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   Ancient fortifications of Kyiv

   Te first Kyiv fortifications were mentioned at the turn of the 6th and 7th centuries. They consisted of ramparts and moats surrounding the "city of Kyi", which occupied an area of about 1.5 hectares on Old Kyiv Hill.

  In the 10th-11th centuries, the fortifications of the Upper Town were built, turning Kyiv into a large fortress with an area of about 150 hectares encompassing Volodymyr’s and Yaroslav’s towns.

   During the reign of Volodymyr (980-1015), these fortifications included earlier fortifications which previously surrounded Kyiv settlement. New fortress ramparts were built on the basis of raw bricks. At the same time, Sofiyski Gate was built to become probably Kyiv’s first stone fortification.

   Under Yaroslav the Wise (1018-1054), work on building a new fortress began in 1037, while the fortifications of "Volodymyr’s Town" were preserved forming an internal defensive line.

    Inside, the city new ramparts were fortified with oak cages (log huts) measuring 3 × 3 m. The upper cages, which were not covered with earth, were used to accommodate soldiers and to keep weapons. The rampart was 30m wide at the bottom  and 16m tall, including wooden fortifications at the top.

In addition to the Upper Town fortifications, fortifications were built in Podil, a trading and craft center of ancient Kyiv, as well as in suburban settlements and around monasteries. The sole purpose of these fortifications was to defend the residents against sudden raids of nomadic tribes who were unable to stage a long siege.

      At the end of the XII century, a stone defensive wall was erected around Pechersk Monastery, which became the first ever solid fortification in Pechersk.

   In this shape and form, Kyiv fortifications successfully fulfilled their intended purpose of protecting the population from attacks of nomads and served as a stronghold of Kyiv princes in their power struggle against other princes. The old division of Kyiv into the Upper Town (subsequently called the Old Town), Podil and Pechersk was preserved for centuries.

     Due to the breakup of Kyivan Rus into separate principalities, the military power of Kyiv prince was substantially diminished and in 1240 the Batu Khan’s troops laid siege to Kyiv. On December 6, they managed to break into Kyiv through the frozen Goat’s Swamp. As a result, Kyiv, along with its fortifications, was destroyed and fell into disrepair.

    After the departure of the Tatars, Kyiv was ruled by Galician princes. During this period, no works were carried out to strengthen its fortifications. In 1362, Kyiv passed into the hands of Lithuanian princes and remained so until 1569. During this time, Kyiv’s center was located in Podil, which was somewhat fortified with a rampart, walls and wooden towers.

    The Lithuanian princes stopped short of restoring the ramparts of the Upper Town, having built instead a wooden castle on the mountain that dominates Podil. The castle served as the residence of Lithuanian governors and withstood the siege of Timur-Kutluk in 1399 and that of Yedigey in 1416, but was burned down by Mengli-Girey in 1482, along with the city. In 1532-1545, the castle was restored and rebuilt.

    In 1569, Kyiv fell under the rule of the Polish king. The Polish garrison was stationed at the castle, where it survived the siege of the Cossacks in 1593. In 1605, during a thunderstorm the castle burned down. Restored after the fire, it withstood another siege of the Cossacks in 1638 to be completely burned down by rebels and Cossacks who rose against the Polish garrison in 1651. Following this, the mountain was abandoned and all Kyiv fortification works were briefly suspended. From then onwards, the mountain came to be known under another name - “Castle Hill”.

   Old Kyiv and Old Pechersk fortresses

   In 1654, the Russian-Polish war began, which lasted until 1667. During this period, Kyiv fortifications were given a new lease of life.

    In 1654, at the request of Bohdan Khmelnytsky, a detachment of Moscow troops under the command of Princes F.S. Kurakin and V.V. Volkonskyi arrived in Kyiv. After inspecting the city, they came to the conclusion that it was necessary to build a fortress on the site of the ancient fortifications of Yaroslav the Wise. In addition to the convenient location, the remaining old ramparts could have been used as a basis thereby significantly reducing required time inputs. In 1655, the fortress was eventually built.

  On August 16, 1658, the newly-built fortress passed a combat test having repelled the attack of Danylo Vyhovsky’s detachment of twenty thousand Cossacks and Tatars on August 16-27, 1658.

    After the conclusion of the Treaty of Andrusiv in 1667, Kyiv became part of Moscow kingdom, or Muscovy. The new border ran largely along the Dnieper River and Kyiv was Muscovy’s only bridgehead on the Dnieper right bank from where the Russian army could strike in all directions in the Right-Bank Ukraine. The expansion of Muscovy brought it closer to the new serious enemy – Turkey, meaning that Kyiv’s fortifications needed strengthening. The capture of Chyhyryn by the Turks in 1678 once again brought home the enormous danger posed by the Turkish army.

