The great city of Ukraine, the mother of Russian cities, Kiev has already celebrated its 1500-year anniversary. This city has not only beautiful architecture and friendly inhabitants; it has also a long history of existence, from ancient times until today.

It has survived hundreds of wars and enemy attacks, it has proved its strength and power, it was destroyed, but recovered like a phoenix.

Centuries have left their memorials on the “face” of the Ukrainian capital – these are the ancient Golden Gates, Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra with its caves, beautiful churches and cathedrals, as well as a fortress.

Many of us, until today, were not aware of the existence of the Kyiv Fortress, but it exists, and moreover, it opened its gates to visitors of all ages and generations.

Kyiv fortress is a type of fortification building which was built in the 19th century. This building was built on Cherepanova Mountain; it also applies to the hospital building, and is a member of the New Pechersk fortress. Buildings of this type are the buildings of defensive architecture.

Defensive architecture seems to be the structures intended to defend the settlements, cities, or other facilities that were built for protection from enemies in case of attack or military action.

Objects of defensive architecture are not only defensive fortifications, but also those people who were involved in their construction. This is an entire epoch that can tell us about life at that time, its heroes and historical events. Defensive architecture has another name – the art of fortification, it was called so by an ancient Roman Vitruvius, who noted that it is «the connection of functionality, design and beauty”.

About the origin of the word “fortress”:
A fortress is a closed perimeter of defence, which is designated for the defence of certain objects.
The fortress could have been built both around a single object, and around a city or village. If a fortress was built to defend a military installation, then the garrison was placed inside of it.

View of the Kiev fortress

View of the Kiev fortress

New Pechersk fortress was being built on the order of Peter I, who strengthened its position before the war with the Swedes this way. A fortress was being built from 1706 until 1723 and was a semi-circle. The new Pechersk fortress included the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, Pechersk forstate (a town populated with soldiers and workers), other objects, including the provincial office.

In the period from 1732 to 1737, the strengthening of Sheremetievski banks around the castle, under the leadership of Field Marshal Minich was completed. In 1812 active preparations for war action began, in consequence of that a work was done to eliminate the weaknesses (unprotected Arsenal, a small polygon, etc.), also the order to resettle monks, was launched, except for those that could be involved in hospital and rooms for a hospital were assigned.

These studies were conducted because the castle was originally intended to be a defensive structure to protect the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra. Thus the fortress was ready to a full combat, and now it comprised the Kiev-Pechersk citadel, fortresses, a hospital building, and barracks for the military men and gendarmes, the defending shaft, three towers, the Arsenal defensive building and other fortifications.

The Defending shaft is an artificially created mound of ground, which was being constructed as an obstacle in front of a fortress or other structures.

The main part of the Kiev fortress is the so-called “oblique caponier”.

Caponier is a poor defensive structure, part of which is underground in a pit, and was intended for its own defence.

An oblique caponier was built in 1844 and was intended to protect the hospital. During the construction of this caponier the red brick was used, meanwhile a part of the building is under the ground, but the fortress itself with thick defensive walls is located at an angle to the ground, hence the name «oblique “. Initially, the oblique caponier was used to ensure the safety of weapons and ammunition.

In the mid of the19th century the building has changed its intended purpose. It began to be used as a place of detention the political prisoners. This prison has earned fame of the brutal regime prison, for which it received the name among people “The Kiev Schlisselburg”. In 1863, after the Polish uprising the first “guests” came to the jail, but soon they were shot. Also among prisoners at different times, were members of Selenginsky Regiment and Combat Battalion, of 1905 and 1907, respectively, many of them were also shot.Despite the extensive training of the fortress to the fights, it has never participated in a serious battle, perhaps due to this fact, it has remained virtually untouched to the present date.

The cannon of Kiev fortress

The cannon of Kiev fortress

Today Kyiv fortress accepts, residents and visitors of the capital, within its area. This metropolitan attraction was awarded the honorary title of historical and architectural monument. The Kievan fortress consists of the National Museum of the Great Patriotic War (100001941-1945 years), Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, with its caves and churches, military equipment plant “Arsenal” and other facilities located in the area.

For a nominal fee, you can wander through its outskirts, or book the excursion program. Being on an elevated point of the fortress, you’ll see a nice view of Kiev, that’s why, in spite of what the fortress served as even newlyweds like to take pictures here. For wedding photos here an atmosphere of ancient times is opened, when the Knights courted after the lady of his heart, the epoch of Romeo and Juliet.

Additional Information:
Location: Underground “Pecerska”, Hospitalna street, 24a
Phone: (044) 235-01-46
Schedule: daily except Monday, 10-00-17-00 (entrance to 16-30).
Tickets: adults – 4 UAH, Students – UAH 2. Children – 1 UAH.
Excursions : 10 UAH.


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