KYIV FORTRESS

Kyiv Fortress is an impressively vast complex of casemates, fortifications, and I household buildings of the 18th- 19th centuries. The fortress objects are partially I used by the Ministry of Defense, but the buildings, which are most interesting I from an architectural point of view, have been turned into a museum complex. I The museum exposition tells visitors the history of the fortress, and one can I evaluate the grandiose scope of this fortification complex by the layouts and historical photographs displayed. The object of special pride of the museum I is an outstanding collection of historical and military miniatures. Construction of the Pechersk fortress began during the preparation for the Northern War against Sweden by the order of Petro I. The buildings, which belong to this period, are now referred to as the Old Fortress. This fortress was built on the basis of the fortifications of Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, and this is why the buildings which have been preserved are mostly located around the monastery grounds.

The core of the fortification system was a vast arsenal built by the project of the famous German architect J. Miller. Today, it houses functions the museum complex «Artistic Arsenal», where the exhibitions and other art events are often held. Other objects of the old fortress that have been also preserved are Vasylkiv and Moscow Gates, powder magazines, and fragments of the main rampart with bastions.

The second stage of intensive construction began in the middle of the 19 th century when the fortress was included into the West Russian line of defense. The buildings of this particular period are known as the New Fortress. The Old Fortress was fitted into the territory of the New Fortress, becoming its citadel. After Kyiv Fortress lost its strategic importance at the end of 19th century, its buildings continued to be used for military purposes: they housed headguarters, warehouses, and barracks. A part of the fortifications was allocated for prisons.

Nowadays, the most spectacular piece of Kyiv fortress is the Hospital complex. This is a wide semicircular ground, surrounded by the grim two-storied building of the former Military school of paramedics and fortified by a strong wall with a gate. The complex is encircled by the system of earthen ramparts.

The hospital in the territory of the complex is still used partially for other purposes. The museum expositions occupy its part, which is most interesting from the historical point of view; it is the Kosiy (Obligue) caponier. At first, it was constructed to ensure flank fire at an angle to the earthen rampart of the fortress, hence the name. Most premises of the caponier are located underground, covered from effects of enemy artillery. Since the 1860s, the caponier was used as a high-security prison where the most dangerous political criminals, terrorist, and rebel leaders were held, e. g. Dmytro Bogrov, the murderer of Petro Stolypin). There were rumors in Kyiv, always told in a whisper, about the terrible rules of life behind the impenetrable walls. The Kosiy Caponier was called «the Kyiv Shlisselburg». During the Soviet era, the caponier housed a confinement facility, which was also known for its strict rules.