The Fascinating Underwater World of Sevastopol Aquarium
Located on the spectacular Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine, Sevastopol is a busy industrial city and commercial seaport. It also has an impressive list of interesting places of cultural and historical value to visit. Among these is the Sevastopol Aquarium, located in the Institute of Biology of Southern Seas. Built in 1897, it is the oldest aquarium in Ukraine, and has continually been extended and upgraded over the years, so that today it is the largest aquarium in Ukraine and is a world-class research facility well worth visiting when in Sevastopol.
When the aquarium first opened, its inhabitants consisted primarily of marine animals and underwater flora found in the Black Sea. Although this is still the primary focus of the aquarium, the collection has been extended to include marine animals from distant countries, including an interesting array of colorful tropical fish and rare ocean flora, as well as some terrestrial invertebrate and reptile species. The large central pool and wall-mounted tanks are filled with water sourced from the Black Sea, which goes into a tank to remove the silt before being circulated in the various habitats.
The aquarium has four large halls for visitors to view the fish and other marine creatures, with one hall being dedicated to the colorful and curious world of coral reefs. Here visitors will be able to observe an amazing variety of tropical fish (both seawater and freshwater), crustaceans and invertebrates, as well as anemones and eels. The Black Sea fish include Russian sturgeon, black mullet, red-finned mullet, tinker, flounder, stingray, mackerel, sultan striped bass, eels and bluefish, among others. One of the aquarium’s halls features a large collection of exotic animals, including Caiman crocodiles, giant tortoises and a variety of lizards.
The freshwater fish section of the aquarium includes piranhas – the South American fish notorious for their sharp teeth and voracious appetites for meat – as well as predatory Asian arowanas and knife-fish. Legend has it that a school of piranhas can strip a cow to the bones within minutes, with American President Theodore Roosevelt describing them as “the most ferocious fish in the world” in his 1914 book Through the Brazilian Wilderness. More recent research has caused scientists to dispute this, but Piranhas are carnivores and can easily kill and devour smaller creatures.
Certainly, Sevastopol Aquarium is an educational and entertaining attraction to add to your list of places to visit in this Ukrainian city.