29 October, 2013
Aurora (Аврора) is a Russian protected cruiser, currently preserved as a museum ship in St. Petersburg, not far from the Winter Palace (Зимний Дворец).
Aurora was one of three cruisers built at the start of the 20th century for service in the Pacific Far East. All three ships were used during the Russo-Japanese War, but only Aurora survived. It then came back to the Baltic, and became a cadet training ship.
In 1917 the ship was in St. Petersburg, while the city was full of revolutionary ferment. Part of its crew joined the February Revolution, and a revolutionary committee was created on the cruiser. On October 25, a blank shot from her forecastle gun signaled the start of the attack on the Winter Palace. The ship later served in the land defense of Leningrad during the siege in the Second World War. Aurora was repeatedly bombed, and even sunk in the Oranienbaum (Ораниенбаум) harbour.
Aurora stands today as the oldest commissioned ship of the Russian Navy. It is now a museum ship, and has become one of the many tourist attractions in St. Petersburg. It continues to be a symbol of the October Revolution.