The Aurora's keel was laid down at the "New Admiralty" shipyard in St.Petersburg on 23 May 1897. The cruiser was launched on 11 May 1900 and joined the Navy of Russia in July1903.
During the Russian-Japanese War the cruiser, being included in the second Pacific Ocean squadron, sailed to the Far East (October 1904 - May 1905). The cruiser Aurora had her baptism of fire in the Tsushima battle on 14-15 May 1905. When she returned to the Baltic sea, the Aurora for a long time was used as a ship for training naval cadets of the Naval College.
In 1906-1912 the cruiser visited ports of many countries of the world and on November 1911 the Aurora's crew participated in the festivities in honour of coronation of the Siamese King in Bangkok, the capital of the Kingdom of Thailand. During World War I the cruiser Aurora, as a member of the second squadron, took an active part in the military actions on the Baltic sea. At the end of 1916 the cruiser was put in Petrograd's docks for repairs.
In 1917 the Aurora's crew took an active part in the February and October revolutionary activities and the Civil War repulsing international intervention. In 1922-1923 the cruiser Aurora became one of the first warships on the Baltic sea to be put into service as a specialized ship for training. Till 1940 students of Naval colleges did practical work on the cruiser. "The Aurora" again sailed a lot and visited foreign ports. In 1924 the cruiser was awarded the Red Banner of the USSR Central Committee and in 1927 decorated with the order of Red Banner. With the beginning of the Great Patriotic War the cruiser Aurora with her crew defended Leningrad. She fought battles far from the city (the Chudskaya Flotilla) and at the approaches to it (the Voronya Hill).
Heroic deeds of the sailors added a glorious chapter to the history of their warship. For the whole period of the Leningrad siege from 1941 to 1944 the Aurora was moored at a pier in the Oranienbaum port (the town of Lomonosov) and was constantly shelled and bombed. The hull was holed, got many leakages and sank aground, but the small crew courageously fought for the life of their ship. In July 1944 the ship was raised and taken into a dock for repair.
In 1948 the cruiser Aurora was moored at the Petrogradskaya embankment of Leningrad and till 1956 was used as a naval training ship by the Leningrad Nakhimov College. In 1956 the cruiser Aurora was made a museum (a branch of the Central Naval Museum). For 45 years the museum has been visited by more than 28 million people from 160 countries. In 1968 the cruiser Aurora was decorated with the Order of the October Revolution. In July 1992 the Saint Andrew Naval Banner - the symbol of Russian naval power - was raised over the ship again.