Battleship Aurora in the Docks

Battleship Aurora in the Docks

Aurora, or how it’s written in Russia “AVRORA”, is a very important vintage battleship – first it’s still more or less intact and thus can be climbed and explored, and second it is greatly connected with an event called “October revolution” – it’s when Lenin took power. Legend says the coup members, including Lenin, had a plan that the coup would start after the rebel sailors of the Aurora cruiser started to fire shells into the Winter Palace, or Hermitage as we know it now, in St. Petersburg. So since then, in every Soviet school, this battleship shot in 1917, was proclaimed to be a game changer and in important historical piece in itself. There were songs about it, there were movies about it, and the ship itself was on a constant display in downtown St. Petersburg in Soviet times for tons of tourists coming from different parts of the country to get a peek of the legend. These days the legend has moved to the docks, as while it was being displayed in St. Petersburg it remained submerged in the river waters so it was rusting and needed renovation. So here we have a unique chance, thanks to Alex, to see the legend of Soviet school goers up close in the dock. See it inside:


Battleship Aurora in the Docks

This is a piece of history indeed, just look at its shape. No computer graphics, no modeling – just a pure warship from back in the 1900s.

But before actually going into the dock, the ship had a trip through the city, and thousands of people gathered on the river banks to see the event. Alex was also present there and took those cool shots:


He says it was clearly heard even from a distance how people were shouting when the ship appeared.


Lots of people on the banks.



Lots of ships were going along with it.  People still remember it as the main symbol of the October Revolution from their childhoods.


Other ships were “tooting” while Avrora passed by. 10661896_10204635018858244_703549014515325060_o

The ship’s crew lined up on the ship, saluting to the citizens of the city. 10623483_10204635017218203_3988650097781946618_o

At one place the orchestra greeted the passing boat.

Battleship Aurora in the Docks

And finally now it’s in the docks and we can take a much closer look at the ship. Alex went there too!Battleship Aurora in the Docks

This history of this ship goes back to 1896 when it was conceived in an effort to grow the imperial Russian fleet.Battleship Aurora in the Docks

The ship was standing in the St. Petersburg downtown right in the river, moored to the bank across the road from the Nakhimov Naval School – a cult place for Soviet boys as it accepted boys as young as twelve years old and made them real NAVY sailors at first and then they could enroll into the Academy to become officers. So many schoolboys of the era dreamt to flee from their homes and enroll into this adventure, and some really did, though the enrollment requirements were said to be very high. Battleship Aurora in the Docks

There were another two things that attracted young Soviet boys to that school. One was the Avrora standing right across the road from the school’s front door, that epic Avrora they started seeing from the first grade in their schoolbooks. More than that, boys received a uniform that closely imitated the military or navy uniform, including the winter coats, so they looked like young soldiers starting their first year of education.

Battleship Aurora in the Docks

Enough of the memories. Let’s get back to Avrora. As it stayed there across from the school, an urban legend appeared that it was already just the top part and the bottom part was replaced with a concrete foundation because no metal object can stand seventy years in the water and not rust all the way through. However looking at those shots one can say that this urban myth is debunked.

Battleship Aurora in the Docks

That’s because there was one more complex repair operation that happened thirty years ago in 1984, when Avrora was also moved to docks for repairs. You know what – this metal stem on the bottom of the ship is still original and made of solid bronze!  Battleship Aurora in the Docks

Battleship Aurora in the Docks

Battleship Aurora in the Docks

Battleship Aurora in the Docks

Battleship Aurora in the Docks

Battleship Aurora in the Docks

You know what else is interesting – this piece – I am not sure what its exact name is – which is used to steer the ship under water (maybe rudder?) – the huge piece near the propellers – it was not a metal piece but was made of wood back then, one hundred years ago. And it’s still intact! Battleship Aurora in the Docks

Battleship Aurora in the Docks

And the dock itself is pretty huge.Battleship Aurora in the Docks

Battleship Aurora in the Docks

Battleship Aurora in the Docks

And old!Battleship Aurora in the Docks

Battleship Aurora in the Docks

Some more ships are in the dock, like this ice breaking ship KRASIN. Battleship Aurora in the Docks

Battleship Aurora in the Docks

Those wave deformations on its body were formed because of the resistance of the ice. Battleship Aurora in the Docks

Both ships together. Battleship Aurora in the Docks

And the view of the harbor.

Battleship Aurora in the Docks

Thanks to Alex for his visit and allowing us to see the Soviet legend up close!


22 thoughts on “Battleship Aurora in the Docks”

  1. Copied from the internet:
    Why put a wood rudder on a steel ship?

    The answer is unknown, but modifications to shipbuilding and outfitting during times of war were often completed on an ad hoc basis, and were not recorded. A rudder of this type may have been pre-fabricated by a contractor, using more readily available materials. A wooden rudder could also have been produced more quickly, was less costly than a metal rudder, and was easier to repair at sea.

    • I imagine one would like to have as less weight as possible in a rudder, since it has to be moved to steer the ship. As at the time of building they did not have the modern alloys we have today, probably the best available material was some reinforcerd wooden structure

  2. Saw the Aurora in January of this year. Very pleased she is being refurbished and preserved for future generations to see.

  3. I remember the Aurora allways. It was near hotel Leningrad every time, when I leave cyrrency bar. In that time I was young and handsome, but now I am only handsome.

  4. Amazing how that wooden rudder stood up more than 100 years under water! Btw it is not all wood, you can see thick metal frame and the wood is only inside it! And looks like they covered it with some substance probably to prolong its life.

  5. Been visiting this site for years, and this is absolutely the best post! The Aurora was number one on my list to visit from the USA, and I did it in 2010. What a magnificent treasure!!!

  6. Been to visit the Aurora many times. Terrific ship built for the Russians by the British. A must-see for anyone visiting St. Petersburg.

    Curious though: Which drydock did they tow it to? One of the shipyards in St. Petersburg or was it taken to Dock Petrovski in Krohnschdat?

  7. Perhaps the most famous duty the Krasin performed was rescuing General Umberto Nobile and his surviving crew when their airship Italia crashed on the ice upon returning form the North Pole in 1928.

  8. The current Aurora is mostly just a replica. They demolished the hull some time ago. What you see today is a modern welded steel hull, with a few salvaged superstructure items added from the original ship.

    If you go below decks, the ship is just modern metal rooms – nothing original remains. Last time I went on board, they even had a photo exhibition showing how the original ship was broken up…

  9. Though classified by the Russians as a Battleship, Aurora was actually a protected cruiser. In modern terming, she’d be a light cruiser. However, at the time of her inclusion to the Russian navy in 1900, she was the biggest ship they had, and by default was considered a battleship.

  10. Aurora was not built by the British, but locally. The current ship is not a mock-up, but contains parts from a sister ship Diana

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