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The Crimean War of 1854 to 1856
Evpatoria played a role as a fortress in the Crimean War.
Around noon on September 1 (13) of 1854, 360 sea vessels from the military coalition of Great Britain, France and Turkey approached Evpatoria and at 2 PM the entire bay was filled with raiding vessels.
More than a hundred years ago, V. Pyankov, the author of several guides to Evpatoria, described the arrival of English, French and Turkish troops to Evpatoria:
"...in 1854 all of Russia and even the whole of Europe watched Evpatoria attentively. On September 1, 1854, more than 100 enemy ships arrived at Evpatoria’s port. Throwing down anchor and moving into combat positions, three steamers and an additional boat departed from the rest of the fleet with two staff officers aboard (probably one English and one French officer) and at the quay they gave the following offer in the commandant’s name: since Evpatoria is disarmed, they declare that they have no intention to cause any harm and are going to enter and occupy the town for the quartering of their troops. The assistant commandant of Evpatoria, Major Bronetskey had no objections and asked if he was allowed to retreat with his battalion from Evpatoria, to which the guard jointed. Evpatoria’s defenders, understanding that the town was threatened, gathered up all current business, books and money and left with the chancellery and the manager Kaznachev. On September 2, the allies landed 70,000 troops and departed to the Alma River. Evpatoria thereby became the starting point for glory in the chronicles of the Crimean companies".
The inhabitants of the town were given 24 hours to decide whether to remain there or abandon the town. Many people were driven out of the town and there were not enough supplies or horses for all of them. Some were settled on property in the suburbs.
After the landing of the allied army and departure of the allied troops to Sevastopol, a Turkish garrison remained in Evpatoria, quickly growing to up to 40,000 people.
On February 5(17), 1855, 19,000 Russian troops attempted an approach to Evpatoria. Unfortunately the attack was not a success. The insufficient ammunition, numerical superiority of the enemy by several orders of magnitude, as well as the powerful fortifications of the Evpatorian garrison are the reasons that General Hrulev’s troops had to halt their approach. The Russian troops lost up to 800 people killed and wounded but retreated in full battle formation. The news of the failure came as a blow, dealing emperor Nickolas I a crushing blow.
In March of 1856 the war ended. On May 11, the Turkish troops abandoned the city and on May 18, the French left. Reconstruction on Evpatoria began. The foreign troops had inflicted severe damage upon Evpatoria. 426 homes were destroyed. It was reported that "the city is completely ravaged except for a few of the houses - glass and furniture is gone. The filth, particularly where the Turks lived, is terrible." The population was significantly reduced. On the eve of the war the population was above 13,000 people but in 1861 it was slightly more then 7,000.
In Evpatoria, the memorable places from the period of the Crimean War are preserved. There is a monument established in 1858 on the common grave of Russian fighters lost during the assault of February 5, 1855 which transformed the street into a graveyard; also monuments are the shots in the wall of the Karaites Kenases and the signature of an invader scrawled on wall of the Armenian-Gregorian St. Nickolas Church.