This nautical chart shows the eastern Black Sea ports of Novorossiysk, Tuapse, and Batumi (now Georgia). Red text under the title includes ‘warnings’ about difficulties and hazards in certain areas, while annotations correct or update information across the chart.
All three of the ports shown here have been deeply affected by the changing fortunes of competing empires in recent history. Prior to the Soviet era, Tuapse was primarily a fortress, but the Soviets developed it into a major oil depot and terminal, building an important pipeline linking it to Grozny in Chechnya.
Novorossiysk was conquered by Russia from the Ottomans in the late 1820s and designated as an eastern port for the Black Sea Fleet, later becoming the capital of the Black Sea Governorate. Its military significance continued, and it was named one of a handful of ‘Hero Cities’ of the Soviet Union after a contingent of Soviet sailors held out for months during World War II until relieved by the Red Army, preventing Axis forces from using the port. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation planned to relocate its portion of the former Soviet Black Sea Fleet from Sevastopol to Novorossiysk by 2020, but the Russian occupation of Crimea in 2014 has partially derailed those plans.
Batumi was contested in the 15th – 19th centuries between Ottoman forces and local kingdoms before being annexed by the Russian Empire in 1878. Soon afterwards, it was linked to the Transcaucasus Railway and an oil pipeline was built to make Batumi the main Russian oil port of the late Tsarist period. After the fall of the Tsar, the city returned to Turkey but was occupied by the British before Kemal Atatürk handed it to the Soviet Union as part of a wider agreement. After 1991, Batumi became the capital of the Adjara Republic, an autonomous unit within the Republic of Georgia, and has developed a thriving economy based on trade, oil, and tourism.
This chart was printed in 1956, based on earlier Soviet naval maps, and then updated with handwritten annotations. A note at bottom states that the map was ‘corrected’ in November 1960. It was produced by the Naval Map Factory (Картфабрикой ВМФ (Военно-морской флот) of the Soviet Navy and this is stated to be the edition of the Office of the Chief of the Hydrographic Service of the Navy (издание Управление начальника гидрографической службы Военно-Морского Флота).