For years the town of Sevastopol was closed to foreigners even to Ukrainians who couldn't show that they had a good reason for going there eg family or business connections. You had to have a permit, because Sevastopol was the home of the soviet Black Sea fleet, and at the height of the cold war the town was definitely off limits to western tourists. In 1997, Russia agreed to hand over control of the town to Ukraine, and now Sevastopol welcomes visitors.
Sevastopol formerly known as Sebastopol, is a port city in Ukraine, located on the Black Sea coast of the Crimean peninsula. It has a population of around 350,000. The city, formerly the home of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet, is now a Ukrainian naval base mutually used by the Ukrainian Navy and Russian Navy.
The unique geographic location and navigation conditions of the city's harbours make Sevastopol a strategic important naval point. It is also a popular seaside resort and tourist destination, mainly for visitors from the CIS countries.
The trade and shipbuilding importance of Sevastopol's Port has been growing since the fall of the Soviet Union despite the difficulties that arise from the joint military control over its harbours and piers.
Sevastopol is also an important centre of marine biology research. In particular, studying and training of dolphins has been conducted in the city since the end of World War II, initially as a secret naval program to use these animals for special undersea operations.
After World War II, Sevastopol was entirely rebuilt. The downtown core situated on a peninsula between two narrow inlets features mostly Mediterranean-style, typically three-story residential buildings with columned balconies and arches, with retail and commercial spaces occupying the ground level. Some carefully restored landmarks date back to the early 20th c. (e.g., the Art Nouveau Main Post Office on Bolshaya Morskaya St and the Art Museum on Nakhimovsky Prospect). It has been a long-time tradition for the residents of surrounding suburbs to spend summer evenings by coming to the downtown area for a leisurely stroll with their families along the avenues and boulevards encircling the Central Hill, under the famous Sevastopol chestnut trees, and usually ending up on the waterfront with Marine Boulevard.
Due to its military past, most streets in the city are named after Russian and Soviet military persons. There are hundreds of monuments and plaques in various parts of Sevastopol commemorating its past.