Northern Fortress - Koporje

History of Koporsky fortress

Koporje was mentioned in the Novgorod annals in 1240 for the first time. Germans set the wooden fortress as advanced post here. In 1241 knjaz Alexander Jaroslavovich and his squad arrived here and demolished the fortress and Germans were beaten severely. And it was serves them. It was said: "who come to us with a sword, will be slain with a sword".

In 1280 Novgorod folks built up the stone fortress in this place and gave it to Dmitry son of Alexander Jaroslavovich. In a couple of years there was a quarrel between them and Novgorods proclaimed an impeachment to him and Dmitry was exiled with disgrace. The true democracy was there!

But there was not any democracy in Sweden in that times, so Swedes landed to the coast of Finnish Gulf close to Narva right away. Novgorods has been forced to restore fortress Koporje in 1297.

During the Livonias war in XV century the fortress was an important strong point of defence of Novgorod republic. In 1581 Swedes captured Koporje, however in 1591 Russian armies took it back.

In the first quarter of XVI century the fortress was entirely reconstructed in connection with rapid development of fire-arms.

In the Time of Troubles (1612) 2.000 of Swedes besieged the fortress and after severe attacks garrison of fortress has been forced to surrender. In 1617 Koporje was given to Sweden under terms of Stolbovsky peace treaty. In 1656 Russians did an attempt to take it back unsuccessfully.

In 1703 (Northern War) there were the great destructions and breaches in the walls of the fortress after severe mortar's bombardment by russian army under command of field marshal Sheremetev. Koporje was yielded Russians after three days siege.

When the border of Russian Empire was drown to the west far from Koporje, the fortress has lost its military value and was abolished as a fortress in 1763. It has been fallen into various private owner's hands who tried to organize mining and trade of a rough-hewed stone here (unsuccessful, fortunately).

Attempts of restoration of the fortress began in 70th years of the last century. In 1979 preservation of Southern, Northern and Sredinnaja (Middle) towers was carried out. Now no restoration works in the fortress are carried on.

Impressions

The bridge and bridge's towers are something! Vaults, dungeons and passages - all that will be needed for beginner digger (digger in Russian means the person who likes to crawl into artificial caves). There are magnificent views from Naugolnaja Tower. All landscape is the same as in Aleksander Nevsky's times (if you can abstract from kolkhoz (collective farm) in the left side of panorama).

The fortress is completely empty, nobody lives here, nobody protects it or does archaeological excavations. Thus, it is the completely needless fortress. To tell the truth, there is a lot of traces of attempts of restoration/preservation works. The iron pins are hammered into the walls, holes and passages are immured with red brick and spots of grey cement are seen here and there. However this work has been done a considerable time ago, so its traces are grown dull and are not arrested attention.

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