Sevastopol or Sevastopil [Севастополь or Севастопіль; Sevastopol' or Sevastopil']. Map: IX-14. A city (2013 pop 343,156) and port on the Black Sea in the Crimea. The region was inhabited by the Taurians from the beginning of the 1st millennium BC. In the 5th century BC the Greek colony of Chersonese Taurica was established at the site. In 1784, after annexing the Crimea, Catherine II ordered the fortress and naval port of Sevastopol to be built at the site of the Tatar village of Akhtiar. In 1804 it became the home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. The city grew from 30,000 inhabitants at the beginning of the century to 47,400 in 1853. During the Crimean War (1853–6) the city was almost completely destroyed. After the war it was demilitarized. In the 1870s its naval facilities were rebuilt and expanded, and a railway connecting it with the grain-growing interior was constructed. The population of the city grew rapidly, from 11,000 in 1875 to 53,000 in 1897. Many of the residents were naval personnel. During the First World War the city was occupied by the Germans (May–November 1918), the Allied Powers (November 1918 to April 1919), and Anton Denikin's forces (June 1919 to November 1920) before it was taken, finally, by the Red Army. On 29 April 1918, just before the German occupation, the Ukrainian flag was raised on the ships of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol. After the war the city's port and industries were rebuilt, by 1928. Its population grew from 96,700 in 1926 to 112,000 in 1941. During the Second World War Sevastopol resisted the Germans for eight months before surrendering in July 1942. After its recapture in May 1944 the city was in ruins. In 1945–55 it was rebuilt and expanded. By 1959 its population had reached 148,000 (19 percent Ukrainian, 76 percent Russian).
Sevastopol is a picturesque city stretched out along the northern and southern shores of Sevastopol Bay. Many of its buildings are finished in white limestone, and the broad avenues are lined with trees. The port is one of the finest natural ports on the Black Sea and can accommodate the largest ships. The city is an important trading and manufacturing center in Southern Ukraine. It has a significant food industry, with large fish-processing and canning plants, wineries, and meat packing plants; a machine building industry; ship repair yards; an electric power industry; and a building-materials industry. As a commercial port in the Crimea it is second only to Teodosiia. Its chief research institutions are the Sevastopol Biological Station, the Marine Hydrophysical Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, with its aquarium, and a branch of the Oceanography Institute. It supports two Russian theaters and four major museums: the Khersones Historical-Archeological Museum, the Sevastopol Art Museum, the Museum of the Black Sea Fleet (est 1869), and the Museum of the Defense of Sevastopol. The main architectural monuments are the Doric Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul (1843–8), the quay Grafska Prystan (1846), the Dormition Cathedral (designed by Valentyn Feldman, 1895–1905), and the Sevastopol Panorama (1905).
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]