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Aqyar (Akhtiar)
Artillery Bay


Coat of arms
Map of Ukraine with Sevastopol highlighted
Coordinates: 44°36′N 33°32′E / 44.600°N 33.533°E / 44.600; 33.533Coordinates: 44°36′N 33°32′E / 44.600°N 33.533°E / 44.600; 33.533
Country Ukraine
MunicipalitySevastopol Municipality
 • City GovernorVladimir Grigorievich Yatsuba
 • Total864 km2 (334 sq mi)
Elevation100 m (300 ft)
Population (2007)
 • Total379,200
 • Density438.89/km2 (1,136.7/sq mi)
Time zoneEET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST)EEST (UTC+3)
Postal code99000—99699
Area code(s)+380-692
License plateCH
DecorationsHero of the Soviet Union medal.png Leninorder.svg OrderOctoberRevolution.gif Order of Red Banner.png
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Aqyar (Akhtiar)
Artillery Bay


Coat of arms
Map of Ukraine with Sevastopol highlighted
Coordinates: 44°36′N 33°32′E / 44.600°N 33.533°E / 44.600; 33.533Coordinates: 44°36′N 33°32′E / 44.600°N 33.533°E / 44.600; 33.533
Country Ukraine
MunicipalitySevastopol Municipality
 • City GovernorVladimir Grigorievich Yatsuba
 • Total864 km2 (334 sq mi)
Elevation100 m (300 ft)
Population (2007)
 • Total379,200
 • Density438.89/km2 (1,136.7/sq mi)
Time zoneEET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST)EEST (UTC+3)
Postal code99000—99699
Area code(s)+380-692
License plateCH
DecorationsHero of the Soviet Union medal.png Leninorder.svg OrderOctoberRevolution.gif Order of Red Banner.png

Sevastopol (/ˌsɛvəˈstpəl/ or (more usually) /səˈvæstəpl/; Ukrainian: Севасто́поль; Russian: Севасто́поль; Crimean Tatar: Aqyar) is one of two cities with special status in Ukraine (the other being the capital, Kiev), located on the Black Sea coast of the Crimean Peninsula. It has a population of 342,451 (2001). Sevastopol is the second largest port in Ukraine[dubious ], after the Port of Odessa.

The unique geographic location and navigation conditions of the city's harbours make Sevastopol a strategically important naval point. It is also a popular seaside resort and tourist destination, mainly for visitors from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries. The city continues to be the home of the Russian - formerly Soviet - Black Sea Fleet, and is now home to a Ukrainian naval base and has Russian naval facilities leased from Ukraine through 2042. The headquarters of both the Ukrainian Naval Forces and Russia's Black Sea Fleet are located in the city.

The trade and shipbuilding importance of Sevastopol's port has been growing since the fall of the Soviet Union,[citation needed] 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. It was first conducted as a secret naval programme to use the animals for special undersea operations.

Sevastopol enjoys one of the warmest climates in Ukraine, with mild winters and moderate warm summers.


The ruins of an ancient Greek theatre. Chersonesos Taurica


The name of Sevastopolis (Modern Greek: Σεβαστούπολη, Sevastoupoli, old-fashioned Σεβαστούπολις, Sevastoupolis), or currently Sevastopol, was originally chosen in the same etymological trend as other cities in the Crimean peninsula that was intended to reflect its ancient Greek origins. It is a compound of two Greek nouns, σεβαστός (sebastós, Modern sevastós) ('venerable') and πόλις (pólis) ('city'). Σεβαστός is the traditional Greek translation of the honourable Roman title Augustus ('venerable'), originally given to the first emperor of the Roman Empire, G. Julius Caesar Octavianus and later awarded as a title to his successors.

Despite its Greek origin, the name is not old. The city was probably named after the Empress ("Augusta") Catherine II of Russia who founded Sevastopol in 1783. She visited the city in 1787 accompanied by Joseph II, the Emperor of Austria, and other foreign dignitaries.

