Northern Fortress - Northern Forts


Northern Forts is the circuit of 9 artillery forts (7 number forts and two new forts - Obruchev and Totleben). This forts are the sea artillery instalations on the artifical islands which were built for protectoin of northern fairway to St.Petersburg. Distances between them are near to 2-2,5 kms for continuous gun's fire zone and convenient ammunition supply of forts by water.

First fortification plane of the fairway was made in Peter Great times. However the warks began in 1800th. The continuous pile and rjazevy (the wooden frames filled with boulders and earth) barrier were aranged and two wooden artillery batteries on the piles were constructed also.

In 1824 forts were fairly destroyed by the strongest flooding. In 1827 was made decision to replace wooden strengthenings by stone ones. Just before the Crimean war stone casemates were constructed. It's brick vaults has thickness in the lock near to 2 meters, all forts were reveted with a granite. Three othe forts were built and now 5 casemat's forts defended Northern channel (##5-9 in old numeration).

In June, 1854 the England-French sea squadron has approached near to Kronstadt. They sow to the forts and batteries, lost a pair of ships on mine obstacles (first-ever used here) and got out with anything. The same repeated in 1855-56.

In 1865-70 two extra forts were built with guns in open mountings behind of earth breastwork. In 1780 rearment on some forts was made and new 1877 9' and 11' guns were installed.

In 1884 guns were removed from casemates and they were used as shelter and mine warehouses. In 1896 forts #3 and #5 outdated completely and were removed from the rank. On the Fort #1 in 1901-10 modernization works were conducted and it became key defensive position of Kronstadt together with newly constructed forts "Totleben" and "Obruchev" and battery "Konstantin".

In 1921 during the Kronstadt's mutiny against "bolsheviks" garrisons of forts were on the insurrection's side.

1941 - WWII. German bomber's pilots has gloomy memoirs about anti-aircraft artillery of Kronstadt and its forts. They wrote that artillery and machine-guns were setting out in all possible places. Oservation posts, artillery positions and concrete machine-gun pillboxes are well preserved on the forts from that times.

After WWII forts were used as warehouses of naval property and ammunitions. In 1960th all guns and metal equipment were gathering for scrap metal - a vivid example of modern vandalizm. A possible intresting tourist objects has been destroyed.

In 1970-90th of the last century protective constructions of Leningrad from flooding (the Dam) were constructed. The dam has been laid straight through forts #3 and #7.

The present condition of forts is poor and pitiable. They are completely deserted, fairly dusted, collapsed, worned out by sand, it's granite facing is stolen for gravestones, and Fort #3 will soon cease to exist because of excavations conducted on the dam.


It was very curious to have a look. There are not so many such of installations in over the world, I mean, the combination of a rich history and present decline. In general, this ruins gives very strong impressions and associations for an inquisitive mind.

"If the sea fortress did not make any shot for all war and the enemy considered it unprofitable to enter with competition with it, this fortress will do it’s duty in the best way." - (Klado N.L. " About seaside fortresses from the point of view of fleet ". SPb., 1910). It is worth to agree with this statement, especially because the fortress with extreme expenses and deprivations was constructed after all.

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