Cruiser Aurora is one of the most important symbols of the St. Petersburg city and the main symbol of October Revolution, but the stories and history behind this cruise ship are much more fascinating to be proposed only as a symbol. This ship which is currently placed beside the Petrogradskaya embankment on Neva River in the St. Petersburg city is one of the luckiest yet important squadron of the Russian Navy during the wars.
The Cruiser Aurora was built by the command of the Navy commander in 1897 and released into the water in 1900 to join the Russian Imperial Navy. The first military-war assignment for this cruiser was to sail to the far east to participate in Japan-Russ war. The ship was got the nickname “lucky” because it got lots of damages during the Battle of Tsushima, and got hit 18 times by the Japanese army but survived the battle.
After the war had ended, the Aurora turned into a training ship for the Russian navy and sent to far countries. Following its return to Baltic Sea after a few years of travel, it was participated in the first world war sea-battles and survived them too.
The history remembers the Cruiser Aurora perfectly, since the ship marked its name on the pages of history when it fired the first blank shot at the winter palace at the beginning of the October Revolution signaling the revolutionary soldiers, sailors, and workers to attack the winter palace which was the headquarter of Provisional Government back then. Because of its active participation in the October Revolution, later, the Soviet Government gave the Red Banner Order and the Order of October Revolution flags to the Cruiser Aurora.
Though it was planned to use the Cruiser as a training ground for the Navy students after the October Revolution, it forced to have participated in the Second World War as well. Following the victory in the war and saving the besieged Petrograd from the Nazi army, the Cruiser Aurora took place in its eternal parking once again. However, it moved a lot after that for restoration and repair, but it always transported back to its eternal parking to be a branch of The Central Naval Museum on the Petrogradskaya embankment.
The cruiser Aurora became one of the branches of the Central Naval Museum in 1956 by the command of the Chief in Command of the Russian Navy, and it went under state protection in 1960. Though twenty years after the Fall of Soviet Union in 2010 the Cruiser Aurora returned to the Navy but kept its status as a branch of Naval Museum, and it’s still accessible from the Petrogradskaya embankment. The Aurora Museum includes seven halls which each one of them is dedicated to a different part of history.
The first hall which is the entrance of the museum was the prison of the ship in the past. In this hall, one can find the paintings by the navy painters, and also the flags, medals, and recognition of the Cruiser Aurora from before the October Revolution and afterward.
The second hall is located where the sailors rested and ate in the past. This hall is dedicated to the life of the sailors from the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century and contains the personal belongings of the crews who had joined the Cruiser Aurora in the past.
The third hall is dedicated to the history of the ship from the late 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century. This hall mostly focused on ship participation in the Japan-Russ war. The commander of the ship in that war, Captain Egorov was heroically killed during the battle, and the crews of the ship took his picture and framed it with the ship’s deck material to honor his sacrifices. The image with its frame is currently maintained in this hall as an exhibit of the collection.
The forth hall is a bit larger than the other halls on Aurora and dedicated to the first world war, the October Revolution, and the civil wars. This collection tells the stories of the ship during those years and includes the items belongs to that period time.
The fifth hall is completely dedicated to the Great Patriotic War and the ship's participation in the second world war. During those years, the Cruiser Aurora had given all the services it can to the people of St. Petersburg and Russia. This hall retells those story for people who are still interested in the Second World War and the Siege of Leningrad.
The sixth hall is the place for the temporary exhibitions and the gifts Aurora got throughout its existence. The seventh hall is the church of the ship and contains the iconostasis of the ship’s church.
This museum which is a branch of the Central Naval Museum stands at its eternal parking on the Neva river near the Petrogradskaya embankment. The ship locates in the historical central part of the St. Petersburg, and one can find the famous Saint Petersburg Hotel near it. The ship also gave its name to the ballet hall inside the Saint Petersburg hotel. Cruiser Aurora is the main symbol of the October Revolution and one of the main symbols of the St. Petersburg city. Though this museum is not included in general St. Petersburg tour programs, if you want to see this wonderful museum with its fascinating history, be sure to check with your Russia tour administration to fix you the best option to visit the place and enjoy your travel to Russia as much as possible.