In the west of the city, there are well-preserved ruins of an ancient Greek port city of Chersonesos, founded in the 5th[citation needed] (or 4th) century BCE. The name means "peninsula" reflecting its location and is not related to the ancient Greek name for the Crimean Peninsula, Chersonēsos Taurikē ("the Taurian Peninsula").

Orthography and pronunciation of the name[edit]



The city of Sevastopol is located at southwestern tip the Crimean peninsula known as Heracles peninsula on a coast of the Black Sea. The city is designated into a special city-region of Ukraine which beside the city itself also includes several other settlements. The city itself is concentrated mostly at the western portion of the region and around the long Bay of Sevastopol that is an extension of Chorna river. Away in a remote location to southeast from Sevastopol there is located a former city of Balaklava, the bay of which in the Soviet times served as a main port for the Soviet nuclear submarines.

The coastline of the region is mostly rocky and inhibits series of smaller bays, a great number of which is located within the mentioned Bay of Sevastopol. The biggest of them are the Southern Bay (within Bay of Sevastopol), the Archer Bay, a gulf complex that consist of the Deergrass Bay, the Bay of Cossack, the Salty Bay, and many others. There are over 30 bays in the region.

Through the region also flows three rivers: Belbek, Chorna, and Kacha. All three mountain chains of Crimean mountains also located in Sevastopol. The southern chain is represented by the Balaklava Highlands, the inner chain is represented by the Mekenziev Mountains, and the outer chain - the Kara-Tau Upland (Black Mountain).


Sevastopol enjoys one of the warmest climates in Ukraine, with mild winters and moderate warm summers. Sevastopol has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfa)[2] near the borderline of the humid continental climate and the semi-arid climate.

The average yearly temperature is 15–16 °C (59–61 °F) during the day and around 9 °C (48 °F) at night. In the coldest months, January and February, the average temperature is 5–6 °C (41–43 °F) during the day and around 1 °C (34 °F) at night. In the warmest months, July and August, the average temperature is around 26 °C (79 °F) during the day and around 19 °C (66 °F) at night. Generally, summer/holiday season lasts 5 months, from around mid-May and into September, with the temperature often reaching 20 °C (68 °F) or more in the first half of October.

The average annual temperature of the sea is 14.2 °C (58 °F), ranging from 7 °C (45 °F) in February to 24 °C (75 °F) in August. From June to September, the average sea temperature is greater than 20 °C (68 °F). In the second half of May and first half of October; the average sea temperature is about 17 °C (63 °F). The average rainfall is about 400 millimetres (16 in) per year. There are about 2,345 hours of sunshine duration per year.[3]

Climate data for Sevastopol
Average high °C (°F)5.9
Daily mean °C (°F)2.9
Average low °C (°F)−0.2
Precipitation mm (inches)26
Average Sea Temperature (1977-1995).[7]
7.0 °C (44.6 °F)6.5 °C (43.7 °F)7.3 °C (45.1 °F)10.0 °C (50.0 °F)14.4 °C (57.9 °F)19.9 °C (67.8 °F)22.4 °C (72.3 °F)23.5 °C (74.3 °F)20.9 °C (69.6 °F)16.9 °C (62.4 °F)12.3 °C (54.1 °F)8.9 °C (48.0 °F)14.2 °C (57.6 °F)


Sevastopol was founded in June 1783 as a base for a naval squadron under the name Akhtiar[8] (White Cliff),[9] by Rear Admiral Thomas Mackenzie (Foma Fomich Makenzi), a native Scot in Russian service, soon after Russia annexed the Crimean Khanate. Five years earlier, Alexander Suvorov ordered that earthworks be erected along the harbour and Russian troops be placed there. In February 1784, Catherine the Great ordered Grigory Potemkin to build a fortress there and call it Sevastopol. The realisation of the initial building plans fell to Captain Fyodor Ushakov who in 1788 was named commander of the port and of the Black Sea squadron.[10] It became an important naval base and later a commercial seaport. In 1797, under an edict issued by Emperor Paul I, the military stronghold was again renamed to Akhtiar. Finally, on April 29 (May 10), 1826, the Senate returned the city's name to Sevastopol.

