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Northwest fortresses

Northwest fortresses

The variety of different age-old fortresses and fortifications are located in the northwest of Russia. Before the XVII century there was a borderland of Russia with Europe in the northwest. That?s why at that territory there are many fortifications that served as outposts, protected Russia from foreign aggressors such as Swedes, Poles and Germans. Nowadays these fortresses became museums that told tourists about the military history of Russia.

Ivangorod?s fortress

Ivangorod (the town of Ivan) is a town that was created as a fortress in 1492 by Moscow prince Ivan III and titled in his honour. Ivangorod?s fortress was erected on the left bank of the Narva River opposite the fortress of the knights of the order of Lyvonia ? Narva. That?s why Ivangorod?s fortress got the second title ? ?contr-Narva?. At first the fortress was made of wood but after several fires it was reconstructed in stone. The fortress was unique because it had geometrical planning that was innovation for the Russian fortification architecture. Ivangorod?s fortress repulsed the attacks of Poles, Germans and Swedes successfully but in the XVI century was captured by Swedes. In 1704 the fortress was free from Swedes by Peter I. After the end of the North war the fortress lost its significance. In 1919-1940 the fortress belonged to Estonia and called Janalinn. In 1940 it was captured by German forces and was free from them by Russian army in 1944.

Nowadays one can see the whole complex of fortress: the fortress of the XVI century, Assumption Cathedral (XVI), the church of St. Nicolay (1498), the Castle ? fortification in the west of the fortress, gate and caches, arsenal and powder magazine.


Koporye is a village in Leningrad?s region. The first record about the fortress of Koporye is dated to 1240 when the knights of the order of Lyvonia founded a wooden fortress. In 1241 Alexander Nevsky won over and destroyed the fortress. In 1280 the prince Dmitry Alexandrovich ordered to construct a stone fortress but it was demolished by the forces of Novgorod in 1282. A fortress in Koporye was erected again in 1297. In the XV-XVI centuries the fortress was reconstructed in connection with spreading of firearm. In 1581-1590 the fortress was under control of the Swedish kingdom. In 1617 the fortress was captured by Swedes again and in 1703 was returned back by Peter I. In 1763 it was abolished as a military fortress.

Nowadays tourists can see the ruins of the age-old fortress: walls and 4 towers. In addition to the ruins one can look round the ruins of the church of Transfiguration, constructed in the XVI century, and subterranean passages that lead to dungeons and to the river.


The fortress Oreshek or Schlisselburg was founded on the Nut Island in 1323. The island and the fortress got their titles because of similarity of the shape of the island with nut. The fortress was created by the order of the prince Yury Danilovich and at first was made of earth. In 1352 the fortress was reconstructed and its walls were made of stone. In the XV century the Nut princedom (Orekhovetskoye) was included in Moscow princedom and the fortress was rebuilt again. In 1612 Oreshek was captured by Swedes and they gave the fortress new name Noteburg. In 1702 Peter I returned the fortress back and gave another name ? Schlisselburg that means Key-town. From the XVIII century the fortress was turned into a political prison. The sister of Peter I and his first wife became first prisoners of the fortress. In 1764 here was imprisoned the Emperor Ivan IV who was killed when trying to escape. In 1826 there was erected the Secret House ? a prison where the Decembrists were kept. In 1907 here was constructed a New Prison that became a convict prison. The fortress Schlisselburg was supposed to be the most terrible prison of Russia. After Revolution in 1917 everybody was set free.

Nowadays Oreshek turned into museum under the open sky. The fortress hardly suffered from German occupation in 1941-1944 but the main constructions were kept. Destructions even added the fortress mysteriousness and fascination.

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