Novorossiysk is a city in southern Russia, the main Russian port on the Black Sea. It is one of the few cities honored with the Soviet title of the Hero City. Population: 281,400 (2005 est.)
In antiquity, the shores of the Tsemess Bay were the site of Bata, an ancient Greek colony that specialized in the grain trade. It is mentioned in the works of Strabo and Ptolemy, among others. The Genoese merchants from the Ghisolfi family maintained a trade outpost there in the Middle ages. Archaeological investigation of the area is in its infancy, but some interesting items have already been uncovered.
After the coastline was ceded to Russia in 1829 as a result of a Russo-Turkish War, the admirals Mikhail Lazarev and Nikolay Raevsky founded an eastern base for the Black Sea Fleet on the shore in 1838. Named after the province of Novorossiya, the port formed a vital link in the chain of forts known as the Black Sea Coastal Line, which stretched south to Sochi.
During the rest of the 19th century, Novorossiysk developed rapidly and became the capital of the Black Sea Governorate, the smallest in the Russian Empire, in 1896. From August 26, 1918 until March 27, 1920 Novorossiysk was the principal centre of Denikin's White Army and the short-lived Novorossiya Republic. Many Whites escaped from Novorossiysk to Constantinople.
In 1942, the town was occupied by the Wehrmacht, but a small unit of Soviet sailors defended one part of the town, known as Malaya Zemlya, for 225 days, until it was liberated by the Red Army on September 16, 1943. The heroic defense of the port by the Soviet sailors allowed to retain possession of the city's bay, which prevented the Germans from using the port for supply shipments. Novorossiysk was awarded the title Hero City in 1973.
In 2003, President Putin signed a presidential decree setting up a naval base for the Black Sea Fleet in Novorossiysk. Russia has allocated 12.3 billion rubles (about $480 million) for the construction of the new base between 2007 and 2012.
The city sprawls along the shore of the non-freezing Tsemess Bay, which has been recognized since antiquity as one of the superior bays of the Black Sea. The commercial port of Novorossiysk, with the market capitalization of 1,110,000,000 $, serves Russian sea trade with regions of Asia, Middle East, Africa, Mediterranean, and South America. It is the busiest oil port in the Black Sea and the terminus of the pipeline from the Tengiz Field, developed by the Caspian Pipeline Consortium.
Novorossiysk is also an industrial city, dependent on steel, food processing, and the production of metal goods and other manufactures. Extensive limestone quarries supply important cement factories in and around the city. The town is home to the Maritime State Academy and Novorossiysk Polytechnic Institute.