Panorama Museum of Sevastopol
Three 17th Century Church Bells in Arundel Castle United Kingdom. These were taken from Sevastopol as trophies at the end of the Crimean War

One of the most notable events involving the city is the Siege of Sevastopol (1854–1855) carried out by the British, French, Sardinian, and Turkish troops during the Crimean War, which lasted for 11 months. Despite its efforts, the Russian army had to leave its stronghold and evacuate over a pontoon bridge to the north shore of the inlet. The Russians had to sink their entire fleet to prevent it from falling into the hands of the enemy and at the same time to block the entrance of the Western ships into the inlet. When the enemy troops entered Sevastopol, they were faced with the ruins of a formerly glorious city.

A panorama of the siege originally was created by Franz Roubaud. Later after its destruction in 1942 during WWII, it was restored and is being housed in a specially constructed circular building in the city. It portrays the situation in the height of the siege, on 18 June 1855.

During World War II, Sevastopol withstood intensive bombardment by the Germans in 1941–1942, during the Axis siege which lasted for 250 days before it fell in July 1942. The city was intended to be renamed to "Theodorichshafen" in the event of a German victory against the Soviet Union, and like the rest of the Crimea was designated for future colonization by the Third Reich. It was liberated by the Red Army on May 9, 1944 and was awarded with the Hero City title a year later.

In 1957, the town of Balaklava was incorporated into Sevastopol.

During the Soviet era, Sevastopol became a so-called "closed city". This meant that any non-residents had to apply to the authorities for a temporary permit to visit the city. It was directly subordinate to the central Russian SFSR authorities rather than the local oblast and later (after 1978) to the Ukrainian SSR administration.[11]

The Black Sea Fleet Museum

On December 11, 1992, the President of Ukraine called the attempt of "the Russian deputies to charge the Russian parliament with a task to define the status of Sevastopol as an imperial disease". On December 17, 1992, the office of the Ukrainian presidential representative in Crimea was created, which caused a wave of protests a month later. Among the protesters who organised the unsanctioned rally were the Sevastopol branches of the National Salvation Front, the Russian Popular Assembly, and the All-Crimean Movement of the Voters for the Republic of Crimea. The protest was held in Sevastopol on January 10 at the Nakhimov Square.

On July 10, 1993, the Russian parliament passed a resolution declaring Sevastopol to be "a federal Russian city". At the time, many supporters of the president, Boris Yeltsin, had ceased taking part in the Parliament's work.[12]

The Monument to the ships scuttled during the siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean War

On April 14, 1993, the Presidium of the Crimean Parliament called for the creation of the presidential post of the Crimean Republic. A week later, the Russian deputy, Valentin Agafonov, stated that Russia is ready to supervise the referendum on Crimean independence and include the republic as a separate entity in the CIS. On July 28, 1993, one of the leaders of the Russian Society of Crimea, Viktor Prusakov, stated that his organisation was ready for an armed mutiny and establishment of the Russian administration in Sevastopol. In September, Eduard Baltin accused Ukraine of converting some of his fleet and conducting an armed assault on his personnel, and threatened to take countermeasures of placing the fleet on alert. In May 1997, Russia and Ukraine signed the Peace and Friendship Treaty, ruling out Moscow's territorial claims to Ukraine.[13]

Like in the rest of the Crimea, Russian remains the predominant language in the city, although following the independence of Ukraine there have been some attempts at Ukrainization with very little success. The administration from the Government of Ukraine retains formal control of Sevastopol's life (such as of taxation and police) and tries to avoid confrontation with the Black Sea Fleet command and pro-Russian groups.[citation needed]

The WE Youth Political Organization, which advocates Russian citizenship for Sevastopol residents,[14] published a poll in 2004 claiming "72% of the Sevastopol citizens support the idea of the independent status of Crimea. The Crimea is an autonomous Republic within Ukraine. Besides, 95% of the respondents support the constant stationing of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol even after 2045, when the time of the corresponding agreement between Russia and Ukraine is up. Also, 100% of those polled favor the option for citizens of Sevastopol to obtain dual Russian and Ukrainian citizenship. It is notable, however, that of those expressing a desire to be able to obtain Russian citizenship only 16% of the Sevastopol citizens are ready to give up the Ukrainian one."[15]


Sights and monuments[edit]

St. Vladimir's Cathedral at 'the city hill'
View of Sevastopol and the Northern side.

