in 1945 - 1947, Aurora was permanently anchored on the Neva in Leningrad as a monument to the Great October Socialist Revolution and in 1957 became a museum-ship. From 1956 to the present day 28 million people have visited the cruiser Aurora.References:
German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.
In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).
In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.
Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.