    The capture of Chyhyryn resulted in further concentration of Russian troops in Kyiv under the command of P.V. Sheremetiev and of the Cossacks under the command of Hetman Samoilovych. Large-scale fortification works began mainly in the Old Town on the ancient ramparts in 1679 and involved adapting them to the new conditions of warfare by means of building small bastions. At the same time, the redundant portions of the ancient ramparts which could not be used for defense purposes were leveled to the ground. In addition to these works, a new bastion-like transverse rampart was raised in the Old Town.












   Fearing that the Great Northern War, which had been going on for several years, could spread to the south (especially after the defeat of King Augustus II of Poland), Peter I made a tour of Kyiv and commissioned a new fortress in Pechersk. On August 15, 1706, during a solemn ceremony attended by the tsar, Pechersk fortress was laid out. There is no general agreement among historians about who was the project author: engineer Gellert or Lamot de Tampius. The fortress records, however, say that the designs were made by Peter I.

    Under the direction of military engineer Hoffman, the works were carried out at a fairly high speed. Hetman I. Mazepa and Colonel Heisen were entrusted with supervising the construction. The first was appointed for the simple reason that a large number of Cossacks were enlisted for the construction effort – the fact that annoyed Mazepa as it was important for him to have as many troops as possible under his control, but the Cossacks involved in the construction were beyond his control. The Hetman made every effort to recall the Cossacks from the construction works. Mazepa's numerous appeals to Peter I were finally granted in 1707. This was partially explained by the fact that the Cossacks found themselves in very difficult circumstances due to poor equipment and food.

    By 1708, a large part of the fortress had already been built. Since the new fortress was more advanced than the Old Town Fortress, in 1711 the governor-general of Kyiv moved into it.  The construction of Pechersk Fortress was completed in 1723. At the same time, the Old Town fortress was dubbed Old Kyiv Fortress (Old Town Fortress). Thus, in 1723 there were two independent fortresses in Kyiv: Pechersk Fortress (occasionally called Petrivska) and Old Kyiv Fortress.

    After the extremely unsuccessful Prut campaign in 1711, the situation on the border with Turkey deteriorated. Therefore, in 1712 measures were taken to ensure unimpeded communication between Kyiv’s fortresses. Under the command of Hetman Skoropadskyi, the Cossacks built a retrenchment, i.e., a continuous fortification in the form of a moat and a rampart, which connected the two fortresses.


Годинникова башта та оборонний мур возведенні за кошт Гетьмана Мазепи

Hodynnykova tower and defensive wall built at the

expense of Hetman Mazepa

 Led by Hetman Ivan Samoilovych, the Cossacks built a quadrangular fortress made of earth and topped by a wooden fence around Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra and the adjoining Pechersk settlement that belonged to it. The fortress corners were topped by small bastions and wooden gate towers, giving a new impetus to fortification construction in Pechersk. All these works were completed in 1682. In 1684, works in the Old Town resumed under the supervision of General Patrick Gordon. As a result, the fortress buildings were renovated and construction of several gates was completed.

  Following this, all fortification works in the Old Town were halted for years and resumed only in the reign of Peter I. In 1696-1701, at the expense of Hetman Mazepa, Pechersk Lavra was surrounded by a stone wall which was 1,190m long, 2.5m to 3m thick and up to 7m high. The construction was supervised by Aksamytov. The walls had loopholes for rifle fire and were reinforced by four towers: Ivan Kushchnyk, Hodynnykova, Onufriivska and Malyarna.

                 Петрівський бастіон Печерської фортеці


Petrivskyi  bastion of Pechersk Fortress

            Арсенал Печерської фортеці

Arsenal of Pechersk Fortress

  Upon completion of the construction, Pechersk Fortress consisted of nine earthen bastions (the ramparts were 6m high): Rizdvianyi, Semenivskyi, Oleksiyivskyi, Andriyivskyi, Kavalerskyi, Uspenskyi, Petrivskyi, Spasskyi, and Pavlivskyi. It should be noted that in a number of documents the Pavlivskyi bastion is referred to as a semi-bastion. The bastion fronts between Kavalerskyi, Uspenskyi, Petrivskyi and Spasskyi bastions were reinforced by three ravelins (Vasylkivskyi, Novyi, and Kyivskyi). In addition, the curtain walls of the bastion fronts, with the exception of two of them, were reinforced with tenailles. The fortress was surrounded by a dry moat, which was 6m deep and up to 40 m wide. On the covered roadway were traverses and bridgeheads in the entrance corners. There were three wooden gates leading into the fortress: Vasylkivski, Kyivski and Pyatnychni. In front of each of them was a moat with a drawbridge. The fire line of the main rampart was 1, 270 sazhens long. To tighten up control over Navodnytska Road the Near and the Far retrenchments were built in front of the Rizdvianyi and Oleksiyivskyi bastions. The fortress had 467 guns, 27 mortars and 3 howitzers (some of the guns were kept in the warehouses). To accommodate 1, 040 troops a number of premises were built but that was not enough in case of a war. Therefore, during the siege the garrison was free to use all Lavra’s buildings and supplies, as most of Lavra monks had to be evicted.

