ROTTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
CURATOR MARTH VON LOEBEN
The third chapter focuses on the historical event of the Sunken Ships and the consequent erection in the city bay of the monument dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the siege of Sevastopol.
The first siege of Sevastopol lasted for almost a year, at the hand of English and French troops, which aimed at conquering the city, its strategic position and the main naval base of the Russian Black Sea fleet. In order to resist the unrelenting attack of the enemy, the people of Sevastopol sank in the city bay a total of sixteen ships over the course of 11 months: the first wave of vessels was sent out during September 1854, set on fire to protect the bay and the inhabitants of the city. This episode is still vivid in the memory of the Crimean peninsula, which has also seen many sacrifices subsequently happening at a fast pace soon after that very one.
The Monument to Sunken Ships was placed in the bay of Sevastopol in 1905, where it still stands to this day, as a reminder of the libation of so many vessels to the eternal glory of the city and celebration of the strength of the Crimean people. A proud spear, emerging from a cluster of rocks in the middle of the waters of the Black Sea.
With the increasing rise of the sea levels, it is safe to predict that in a few decades the Monument to Sunken Ships will be underwater, along with houses and other buildings currently near the shore of the city.
The water of the Black Sea will reclaim the stone and the metal of the monument, to join the wood of the ships at its bottom: will then the substantial sacrifice of the vessels be avail?
When there will be no more collective historical knowledge and those that hand it down to the next generation will have disappeared from the face of the earth- will then the suffering be still meaningful? Or it will be a mere faint shadow, on the sand dunes at the bottom of the Black Sea?