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:
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.
At one place the orchestra greeted the passing boat.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
And the view of the harbor.
Thanks to Alex for his visit and allowing us to see the Soviet legend up close!