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Palaces and museums of St. Petersburg - The Central Naval Museum

The world famous naval museum was founded by Peter the Great’s order in 1709. At the beginning the museum was situated in the Western wing of the Admiralty and from the 1940 the location was changed and up to the summer of 2010 it occupied the notorious Stock Exchange building, mounted at the beginning of the 19th century by the architect Thomas de Thomon. Nowadays the museum is closed, because of moving the main exposition to the new building. It will be opened in the buildings of former Krukov (naval) barracks on Truda Square, 5.

Devoted to the history of the Russian navy, the museum has a great collection of over 800,000 exhibits and unique ship models. The most famous item is the Boat of Peter the Great, named by him the "Grand father of the Russian fleet", the original submarine of S. Dzewieckiy which was built in 1881 and other rarities. Moreover the halls of the museum boast a great collection of arms, graphic, sculpture, ship models' collection, marvelous painting collection, marine stores collection, private belongings of the emperors Peter I, Paul I and Empress Catherine II, naval costumes' collection.

Being a branch of the Central naval Museum, the Aurora battleship became its exhibit in 1956 only. The Aurora's keel was laid down at the "New Admiralty" shipyard in St.Petersburg in 1897. The cruiser was launched on 11 May 1900 and joined the Navy of Russia in July1903.

During the Russian-Japanese War the cruiser, being included in the second Pacific Ocean squadron, took part in the Tsushima battle and after returning to the Baltic sea, the Aurora for a long time was used as a ship for training naval cadets of the Naval College.

During World War I the cruiser Aurora, as a member of the second squadron, took an active part in the military actions on the Baltic sea. At the end of 1916 the cruiser was put in Petrograd's docks for repairs. In 1917 the Aurora's crew took an active part in the February and October revolutionary activities and the Civil War repulsing international intervention. With the beginning of the Great Patriotic War the cruiser Aurora with her crew defended Leningrad. She fought battles far from the city (the Chudskaya Flotilla) and at the approaches to it (the Voronya Hill).

Heroic deeds of the sailors added a glorious chapter to the history of their warship. In July 1944 the ship was raised and taken into a dock for repair. In 1948 the cruiser Aurora was moored at the Petrogradskaya embankment of Leningrad and till 1956 was used as a naval training ship by the Leningrad Nakhimov College. In 1956 the cruiser Aurora was made a museum (a branch of the Central Naval Museum). 

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