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Daugavpils Fortress. The History of the Fortress

Daugavpils Fortress. The History of the Fortress

Daugavpils Fortress is a unique and large construction, and a cultural and historical monument of the early 19th century architecture. Our today’s article is about this object, and we’ll tell you what interesting things you can see there.

Why and when Daugavpils Fortress was built

The Daugavpils Fortress is the only fortress in the Baltics which was built in the early 19th century. Construction of the fortress began in 1810.  Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly, Minister of War of the Russian Empire, ordered to build the fortress to protect the western borders of the Russian Empire from Napoleon’s invasion. A military engineer, Major General Heckel was appointed to supervise construction work. In general, more than 12,000 people took part in the construction of the fortress. They worked non-stop in two shifts.  In 1812 the fortress delayed the advance of Napoleon’s army. In 1813 construction of the fortress continued, though it was never again used in military combat.

The total area of the fortress is 150 hectares. It is the only bastioned fortress that has remained virtually unchanged.  It also has a unique fortification system. From a bird’s eye view, the shape of the fortress resembles the sun or a star. Some people can see a turtle or a bat. At the moment, it is one of the main and most popular attractions in Daugavpils.

Daugavpils Fortress. The History of the Fortress

Fortress’s infrastructure

There are 80 buildings connected to 10 streets that have preserved in the fortress until now. Many of them have been there since the 19th century. Every year local municipality reconstructs the infrastructure of the fortress, and renovates the buildings. For example, the building of the Water Tower, where the Fortress’s Cultural and Information Center is located now. The Commandant’s House which now accommodates the Latgale Regional Department and the Daugavpils Police Department has been renovated. The Mark Rothko art center is located in the building of the former artillery arsenal of the Daugavpils Fortress.

The historical appearance of the Nikolai gate was restored. In 2014, it was recognized as the best restored object in Latvia. Today, there is a souvenir shop and an exhibition of historic costumes work there. The wooden bridge that leads to the Nikolai gate and the first embankment lunette with the guardhouse were recreated. These projects have changed the fortress’s appearance and made it more attractive for visitors.

Daugavpils Fortress. The History of the Fortress

Fortress today

Thanks to various kinds of upgrading projects, Daugavpils fortress is rapidly developing and attracts a large number of tourists not only from the cities of Latvia, but also from other countries. Every year the fortress hosts a large number of events at the city, and national levels. The Night of Museums, Days of European Cultural Heritage are held in the fortress. Since 2015 the fortress has hosted the Festival of Military and Historical Reconstruction “Dinaburg 1812”. During the festival, guests can experience the events of 1812. There are also a lot of entertainment for children and adults.

To sum up, we can say that the Daugavpils Fortress is one of the city’s symbols, as well as an excellent place for walking and taking pictures. If you decide to come to Daugavpils you should visit this place.

Daugavpils Fortress. The History of the Fortress

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