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:
The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.
The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.
Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.
The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.
Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.
The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.
During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.
In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.