   The completion of the construction of Pechersk Fortress affected the status of the Old Kyiv Fortress. Starting from 1724, only its outer rampart would be kept in good condition. Things did not change until the 30's of the XVIII century. At the time, the external political situation on Russia's borders was difficult, so the fortress had to be reinforced even further. In 1732, due to the escalation of the threat of a Turkish attack, large-scale fortification works began in Kyiv. The Commander-in-Chief of Russia’s troops, Field Marshal B.Kh. Minich saw Kyiv as the main supply base for the army operating in the south. As a result, the Old Kyiv Fortress was reinforced and new fortifications were erected. In Pechersk Fortress only Kyivski Gate was rebuilt in stone. In the Old Kyiv Fortress, the old ramparts erected as far back as 1679-1684 were repaired and raised to a great height under Minich’s direction.

Нижня Московська брама  Печерської фортеці

Lower Moskow Gate of Pechersk Fortress

   Likewise, the Fortress gates were strengthened by additional fortifications. Of paramount importance for Kyiv was the restoration and strengthening of the retrenchment connecting Pechersk and Old Kyiv fortresses (in subsequent plans it is referred to as the "retrenchment of Count Minich"). Additionally, the retrenchment line was extended beyond the Old Kyiv Fortress into Kudryavets. Kyiv was beginning to look like a huge fortified camp, which could accommodate a large army and all supplies it might have needed.

    Behind the rampart line and in direct proximity to it five small square redoubts were built. After the Russo-Turkish war began in 1735, the works intensified reaching the biggest momentum in 1736.

The fact that the fortresses were connected to each other via the retrenchment within the city limits was of great importance for Kyiv’s growth.

   Compared to the Old Kyiv Fortress, Pechersk Fortress was more thoroughly fortified. Several stone powder stores were built and Moskow Gate was built of stone over the site of the wooden Pyatnychni Gate.

    Additionally, two earthen lunettes were built in front of the Fortress’ southern front to keep a close watch over Navodnytska Road. The Fortress’ largest stone building was the brick Arsenal building built by military engineer I. Meller in 1784-1798 (its perimeter was 800 meters long). With the completion of the construction of the Arsenal building all fortification works stopped in Pechersk Fortress. Due to external political situation, there was no need to further strengthen Kyiv fortifications. After the second and third partitions of Poland (in 1793 and 1795, respectively), the new border was shifted away hundreds of kilometers west of Kyiv. As a result, Kyiv was suddenly no longer a border-line fortress but rather a city in the rear. In 1803, it was decided to stop all maintenance works in the Old Kyiv Fortress.

План Звіринецького укріплення (ЦДІАК)

Plan of Zvirynets fortifications (TsDIAK )

       Zvirynets fortifications

       For the first time, the need to fortify Zvirynets Hill became apparent when the country faced the threat of an invasion by Napoleon’s army. After his appointment as Minister of Military Affairs in 1810, Barclay de Tolly began secret and intensive preparations to strengthen the borders of the Russian Empire. After inspecting Kyiv’s territory, he proposed to strengthen the existing fortifications.

   One of the factors that necessitated the improvement of the fortifications was the technological progress in the firearms field and, above all, in artillery. As the artillery fire range became larger, the distance between fortifications significantly increased and positions from which the enemy could conduct fire became more diverse.

   In April 1810, the engineer Major General Opperman sent a report to the Minister of Military Affairs Barclay de Tolly, describing the results of a survey of the Old Kyiv and Pechersk fortresses with proposals about how to strengthen their fortifications.

   According to the 1810 defense plan developed in a very short space of time, new fortifications were to be promptly built on the mountain adjacent to Kyiv-Pechersk Fortress, from which the enemy could open artillery fire on the Fortress fortifications.

    Construction of Zvirynets fortifications began on June 24, 1810. It should be noted that the Zvirynets tract was separated from the hill topped by Kyiv-Pechersk Fortress by the so-called Navodnytskyi Ravine, which is one of the largest ravines on the right bank of the Dnieper River. The ravine was crisscrossed by the Moscow Road, whose right bank section – covered from Navodnitskyi Bridge on rafts or in some seasons on board a ship, and leading to Pechersk suburbs - was of strategic importance. It is no accident that close to the southern side of the Fortress two fleches were built on nearby hills in the 70s of the XVIII century. At the beginning of the second third of the XIX century, the fleches were complimented by 4 lunettes - huge earthworks designed to control the approaches to the Fortress in this area, that is, the huge Navodnytskyi Ravine in which enemy troops could have hid themselves and reached the Fortress unnoticed. The two lunettes were built over the site of the fleches.