After World War II, Sevastopol was entirely rebuilt. Many top architects and civil engineers from Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev and other cities and thousands of workers from all parts of the USSR took part in the rebuilding process which was mostly finished by the mid-1950s. The downtown core situated on a peninsula between two narrow inlets, South Bay and Artillery Bay, features mostly Mediterranean-style, three-story residential buildings with columned balconies and Venetian-style arches, with retail and commercial spaces occupying the ground level. Some carefully restored landmarks date back to the early 20th century (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 its famous Marine Boulevard.

Due to its military history, most streets in the city are named after Russian and Soviet military heroes. There are hundreds of monuments and plaques in various parts of Sevastopol commemorating its military past.

Attractions list[edit]

The Panorama Museum (The Heroic Defence of Sevastopol during the Crimean War)
The Storming of Sapun-gora of May 7, 1944, the Diorama Museum (World War II)


Theater Lunacharsky

There are many historical buildings in the central and eastern parts of the city and Balaklava, some of which are architectural monuments. The Western districts have modern architecture. More recently, numerous skyscrapers have been built. Balaklava Bayfront Plaza (On Hold), currently under construction, will be one of the tallest buildings in Ukraine, at 173 m (568 ft) with 43 floors.[16]


The population of Sevastopol proper is 342,451 (2001), making it the 15th largest city in Ukraine and the largest in Crimea. City agglomeration has population 961,885 (2008). According to the Ukrainian National Census, 2001, the ethnic groups of Sevastopol include Russians (71.6%), Ukrainians (22.4%), Belarusians (1.6%), Tatars (0.7%), Crimean Tatars (0.5%), Armenians (0.3%), Jews (0.3%), Moldovans (0.2%), and Azerbaijanis (0.2%).[17]

Age structure[edit]

0-14 years: 14.3% Increase (male 27.856/female 26,532)
15-64 years: 70.3% Decrease (male 126,918/female 141,304)
65 years and over: 15.4% Increase (male 19,038/female 39,826) (2013 official)

Median age[edit]

total: 40.2 years Increase
male: 36.0 years Increase
female: 44.6 years Steady (2013 official)


Political status and subdivision[edit]

Administratively, Sevastopol is a municipality excluded from the surrounding Autonomous Republic of Crimea (see Administrative divisions of Ukraine for more details). The territory of the municipality is 863.5 km² and it is further subdivided into four raions (districts). Besides the City of Sevastopol proper, it also includes two towns — Balaklava (having had no status until 1957), Inkerman, urban-type settlement Kacha, and 29 villages. Sevastopol has no elected mayor, instead a "Chairman of the Sevastopol City State Administration", appointed by the President of Ukraine, functions as a mayor.

City Council[edit]

1. Gagarin Raion (pink)
2. Lenin Raion (red)
3. Nakhimov Raion (blue)
4. Balaklava Raion (light green)
5. Inkerman (green)
Satellite image of the Sevastopol area.

The city of Sevastopol is part of the Sevastopol City council (Ukrainian: міськрада, Russian: горсовет) which has a special status within Ukraine and has a total area of around 863.5 square kilometres (333.4 sq mi). The local administration is represented by the city's governor, the Chairman of the Sevastopol City State Administration.

The Sevastopol city council is divided into four city raions (districts within city): Lenin Raion, Nakhimov Raion, Gagarin Raion, and Balaklava Raion. Lenin and Gagarin raions encompass the Sevastopol city proper, while Nakhimov (north) and Balaklava (east) include the surrounding settlements. The former Balaklava settlement, at the southern portion of Sevastopol City, is part of the Balaklava Raion and is an urban massif of the City of Sevastopol. Out of other settlements, the municipality also contains 29 rural settlements including villages as well as two urban settlements: the Inkerman City and the town of Kacha. All of the settlements are organized within the municipal raions. Most of the Sevastopol City is located within Lenin and Gagarin raions, with Lenin being the central one and housing the administrations of city and municipality.

