June 6, 2017: the second edition of "Defense of Taganrog in 1855"
festival and a large-scale Crimean War reenactment were held in Taganrog May 27-29, 2017. The event was initiated by two aldermen of Taganrog City Duma - Mrs. Yelena Sirota and Mr. Gennady Borodin. Its first edition was held in late May 2016
Over 200 reenactors and enthusiasts from Crimea, Saint Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Moscow, Kaluga, Samara, Krasnodar and Yeisk came to Taganrog and were housed in historic buildings of the 18th century barracks. Among participants were also cossacks of Taganrog district, cadets of Georgy Sedov college in Rostov-on-Don and Tambov Cadet Corps.
The main events of the festival were held on May 28. The morning started with a public prayer at another site that witnessed the bombardment of the allies - St. Nicholas the Wonderworker church. During numerous attacks in 1855 this building was shelled by British and French warships. The cannonballs that were stuck in its walls were discovered during one of the renovations and were purposely left for display. Representatives of Taganrog Local Government, reenactors, citizens and visitors of the city gathered in front of a monument to defenders of the city that was erected near the church 12 years ago.
On the same morning visitors of the festival were invited to an old-fashioned fair entitled "The Old Southern Town", where ladies and gentlemen dressed in 19th century costumes were engaged in table-top sales and walked along the embankment. The main event - rout of the allied landing was staged on Pushkin Embankment near the actual landing places of the British and French on June 3 (May 22 Old Style), 1855.
The show started with the meeting of truce envoys - lieutenants Horton (Great Britain) and Jaures (France) who gave Russian officers on the shore summons to surrender. Lieutenant-general Ivan Krasnoff (whose part was actually played by Mr. Sergey Chalenko, Ataman of Taganrog Cossacks) rejected the ultimatum issued by the allies. This was followed by the shelling of Taganrog from an improvised copy of "Lady Nancy" raft and approach of pinnaces with landing parties.
"This year we've tried to make a more vivid picture, adding pyrotechnic effects and some decorations on the battlefield. For example, we've built some makeshift storehouses that we burned during the bombardment by the enemy flotilla. Meaning we've really tried to show the picture of the burning row of exchange houses as it was in 1855. We have also introduced cavalry as cossacks troops were the most numerous defenders of this place. Their act of bravery led to capturing one of the British gunboats", told Mr. Pavel Zhdamirov, director of a local club for military history.
After a hand-to-hand fight, the attack was thwarted and the improvised enemy boats had to return to the warships. According to local law enforcement data, over 20 thousand people came to attend various events of the festival.
The reenactment program ended late night with a ball given at the most beautiful building - the Alferaki Palace, which at the time of events housed the Taganrog commercial assembly.