    On January 26, 1813, the director of the Engineering Department Opperman wrote in the "Brief Report on the Defensive Measures Taken on the Current Western Border of the Empire":

   “Kyiv-Pechersk Fortress is locked by the river on the river side, has been put on full alert and armed. Counter-mines and bomb-safe dugouts have been set up; Moreover, a special fortification has been built on Zvirynets Hill and the valley lying between this fortification and the Fortress has been filled with redoubts and batteries; Also, to improve the safety of the Dnieper bridge, a temporary tet-de-pon was erected.

   During the construction of the New Pechersk Fortress, several projects were developed to modernize Zvirynets fortifications. However, none of them was implemented. In 1850, a decision was made to give up on Zvirynets fortifications as useless after the construction of "the New Kyiv Fortress fortifications which were connected to the Citadel."

   In 1885, the powder warehouses were moved from Kyiv-Pechersk Fortress bastions to the former fortifications. On June 6, 1918, an artillery depot exploded near these fortifications detonating 2 million shells. It was the biggest explosion in Kyiv’s history, which destroyed the entire residential district.


   Today, the fortifications grounds are home to M.M. Grishko National Botanical Gardens (National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine).

New Pechersk Fortress

The fortress construction plan was approved by Nicholas I on March 25, 1830. The author of the initial project was the engineer-general K.I. Opperman. On May 31 of the same year, in the presence of the Emperor, the Fortress was laid out on the ground, and according Kyiv Fortress records, on July 30, 1831 the first stone was laid in the foundations of Redoubt 1 of Vasylkiv fortifications, which was the first building of the New Pechersk Fortress. The main construction works in the Fortress were completed in 1856. The New Pechersk fortress consisted of the following fortifications: Vasylkiv and Hospital fortifications, Kyiv-Pechersk Fortress fortifications and a number of standalone fortifications, including towers No. 4, 5, 6, defensive barracks of the gendarmerie regiment and military cantonists, arsenal workshops, defensive

План Нової Печерської фортеці   Орієнтовно станом на 1855 р.

Plan of New Pechersk Fortress. Approximately in 1855

   In terms of its design, the New Pechersk Fortress differs enormously from fortresses being built in Russia at the time. Only Kyiv-Pechersk Fortress and Vasylkiv and Hospital fortifications had moats and earthen ramparts, as well as a closed gorge (though only in the form of a defensive wall), which allowed for self-defense. All other structures included defensive towers and barracks, which were located in the open, connected by brick defensive walls supplemented by a single redoubt and from 1854 in some places, by earthen batteries.

barracks located on the isthmus, river-side defensive fortifications, and the upper and lower retaining defensive walls.

   During the Crimean War, Kyiv Fortress was strengthened by additional fortifications, such as earthen artillery batteries and wooden and earthen blockhouses for artillery and rifle fire. The left-bank approaches to the chain bridge were protected by the construction of a bridgehead fortification equipped with 38 guns.

Vasylkiv fortifications

Vasylkiv fortifications consisted of an earthen rampart of tenaille outline, a dry moat with an earthen escarp and a counter-escarp, which was covered with a ravelin of a one-story caponier, Redoubt No.1 and towers Nos. 2 and 3. At the bottom of the moat ran a separate escarpment defensive wall shaped like an arch, which reduced the likelihood of its collapse over a large area and, in addition, provided better shooter protection from mounted fire. Under each arch were three rifle loopholes: one for conducting direct fire and the other two for conducting right and left-hand fire. The moat was defended on the faces facing the enemy from the caponier, and the sides from the towers which protruded beyond the ramparts. Open casemates for conducting artillery fire were set up in the ramparts to fire at the moat sections that could not be reached from the caponier and the towers. Each open casemate was intended to conduct fire at two adjacent moat sections. Four artillery embrasures were equipped to fire at each moat section. However, according to the rules in force at the time, guns were installed only at 2 embrasures to flank moat sections. In addition, casemates were erected on either side of the ravelin to shell the moat in front of the ravelin. To enable the garrison soldiers to arrive at the positions behind the escarpment wall, as well as for communication with the caponier and the open casemates embedded in the rampart, 5 posterns were built. One of them was used for communication with the caponier, two were used for communication with the open casemates,

Вал Васильківського укріплення

Rampart of Vasylkiv fortifications

План Васильківського укріплення 1847 року (ЦДІАК)

Plan of Vasylkiv fortification in 1847 (TsDIAK)

and the remaining two, which were located close to towers No. 2 and No.3, allowed soldiers to reach the escarpment wall. The garrison troops could also get to the positions behind the escarpment wall through posterns that led to the caponier and casemate flanks.