The Chersonesus Taurica Preserve of Cultural Heritage with archaeological site and museum is located in the Gagarin Raion.

Administrative structure[edit]

This territory, subordinate City Council of Sevastopol is divided into four administrative districts. In part two of them (Gagarin and Lenin) includes only the streets, and the other two (Balaklava and Nakhimovskiy district) are also subject to 28 villages surrounding the city and more than 30 settlements without the status of settlement (such as agricultural or special settlements).

1 Gagarinsky district (western part of the city) 2 Leninsky district (central part of the city) 3 Nakhimovskiy district (northern part of town, north side, and the territory north of the river Belbek) 4 Balaklava district (south-eastern part of the city) 5 Inkerman City Council (in the Balaklava region)

1. Gagarinsky district (western part of the city) includes: Hersonissos, Bays: Kozachiya, Kamishevaya, Omega, Streletskaya, Karantinnaya, beams: Yukharina and Mayachnaya and others.

2. Leninsky district (central part of the city) includes: Karantinnaya Bay on the west, Sarandinakina and South Bays on the east coast of Sevastopol Bay - in the north and the border areas of Balaklava, and Gagarin - in the south.

3. Nakhimovsky district (northern part of town, north side, and the territory north of the river Belbek) The region includes the North and the Ship side of Sevastopol, as well as rural area, with the following towns: Kaczynski village council:

Verhnesadovsky village council:

4. Balaklava district (south-eastern part of the city) Balaklava area (Ukrainian Balaklavsky area krymskotat. Balıqlava rayonı) - Administrative Region in the south and east of the territory of the Sevastopol city council. On the territory of the Balaklava district is the southernmost point of the Ukraine - Cape Sarich.

On the territory of the Balaklava district are 34 settlements (in brackets are the historical, to the renaming of the 1940s, the names of villages): Balaclava (not officially have the status of a separate town, in fact, acts as a regional center)

Inkerman City Council

Orlinovsky village council

Ternovskii village council



Sevastopol Shipyard comprises three facilities that together repair, modernize, and re-equip Russian and Ukrainian Naval ships and submarines.[18]

Apart from navy-related civil facilities, Sevastopol hosts some other notable industries. An example is Stroitel, one of the leading plastics manufacturers in Ukraine.


Trolleybuses ZiU-9 in Sevastopol

There are 7 types of transport in Sevastopol:

Port facilities[edit]

Sevastopol maintains a large port facility in the Bay of Sevastopol and in smaller bays around the Heracles peninsula. The port handles traffic from passengers (local transportation and cruise), cargo, and commercial fishing. The port infrastructure is fully integrated with the city of Sevastopol and naval bases of the Ukrainian Navy and the Black Sea Fleet.

The city annually receives millions of US Dollars in compensation for its hosting the Russian Black Sea Fleet from the Russian and the Ukrainian government.[14]

Russian naval base and ownership dispute[edit]

According to the 1997 treaty, a Russian naval base would continue to be located in Sevastopol and the adjoining region on the terms of a 20-year renewable lease, following a long diplomatic and political dispute between Russia and the newly independent Ukraine.

Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, Moscow refused to recognise Ukrainian sovereignty over Sevastopol as well as over the surrounding Crimean oblast, using the argument that the city was never practically integrated into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic because of its military status. This claim was relinquished in the bilateral Peace and Friendship Treaty, which confirmed that both the Crimea and Sevastopol belong to Ukraine. A separate treaty established the terms of a long-term lease of land and resources in and around Sevastopol by Russia.

The ex-Soviet Black Sea Fleet and its facilities were divided between Russia's Black Sea Fleet and the Ukrainian Navy. The two navies now co-use some of the city's harbours and piers, while others were demilitarised or used by either country. Sevastopol remains the location of the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters with the Ukrainian Naval Forces Headquarters also based in the city. A judicial row periodically continues over the naval hydrographic infrastructure both in Sevastopol and on the Crimean coast (especially lighthouses historically maintained by the Soviet or Russian Navy and also used for civil navigation support).

