Sevastopol is perfect place for many things. You may have heard about the pretty beaches. About the sights. And the clubs with cheap vodka and pretty girls. But if you are nerd for the things political and studied history of Cold war… it’s place perfect for you. Sevastopol is like Cold War wikileak. Not that you learn that much and you probably knew it before… but it’s the excitement of getting behind the curtain of formerly strictly secret. And the landscape is pretty too. And the food is good and cheap. And so is the vodka.
Sevastopol itself was a closed city during the Cold War times. And it still has plenty of military no-go-zones, marked in pink on map. There’s Russian Black Sea fleet docking in the bay and you can go see them when you pay for a “progulka” – a boat ride. I paid three euro after some hassling about the price. Boat driver managed to make several phonecalls and spoke in fast Russian about what we can see. Russian girl on the boat told me in low voice that what we see are Russian “secret ships”. They were there in their all monstrosity.
And of course if you are Cold War nerd, you need to take trip to Balaclava and go see the former submarine factory. There’s no submarines anymore, just their models, but there’s plenty of writtings on the walls in cyrilics about how you should keep the state secrets and think twice before speaking. And there’s parts of submarines, weapons, torpedoes and of course the silo itself. Eerie. Foreigners are asked to pay more, but if you manage to speak bit Russian, you’ll get the locals price. Which may or may not feel like winning the Cold War over again. Then go back into harbour and have beer or a coctail to the fact we made it, neither red or dead. Or if you feel hot, catch a boat to one of the fancy beaches and let yourself forget the history for hour and two.
(Pic 1: Don’t tell everything you know. Know what are you telling
Pic 2: Protect the military secrets!
Pic 3, 4: the silo
Pic 5: Voguing it on some old torpedo
Pic 6: one of the hallways of the silo)
If you care for all wars, being either a bellicose hawk, a nerd or bleeding heart liberal, go see Panorama… a well done… panoramatic art of Crimean war (and feel creeped out how this thriving city that is so alive and buzzing was fought over so many times in the history).
You will feel history in Sevastopol, it’s terrifying impact…. but you will feel so alive with the breeze from the Black Sea. You will feel history under your feet, you will see lot of beautiful people and striking architecture… but if you are not totally unaware you will feel implications of the times past. You will feel greateful you are here.
Kvas – a refreshing drink made of bread and yeast. It’s the opposite of communism. You know how communism sounds great, but is horrible in reality? Kvas sounds horrible, right? It’s great.
A peak into the pink zone. You will find that sometimes map is misleading. And that sometimes a wrong turn means walking straight into creepy. Leave the secrets as they lay. Not saying it is so, but you may not make it back from the pink zones. And the rest of the city is oh-so-pretty.
Yet another war memorial.
Memorial of some general. Category called (by us cynical pacifists) as “swine on piedestal”.
Memorial to the war in Afghanistan (the one that Soviets lead, not the current one). The cross stands in a red star. I hurt my toe there, because I was not expecting a star on the ground. Shows how much communism can suprise you.
And of course the things for beauty, that the city kept for herself (and the Might USSR) for so long.