    In the center of the fortification, closer to the rear side, was located Redoubt No. 1. Further down the rear side stood both towers, which were located on the fortification flanks. This made it possible to move them away from the area of enemy artillery fire. The towers were connected to the Redoubt by a defensive wall with rifle loopholes. Thus, the approaches to the fortifications gorge were protected by crossfire from the towers and through the walls. The fact that the Redoubt was located in front of the tower made it possible to open crossfire from the Redoubt and one of the towers on any inner section of the fortifications, as well as to mutually defend approaches to each other.

    The line of fire of Vasylkiv fortifications was 565 sazhens long. The fortifications were equipped with 205 guns and 1, 501 rifles. 220 casemates could accommodate 2,960 low-ranking officers and 22 staff and senior officers. There were also wooden warehouses within the fortifications grounds.

   According to Kyiv Fortress records, the construction of Vasylkiv fortifications began in 1832 and was completed in 1839, except for Tower No.2, which was completed in 1842. It should also be noted that the church iconostasis of Tower No. 3 was made as late as 1840.

Редюіт №1

Redoubt No.1

Башта №2


Tower No. 2

According to the Fortress records, the tower was built over a period from 1832 to 1842. It should be noted that the tower foundations were laid in 1832, and the construction of the basement began only in 1838. The construction costs were 265,357 rubles and 12 ½ kopecks. A round monumental building with an enclosed courtyard, which served as a training ground. It housed 37 residential casemates and 35 non-residential ones. As of 1890, the arsenal of Tower No 2 consisted of eight copper 4-pound rifled guns.

In 1845, the tower was home to 485-men strong prisoner-of-war correctional companies, as well as 95 guards, security guards, non-commissioned officers and clerks.


 In 1863, it was used as a place of detention for Polish uprising participants. They also dug up a tunnel in one of the cells through which they escaped. After 1897, the tower outline somewhat changed: loopholes were made, the windows on the outer facade were widened and internal alterations were made. Since the 1990s, it has been used by trade outlets.


Tower No. 2

(Tower No. 3 (Prozorovsk Tower

  The tower was built between 1833 and 1839. In 1840, an iconostasis was installed in the tower church. In the same year, an infantry battalion was quartered in the tower. From the very beginning, the tower was intended to house troops, but throughout its rich history, it has been used for various purposes. It housed 38 residential and 30 non-residential casemates, which could accommodate 800 people. The construction cost was 307,161 rubles and 42 ½ kopecks. As of 1890, the arsenal of Tower No 2 consisted of eight copper 4-pound rifled guns.

  A distinguishing feature of Tower No 3 was the presence of a church, whose iconostasis was decorated in the English Gothic style. In 1841, a crypt was erected, in which the ashes of General-Field Marshal O.O. Prozorovskyi and those of his wife placed on July 7.

   By the decree of Nicholas I of December 5, 1836, the tower was named Prozorovsk in honor of Field Marshal O.O. Prozorovskyi.

Башта №3 "Прозоровська"

Tower No. 3 (Prozorovsk Tower)

Капонір №2. Госпітального укріплення. Капонір Васильківського укріплення мав ідентичний вигляд

Caponier #2 of Hospital fortification.

Caponier of Vasylkiv fortification was identical




The caponier was placed in the fortifications moat behind the ravelin fence. Its walls were reinforced with embrasures and rifle loopholes for firing. It has a vaulted ceiling with the roof covered with iron sheets. The caponier foundations were laid in 1833, and construction itself was carried out in 1837-1838. Inside the caponier gorge were two defensive walls with two gates to the moat spanned by two small drawbridges on lifting chains across the ditch.  The construction cost was 44,392 rubles and 38 ½ п kopecks. The caponier has not survived to this day.


Defensive Wall

The defensive escarpment wall ran along the escarp of the main fortification rampart and the ravelin. The construction period lasted from 1837 to 1839. The construction cost was 160,145 rubles and 49 ½ kopecks.

In addition to the escarpment defensive wall, in Vasylkiv fortifications there was a gorge defensive wall connecting Redoubt No 1 with Tower No 2 and Prozorovsk Tower. The construction period - 1833-1839. It should be noted, however, that in 1833 only the foundations were laid on the right side of Redoubt No 1 and construction of the wall began only in 1838.