The status of the Black Sea Fleet has a strong influence over the city's business and cultural life. The Russian society in general and even some outspoken government representatives have never accepted the loss of Sevastopol and tend to regard it as temporarily separated from the homeland.[19] In 2008, Moscow Mayor Yuriy Luzhkov declared that Sevastopol "should again be a Russian city" and appropriated $34 million for "the support of compatriots abroad."[20]

In July 2009, the chairman of the Sevastopol city council, Valeriy Saratov (Party of Regions)[21] stated that Ukraine should increase the amount of compensation it is paying to the city of Sevastopol for hosting the foreign Russian Black Sea Fleet, instead of requesting such obligations from the Russian government and the Russian Ministry of Defense in particular.[22]

On April 27, 2010, Russia and Ukraine ratified the Russian Ukrainian Naval Base for Gas treaty, extending the Russian Navy's lease of the Sevastopol base for 25 years after 2017 (through 2042) with an option to prolong the lease for another 5 years (through 2047). The ratification process in the Ukrainian parliament encountered stiff opposition and erupted into a brawl in the parliament chamber. Eventually, the treaty was ratified by a 52% majority vote - 236 of 450. The Russian Duma ratified the treaty by a 98% majority without incident.[23]

Panorama of the Sevastopol port entrance (left) with its monument to Russian ships which were sunk in the Crimean war (far right side).

See also[edit]

Sister city[edit]



  1. ^ (Ukrainian) Kravchenko, V. Sevastopol or Sevastopil? "Ukrainian life in Sevastopol".
  2. ^ Kottek, M.; J. Grieser, C. Beck, B. Rudolf, and F. Rubel (2006). "World Map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification updated". Meteorol. Z. 15 (3): 259–263. doi:10.1127/0941-2948/2006/0130. Retrieved 28 August 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "The duration of sunshine in some cities of the former USSR" (in Russian). Meteoweb. Retrieved 29 September 2012. 
  4. ^ "Севастополь, Крым, Украина - Описание, путеводитель, туры, авиабилеты, достопримечательности, отели, климат, фото, карта, погода". 
  5. ^ "METEOPROG.UA: Клімат Севастополь". 
  6. ^ "Sevastopol Climate Guide". 
  7. ^ Sevastopol Water temperature 1977-1995 (in Russian), Retrieved 09 August 2012.
  8. ^ Sevastopol in the Ukrainian Soviet Encyclopedia
  9. ^ Sevastopol in the Great Soviet Encyclopedia
  10. ^ "Основание и развитие Севастополя" (in Russian). 2007-05-28. Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  11. ^ The Warsaw Voice, "Fleeting Disagreements", 1996
  12. ^ Russian Parliament Votes a Claim to Ukrainian Port of Sevastopol, The New York Times (July 10, 1993)
  13. ^, December 28, 2005
  14. ^ "The Open Letter to Pres. Putin on Citizenship for Sevastopol". WE Youth Political Organization. 2007-10-29. Retrieved 2008-08-10. 
  15. ^ "72% of the Sevastopol citizens support the idea of the independent Crimea". WE Youth Political Organization. October 2004. Retrieved 2008-08-10. 
  16. ^ "Balaklava Bayfront Plaza, Sevastopol". Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  17. ^ "2001 Ukrainian census". Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  18. ^ "Sevmorverf (Sevastopol Shipyard)". Federation of American Scientists. 24 August 2000. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  19. ^ (in Ukrainian)
  20. ^ Russia's Next Target Could Be Ukraine by Leon Aron, Wall Street Journal, September 10, 2008
  21. ^ Calm sea in Sevastopol, Kyiv Post (September 4, 2009)
  22. ^ Sevastopol authorities asking to raise compensation fees for Russian Black Sea Fleet's basing, Kyiv Post (July 28, 2009)
  23. ^ BBC World: "Parliamentary chaos as Ukraine ratifies fleet deal." 27 April 2010
  24. ^ Schmadel, Lutz D. (2003). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names (5th ed.). New York: Springer Verlag. p. 172. ISBN 3-540-00238-3. 

External links[edit]