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.

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Founded: 1900-1903
Category: Museums in Russia

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Paulo Gustavo (8 months ago)
An Amazing piece of history very well preserved! It's such a cool visit! Check the schedules as many times I went there and it was closed. Enjoy it to the MAX!
Aleksandr Fedorov (14 months ago)
Very interesting museum. A lot of historical facts. Good for kids
Илья Самойлов (15 months ago)
Historical place, but a bit boring exhibition. You need to take a guide to understand everything.
Павел Соляник (16 months ago)
If you love history, if you love old military ships - this is what you need. Magnificent Aurora was built in the beginning of 19 century.
George Ianovski (16 months ago)
Kind of a must-see in St Petersburg, but that doesn't mean it's terribly exciting. You walk on the deck and pose for a few photos, and then go downstairs into the museum bit. You won't see much/any of what the interior used to look like, as it has been gutted to make room for the exhibitions. The Cruiser Aurora is most famous for firing the shot that signalled the storming of the Winter Palace in the October Revolution, and hence was a golden calf in Soviet times. Nowadays, the government has to tread a fine line of pleasing both the USSR-was-awesome and the Czarism-was-awesome cliques, so the exhibits are split between commemorating the role of the cruiser in the revolution, as well as its service in the Czar's navy. Tick it off your bucketlist, and never visit again.
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