Горжева оборонна стіна Васильківського укріплення

Gorge defensive wall of Vasylkiv fortification

Redoubt No.1

The construction of the New Pechersk Fortress began with the laying of a foundation stone of Redoubt No. 1 of Vasylkiv fortifications. However, it should be noted that although the foundation stone was laid in 1831, the construction of the Redoubt began in 1832 and ended in 1837. It is a large two-story horseshoe-shaped defensive structure with two casemate wings. The redoubt gorge is adjoined by a defensive wall, which connects it to towers Nos. 2 and 3. The cost of building the Redoubt and the gorge wall was 299, 692 rubles and 7 kopecks. It was built to house officers’ barracks, which were briefly replaced by a military hospital and later on, by a prison. It is now managed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

План Госпітального укріплення (ЦДІАК)

Plan of Hospital fortification (TsDIAK)

    Hospital fortification

   Was built over a period from 1836 to 1851. Hospital fortification consisted of a fortifications moat and rampart, a separate defense wall (Carnot wall) which was located at the lower part of rampart and also it was made an additional protection. The defense of the fortifications was done by 4 caponiers which were located at the bottom of graff. It is (a fortifications moat) also could be supplemented by rifle fire through loopholes of defense wall. The defense of the north-western direction was reinforced by caponiers which were rendered outside of the graff on the slope of Cherepanova Hill. The defense of the Hospital fortification was divided into sections – which were called polygons (there have been three) and two fronts – Northern and Gorge. In the graff of the Northern Front was the North Gate of strengthening. In the gorge part of the hospital building and defense wall of gorge front was 3 gates. An approach to the North Gate was covered by the North Half-tower.

   Southern Front was gorge, that’s why a fortifications moat and rampart were absent. There were only graff and the defense wall on the both sides of the hospital building. It was done in a case of capture of the hospital buildings and to facilitate the garrison to conduct the counterattack. Thicknesses of the walls allowed preparing counterattack more quickly and destroy the enemies by artillery fire. Two-story building of hospital, casemated bath building, and different barns for accommodation were both located inside of the Hospital fortification. The wings of the hospital building were connected with the casemated bath building by defense wall. So all this buildings were made an internal line of defense (reduit), where the garrison could defend in case of break of the enemy through the main rampart of fortification. All fortification used to allow putting the 355 guns and 822 soldiers with rifles. The length of the defensive position on the main rampart of fortification was 1 km 195 m.

North Half-tower

   Was built over a period from 1840 to 1842. Two-storey barracks had the shape of half-ring and it covering the all Northern Front of Hospital Fortification. The half-tower building included 58 casemates. In the field-facing wall 100 embrasures for artillery and 106 loopholes for rifle. There was build 3 two-storey caponiers for the conduct of gunfire. All courtyards here were under the fire from rampart of the Hospital Fortification and the North Gate. There located 16 medical ranks and 344 lower ranks in the peaceful time.

Тильний фасад Північної напівбашти

Rear facade of Northern half-tower

Північна брама та Центральний капонір

North Gate and Central Caponier


North Gate

   North Gate was a part of the Hospital Fortification of the New Pechersk Fortress. The North Gate was the entrance to the main rampart of the Hospital Fortification. The gate was built in 1844. The Central caponier of the Hospital Fortification is located in front of the North Gates. The driveway of the North Gate was made as a tunnel through rampart. There was 7 rifle loopholes from each side of the walls for fighting with the enemy. On the both sides of passing there are 1 casemate with 1 port and 2 loopholes for firing territory between the North gate and North Half-tower.

There was corps de grade from the back side of the gateand at the both sides of the passage. There were 5 loopholes for inside driveway shooting. There also were wide stairs leading to the 1st floor of the North gate. 1st floor was a loopholed gallery with 8 loopholes. Also shooting can be done from the roof of the North gate.


Separate defense wall (Carnot wall)

  Separate defense wall (Carnot wall) was an integral part of the Hospital Fortification.

  In foreign fortification named "Carnot wall". The main isolate the objective was moat and rampart of fortifications. The wall had a height about 5 m and was organized by numerous of rifle loopholes. The wall had an arched structure, it prevented from collapsing on a large plot during shelling. Under each arch was 3 loopholes: one for straight shooting, one at an angle for shooting to the left, and one at an angle for shooting to the right.

Окрема ескарпова оборонна стіна

Separate escarpment defensive wall

On the side of rampart at regular intervals to the wall was added the short wall (transverse) with passages. The length of the casemate wall was (1 km 63 m). It was built in 1844-1851.

   Caponiers of 1st, 2nd and 3rd firing range

   Caponiers of 1st, 2nd and 3rd firing range were built according to a mono project. There was a powder chamber in the center of the caponier with 18 576 tons of powder. There were 7 casemates. Combat casemates with 1 artillery embrasure and 2 rifle loopholes were located in front of it. Casemate for shooting has 2 artillery embrasures. Caponiers has 11 artillery embrasures and 6 rifle loopholes. For the connection with the caponier was built postern (tunnel).

   In peacetime, the caponiers were intended for the storage of various properties and to locate different services of the hospital. After some time their purpose is repeatedly changed.

Капонір ІІ полігону

Caponier of 2nd landfill

  The 1st Caponier was built during the 1843-1844. Afterward the 1st Caponier was intended to accommodate a bakery and property of the hospital staff.

