Sevastopol (Севастополь) was largely destroyed in World War II and many of the present buildings were erected during the Stalin era from local Inkerman stone. As a result, architecturally, the city has a grand and unified appearance. But, as home to the Soviet Union's Black Sea naval fleet, Sevastopol was a closed city until 1996 and few had an opportunity to witness the city's charms.
After Ukrainian independence in 1991, there was considerable uncertainty about the city's future. Eventually, an agreement was reached to allow Russia to maintain a naval fleet in the city, even though the territory itself would be part of Ukraine. Today, Sevastopol is one of Crimea's top tourist destinations.
Near Sevastopol, high on a hill overlooking the water, stands the uniquely-designed St. Nicholas church. Surrounding the church is a military cemetery containing the remains of soldiers and sailors who died over the centuries, many of whom lie unidentified in communal graves.
For photos of the ancient Greek city of Khersones, click on the pop-up slide show below.
Khersones / Chersonesos (Херсонес): Near the modern city of Sevastopol lie the remains of the ancient Greek colony of Khersones (also known as Chersonesos), founded in the fifth century BCE. Khersones was the northernmost outpost of the Greek empire and an important trading and manufacturing area. Khersones was later ruled by Rome, the Byzantine Empire, the Khazars, Kyivan-Rus, the Crimean Tatars and Russia. Among the ancient ruins at Khersones also stands a recently reconstructed Ukrainian Orthodox St. Volodymyr's Church, built on the spot where it is said Kyivan-Rus Grand Prince Volodymyr accepted Christianity in 987 CE. (10 Photos) [Preview This Slide Show]