Navy base hidden in a resort: Summer in Sevastopol, Crimea

Cadets from navy academies stroll along the main embankment; sailors come ashore to the city; locals and tourists don sailor caps and military jackets, and children dress up in uniform. On this day the city seems to be inhabited solely by sailors.

Cadets from navy academies stroll along the main embankment; sailors come ashore to the city; locals and tourists don sailor caps and military jackets, and children dress up in uniform. On this day the city seems to be inhabited solely by sailors.

Evgeny Alekseev
Sevastopol, the largest city in Crimea, is a city of federal importance (as well as Moscow and St. Petersburg). Photographer Evgeny Alekseev captured how the navy base and sailors coexist with tourists at a typical post-Soviet resort.
Navy Day is widely celebrated on the last Sunday of July every year.
Catherine the Great chose the name for the new city, which is variously translated from Greek as “highly esteemed,” “holy or majestic city,” and “city of glory”. The main thing that attracted the empress and her military commanders to Crimea were its 30 deep-water harbors.
During the Crimean war, the Siege of Sevastopol (September 1854 - September 1855) was the defining moment of the conflict. It took French, British and Ottoman forces a year to capture the city.
Sevastopol, the port city on the Black Sea, was founded by Russian Empress Catherine the Great on the southwest coast of the Crimean Peninsula in 1783. Now it is a city of federal importance
However, the city endured its toughest ordeal during World War II. In 1941-42, Red Army soldiers and Black Sea Fleet sailors defended it from Nazi troops for 250 days and nights.
A quarter of the 1,000 square kilometers of Sevastopol’s impressive territory, which includes fortresses, the Inkerman cave monasteries, the beginning of the Crimean Mountains’ ridge and natural reserves, is occupied by the sea: therefore, these sights are the most impressive ones and will help visitors in getting to know the city.
However, at all other times Sevastopol looks like an ordinary Black Sea resort. Its embankments are full of souvenir sellers, and tourists head to the beaches.
Protected from the wind, deep-water harbors cut five miles deep into the rocky coastline. So it was that Sevastopol became Russia’s main naval base on the Black Sea, a role it was to play for many years.
In the end, they were forced to surrender the city, but even under German occupation, there was a strong resistance movement in Sevastopol.
Balaklava is a resort city situated 10 km from Sevastopol, Crimea. It is home to a secret underground submarine base. Today the base is open to all-comers wishing to look inside and explore this secret Soviet site.
A secret workshop where submarines used to be repaired is situated. Today the base is open to those wishing to look inside and explore this secret Soviet site. / Photos were made in Sevastopol, Yalta, Alushta and Balaclava in May, 2015.
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