  The 2nd Caponier was built during the 1843-1844. After some time their purpose is repeatedly changed. Initially in the 2nd Caponier was filling packets and non-filling packets of The Gunshot Department of the Kyiv Warehouse of artillery.

Приміщення Центрального капоніру

Compartment of Central Caponier

Central Caponier (Caponier #4)

Central Caponier was a part of Hospital Fortification.
The caponire intended to conduct the artillery shooting along the graff by two opposite directions.
The Central сaponier was built on his own project. Internal plan of the caponier is a rectangular premise with fornication. 4 embrasures were directed in the each side of graff. In the center of the casemate was a place to storage ammunition. The roof slab supported the drawbridge which was leaded to the North Gate of Hospital Fortification.

Advanced defense to the caponier was under fire from the North Gate and defense wall.

«Kosoj Caponier» (Slanting caponier)

Slanting caponier was an integral part of Hospital Fortification. This caponier does not located in the graff of the fortress, as other caponiers, it’s moved forward on the slopes of Cherepanova Hill. The main target of this caponier was reinforcement of the shelling glacis of the Hospital Fortification on the west side. It was named as “Slanting caponier” due to the corner accommodation to the line of the rampart.


The Caponier was built over a period from 1844-1845 as an individual project with augmentation of arms. In the caponier was large powder chamber. Moreover, it has not combat casemates which were separated from the main walls as in I, II and III caponiers. The arches of the caponier relied on the exterior walls and the walls of the powder chamber. Thus turned the casemate comprised the perimeter of the powder chamber. The entrance to the caponier used to make through the postern, which was located in the counterscarp of the fortress graff.

Косий капонір

«Kosoj Caponier»

In 1863 Slanting caponier of the Hospital Fortification was adapted for the duress by the Polish insurgents. Until 1917 it was used as a prison. At the end of XX century prisoners were convicted to death here. They were taken to the area of The Lysogorsky Fortress for the capital punishment.

   Casemated Bath Building

   Was built in 1842. Except main sanitary tasks banya makes a defense of the Hospital Fortification. The building of banya with wings of hospital bulk and connected with them defensive walls was formed bastion front inside fortification. An external facade of the building was equipped of 12 artillery embrasures. In the building were 6 casemates and a gate for passage inside this part of the Hospital Fortification.

Казематована будівля лазні

Casemated Bath Building

Казематована будівля військового госпіталю

Casemated Hospital Building

   Casemated Hospital Building

   Was built over a period from 1836 to 1842. It was designed to accommodate 1,500 patients. The two-storeyed U-shaped building had 172 artillery embrasures on its western and eastern facades. To conduct fire along the walls of the side wings of the building, three semicircular two-storeyed toilets with rifle loopholes were built on either side of the building. If necessary, these were used as rifle caponiers. 132 rifle loopholes were built into the walls of these toilets. In the southern part of the building was one of the rear gates, whose passageway was protected by 16 rifle loopholes arranged in the building walls.

    The Hospital building, the casemated bath building and the defensive walls that connected them formed an internal stronghold (redoubt) of Hospital fortifications. This stronghold allowed the garrison to continue fighting even if the enemy captured the main rampart of the fortifications.

   Since the southern facade of the building was in the rear (gorge) it had no embrasures and loopholes. This was done specifically to make it easier for the garrison to mount a counterattack in the fortress in the event of the capture by the enemy of Hospital fortifications. For the same reason in this part of Hospital fortifications is lacking a fortress rampart and is only reinforced by a moat and defensive walls on either side of the hospital building. Because of the thickness of these walls they could be destroyed with artillery fire relatively quickly during the preparation for a counterattack. Also, the southern facade of the building had a gate to access Hospital fortifications.

Південний фасад будівлі госпіталю з горжевою оборонною стіною

Southern facade of hospital building with a gorge defensive wall

Вигляд другого поверху башти №4

View of second floor of tower №4

Tower No. 4

   Tower 4 is the smallest of all other towers of the New Pechersk Fortress. It was built between 1833 and 1838. Two-storeyed and round-shaped, it had an enclosed courtyard, which served as a training ground. The ground floor has an arched passage. The tower had 43 casemates for 500 people. The tower walls had 22 built-in artillery embrasures and 63 rifle loopholes.

    On August 16, 1837, during an inspection of the Fortress buildings the Emperor commissioned an artesian well in one of the tower casemates. The archival documents say that the builders had problem drilling the well. As a result, in 1847, the works were terminated and in 1853 the artesian well was backfilled.

   The tower fire supported the cantonists’ barracks, and coupled with joint fire from the cremaillere rampart, it kept under its control the entire gully adjoining the Fortress in this place. It was connected by a bonnette rampart to Tower No 2 and by a defensive wall to the barracks of military cantonists. In addition, the tower could fire at the rear of Vasylkiv and Hospital fortifications.

