History of the Russian Navy





Two years ago Russia commemorated 300-years since the young Russian navy – the favorite child of emperor Peter the Great celebrated its first victory.

On 27 July of 1714, in the midst of the Great Northern War, which was the long prepared effort by the young reformist emperor Peter to regain the Russian lands around Gulf of Finland, freshly built Russian Navy, consisting mostly of small row galleys, inflicted decisive defeat to a Swedish navy squadron. That was the first victory on seas by Russia, which, before Peter, had been mostly landlocked nation. The new naval power was born.

Since then the Russian navy saw many glorious victories as well as some humiliating defeats but its tradition was inseparable from all the major events of Russian history. The Navy crews took active and very significant part in liberation of South-Eastern Europe from Osman Empire, Russo-Japanese and First World Wars, Russian revolutions of 1917 and Civil War as well as the Second World War. Whenever it was necessary they would fight ashore as well as they did at the seas.

During this tour the traveler will get comprehensive overview of St.Petersburg and its fortified island outpost Kronshtadt as the principal naval base of Russia, throughout much of her history of the last three centuries.

Tours to the actual warships and naval fortresses will help to understand history of Russia as one of major seafaring nations, who's fate since Peter the Great is inseparable from the seaborne trade and travel.

Rarely visited Forts of Kronshtadt are truly among the best examples of world's fortification constructions. Those somber and imposing constructions bristled with heavy guns were the key to the capital city of Russia from the sea. They have never been taken by an enemy. Still Kronshtadt saw some of the most brutal fighting at the time of the Russian Civil War when in March 1921 Bolsheviks crushed Kronstadt rebellion led by the sailors of the Navy.


Many historical vessels and warships line the granite-clad embankments of St.Petersburg. Cruiser 'Aurora' is undoubtedly the most famous of them. It entered service in 1902, had witnessed three revolutions, Russo-Japanese war and two world wars. It became a symbol of October 1917 revolution beginning of which it signaled by firing its bow gun. It's been docked in St.Petersburg as museum, being active participant of the turbulent Russian history of 20th century.

Other historical warship that can be visited is 'D-2 Narodovolets' submarine saw active service in Second World War.

One of the best example of civilian shipbuilding in the beginning of 20 century is the icebreaker 'Krasin'. Built in 1916, 'Krasin' for a few decades had been the world's most powerful arctic icebreaker.

St.Petersburg's Central Navy Museum has also many unique items on display, including the first electric submarine and elaborate detailed historical models of sailing battleships and frigates in the large scale, some been used as blueprints during the actual shipbuilding.

Today Saint Petersburg is still very much a sea bound city. Navy sailors are not rare sight on the city streets, some of them wearing uniforms of faraway countries And in the last Sunday of July the city becomes the main site for celebration of the Navy day when ships from Russia and from other various countries dock at the city embankments and let the tourists on board.



Program of the tour: 5 Days/4 Nights


Day 1

Arrival. Boat tour of city's rivers and canals.

Day 2

City tour, including the Central Navy Museum (including guided tour), historical museum-submarine 'D-2 Narodovolets', historical icebreaker 'Krasin', Peter and Paul fortress, cruiser Aurora, Admiralty, St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral, Admiralty Shipyards.

Day 3

Morning: tour to the Hermitage. Afternoon: tour to Pushkin (Catherine's palace). Guide pays special attention to the Romanovs' involvement in the seafare and the Navy.

Day 4

Tour to Kronshtadt by bus via The Damb. City tour, including naval museums, boat tour around the forts in Gulf of Finland. Tour of Fort Alexander (looks like famous French Fort Boyard), visit to Fort Konstantin. Back to the city via Peterhof. Visit of the Grand Park. Back to the city on the hydrofoil across the Gulf of Finland.

Day 5

Departure. On the way to the airport we visit Chesme Church, dedicated to the big naval victory over the Turkish fleet.