This writer believes there is something quite magical about visiting a pre-World War I battleship moored in the heart of the city, especially one as historically important as this one.
It was on the 25th of October, 1917, at 9:40 pm, that its forward cannon fired a symbolic blank shot at the Winter Palace, the first in a sporadic barrage that accompanied the storming of the building, and the start of the communist revolution.
After the palace had fallen, the ship's radio was used to broadcast Lenin's address, "to the Citizens of Russia", proclaiming victory for the proletarians.
Built between May 1897 and May 1900 at The Admiralty Shipyard in St Petersburg, the 6731 tonne cruiser experienced a baptism of fire at Tsushima Bay, during the Russo- Japanese war, when it was one of the few ships in the Baltic Fleet to avoid being sunk by the Japanese forces.
In the early 1920's the Aurora was converted into a training ship and with the advent of war in 1941, it's heavy guns were removed for use in the land defense of Leningrad. The ship herself was moored at the port in Oranienbaum and after constant shelling from the Fascist forces surrounding the city and numerous bombings, courtesy of the Luftwaffe, she sank in the harbor on the 30th September 1941.
Raised from her watery grave in peacetime, she was moored in her present location and was declared a national monument in 1948 and later opened as a museum.
Now you may wander around the deck and tour a historical exhibition in four ward rooms below decks, presenting more than 500 original documents, photographs and ship items, which tell the story of the cruiser and how the ship influenced the destiny of Russia.
Elsewhere, note the portrait of the ship's captain framed by armored plate with a hole left by the shell that killed him at Tsushima.
The Cruiser Aurora is in great shape, with a smart paint job and gleaming brass work, and stands today as the oldest commissioned ship of the Russian Navy, lovingly cared for by an active service crew commanded by a Captain of the 1st Rank, and still flying the navel ensign under which she was commissioned.
From 1956 to the present day some 28 million people have visited her. Lately Aurora ship has left its permanent place of docking as it needs restoration. It will be back to its berth by 2016.
Class: 1st rank cruiser
Type: Pallada-class protected cruiser
Shipyard: New Admiralty, St. Petersburg
Laid down: May 23rd, 1897
Launched: May 11th, 1900
Commissioned: July 29th, 1903
Full load displacement: 6731 g
Length: 126.7 m
Width: 16.8 m
Draft: 6.2 m
Machine power: 11971 hp
Speed: 20.0 knots
Cruising distance: 4000 miles (7200 km)
Fuel: 964 tons of coal
Artillery armament (1917): 152 mm (Canet gun) — 14; 76.2 mm (Lender air-defense gun) — 6
Torpedo tubes — 3 (1 above water and 2 underwater tubes)
Weight of metal fired in one broadside: 267 kg per a salvo; 652 kg per a minute
Crew: 570 people (including 20 officers)