SEBASTOPOL, or SEVASTOPOL, the chief naval station of Russia on the Black Sea, is situated in the south-west of the Crimea., in 44° 37' N lat. and 33° 31' E. long., 935 miles from Moscow, with which it is connected by rail via Kharkoff. The estuary, which is one of the best roadsteads in Europe and could shelter the cotnbined fleets of Europe, is a deep and thoroughly sheltered indentation among chalky cliffs, running east and west for nearly al miles, with a width of three-quarters of a mile, narrowing to 930 yards at the entrance, where it is protected by two small promontories. It has a depth of from 6 to 10 fathoms, with a good bottom, and large ships can anchor at a cable's length from the shore. The main inlet has also four smaller indentations, - Quarantine Bay at its entrance, Yuzhnaya (Southern) Bay, which penetrates more than a mile to the south, with a depth of from 4 to 9 fathoms, Dockyard Bay, and Artillery Bay. A small river, the Tchornaya, enters the head of the inlet. The main part of the town, with an elevation ranging from 30 to 190 feet, stands on the southern shore of the chief inlet, between Yuzhnaya and Artillery Bays. To the east are situated the barracks, hospitals, and storehouses ; a few buildings on the other shore of the chief bay constitute the "northern side." Before the Crimean War of 1853-56 Sebastopol was a well-built city, beautified by gardens, and had 43,000 inhabitants ; but at the end of the siege it had not more than fourteen buildings which had not been badly injured. After the war many privileges were granted by the Govern-ment in order to attract population and tmde to the town ; but both increased slowly, and at the end of seven years its population numbered only 5750. The railway line connecting Sebastopol with INIoscow gave some animation to trade, and it was thought at the time that Sebastopol, although precluded by the treaty of Paris from reacquiring its military importa,nce, might yet become a commercial city. In November 1870, during the Franco-German War, the Russian Government publicly threw off the obligation of those clauses of the treaty of Paris which related to the Black Se,a fleet and fortresses, and it was decided again to make Sebastopol a naval arsenal. In 1882 Sebastopol had a population of 26,150 inhabitants, largely military. The town has been rebuilt on a new plan, and a fine church occupies a prominent site. There are now two lyceums and a zoological marine sthtion. Although belonging to the government of Taurida, Sebas-topol and its environs are under a separate military governor.
The peninsula between the Bay of Sebastopol and the Black Sea became known in the 7th century as the Ileracleotic Chersoncse (see vol. vi. p. 587). In the 5th century D.C. a Greek colony was founded here and remained independent for three centuries, when it became part of the kingdom of the Bosphorus, and subsequently tributary to Rome. Under the 13yzantine emperors Chersonesus was an administrative centre to their possessions in Taurida. Ac-cording to the Russian annals, Vladimir, prince of Kieft; conquered Chersonesns (Korsufi) before being baptized there, and restored it to the Greeks on marrying the princess Anna. Subsequently the Slavonians were cut otr from relations with Taurida by the Mongols, and only made occasional raids, such as that of the Lithuanian ptince Olgerd. In the 16th century a new influx of colonizers, the TaMrs, occupied Chersonesus and founded a settlement named Akhtiar. This village, after the Russian conquest in 1783, was selected for the chief naval station of the empire in the Black Sea and received its present name ("The August City "). In 1826 strong fortifications were begun, and in 1853 it was a formidable fortress. In September 1854, after having defeated the Russians iu the battle of the Alma, the Anglo-French laid siege to the southern portion of the town, and on 17th October began a heavy bombardment. Sebastopol, which was nearly quite open from the land, was strengthened by earthworks thrown up under the fire of the besiegers, and sustained a memorable eleven months' siege. On 8th September 1855 it was evacuated by the Russians, who retired to the north side. The fortifications were blown up by the allies, and by the Paris treaty the Russians were bound not to restore them.