What are you dreaming of, Aurora the cruiser?..
This is a line from a very popular song of the Soviet time. It is dedicated to probably the most famous Russian ship, cruiser Aurora. Why is she so important for our history and what made her so popular?
Now she is ranked ship number one of the Russian fleet. She is a symbol, a legend, a myth and a curse. She was kept by the one she was named after. She outlived the other ships of her kind by 100 years and it looks is doomed to be immortal.
There is a tradition in Russian fleet to name new ships after the old ones that have already served their term. So the first rank cruiser Aurora was named after a vessel with the same name. According to a legend, the first ship was named either after a goddess of dawn or after a very beautiful woman.
Aurora cruiser was founded in May 1897, and she was launched In May 1900. She was the “younger sister” of cruisers “Diana” and “Pallas”. The sailors were quite skeptical about these three goddesses, as they had many construction disadvantages and broke quite often.
Aurora’s angel protected her. Firstly, it saved her during the Tsushima battle when the cruiser was undoubtedly doomed to death. Aurora was hit 18 times, 15 sailors were dead and 82 wounded.
In 1906-1914, she was used to train Russian sailors abroad.
During World War I, a German submarine discovered two Russian cruisers: “Aurora” and “Pallas” (not the elder sister but the one created after the destruction of the previous one). The submarine captain decided to aim at the newer and more dangerous cruiser and Aurora had time to escape.
In 1917, the order to drown Aurora in order not to let Germans reach our city was issued. The crew did not obey the order and in a few months the October uprising occurred.
In the same year, she fired one blank shot that was a signal to start the revolution and to take the Winter palace, residence of Russian tsars. Owing to that later it became one of the symbols of the uprising.
Up to 1923, Aurora was in reserve. From 1923 up to 1941, she was a training ship. In 1927, she got the order of the red flag. The communist government hoped that she would continue to protect the October revolution and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In 1941, the government wanted to destroy the ship but the war started. During World War II, the cruiser protected our city.
In 1956, a museum was opened there. . In 1968, the cruiser was awarded with the order of the October revolution.
In 2013, she was given back to the Russian fleet.
Since 2014, the cruiser was under restoration. She came back in the morning of 16 July 2016 as the true goddess of dawn.
The exposition has changed. Before 2016, it showed only the victory of the 1917 revolution. Now you can find information about the ship history prior to the famous Aurora shot of 1917. Therefore, even if you have already been in Saint Petersburg, we are sure you have not seen this exhibition yet. We would only like to mention that this museum is not wheelchair friendly.