    For some time the tower housed an infirmary for cantonists.

In 1880, the tower was remodelled to keep in custody defendants of the civil department. The construction cost was 131,481 rubles and 66 kopecks.

Tower No. 5

Was built between 1833 and 1846. Two-storeyed round-shaped monumental building, which is adjoined on either side by rectangular outbuildings. The ground floor has an arched passage, inside the tower there is a courtyard, which served as a training ground. According to the designs, there were 26 artillery embrasures and 170 rifle loopholes in the walls facing the enemy. The tower gate was additionally protected by 9 rifle loopholes arranged in its walls. Its 63 casemates could hold 21, 760 quarters of provisions. Along with the earthen battery, it kept under fire a large part of Klovsk ravine and the approaches to the eastern front of Hospital fortifications. In turn, this fortification controlled by fire the tower and the battery. The ground floor had only rifle loopholes. The original fortress outer facade has been preserved to this day. It was privatized and restored. The tower proper houses a business center and the ground floor, the Museum of Toilet History.

Башта №5

Tower No. 5

Башта №6

Tower No. 6

Tower No. 6

   Built between 1846 and 1850, it operated in tandem with the Gendarmerie Regiment's barracks, Tower No 5 and the arsenal workshops, keeping under fire the left wing of the latter. According to the designs, there were 51 artillery embrasures and 142 rifle loopholes in the walls facing the enemy. Its 87 casemates accommodated 24 families of married lower ranks and 25 staff and senior officers.

    From 1854, it was home to employees of Kyiv artillery arsenal. In 1967-1969, the third floor was added. In the 1970s, a courtyard was built and a flat suspended ceiling was installed. The facade was lined with ceramic tiles. It is part of the Arsenal Plant complex of buildings.

   Now it houses the Plant dining-hall.

     Gendarmes’ Barracks

   According to the Fortress records, the barracks were built over a period from 1845 to 1847. It is a two-storeyed and horseshoe-shaped building.

    According to the designs, there were 74 artillery embrasures and 84 rifle loopholes in the walls facing the enemy. On the left flank of the barracks there were 8 windows which, if necessary, could be used for conducting fire. The wall facing the enemy had two-storeyed semicircular towers, which were used as caponiers for rifle defense, and in peacetime, as toilets. The barracks had 87 casemates, which accommodated 550 lower ranks and 8 staff and senior officers of the
   Gendarmerie Regiment. The barracks had kitchens, shops and utility rooms. To the right of the gendarmerie barracks were stables and barns for 540 soldiers’ and 40 officers' horses, an infirmary for 16 horses and a three-volt riding arena.

Казарма жандармського полку

Gendarmes’ Barracks

Barracks of Military Cantonists

   Built between 1835 and 1839. It was designed to house a military school for soldiers' children (cantonists). The barracks housed 144 casemates designed for 1, 853 servicemen of lower ranks and 4 staff and senior officers. The barracks were 180 sazhens long.

   According to the designs, there were 104 artillery embrasures and 156 rifle loopholes in the walls facing the enemy. Between the cantonists’ barracks and Tower No 2 there is a gate, which on July 17, 1852 was named Navodnytski Gate.

   Currently, the former barracks house the Military Institute of Telecommunications and Informatization.

Казарми військових кантоністів

Barracks of Military Cantonists

   Kyiv-Pechersk citadel

   In 1844 and 1845 gorge of citadel was fortified with a defensive wall with two half-towers. The defensive wall had a length of 549 yards and covered Near and Far Caves Monastery. On the side from the Dnieper, semicircular projections (like old bastions) were closed from the rear in the defensive wall for flanking shelling of the wall with guns and rifles. In total, there were 42 artillery embrasures and 733 rifle loopholes in the wall.

  Due to the events in Poland, named the uprising of 1830-1831, Kyiv-Pechersk Fortress was brought into military position. On the ground citadel ramparts were built palisades, abates in the fortress. In walls was made loopholes and arranged slopes. At this time, the fortress was armed 91 guns.

План Печерської фортеці. Фрагмент плану укріплення Київської фортеці, розробленого К.І.Опперманом в 1810р. (РДВІА)

Plan of Pechersk fortress. A fragment of the plan of Kyiv fortress, developed by K.I. Opperman in 1810. (RGVA)

Пороховий льох Олексіївського бастіону Печерської фортеці. Зараз ресторан "Царське село"

Powder cellar of Oleksiyivskyi bastion of Pechersk fortress.

Now restaurant “Tsarskoe Selo”

Barracks on the Isthmus

   The barracks on the isthmus and St. Nicholas Gate of the Fortress were built over a period from 1847 to 1850 after the designs by architect P. Tamanskyi.

   The barracks are a three-storeyed building on the moat side and a two-storeyed building on Pechersk side. In the center of the building is a gate with a double arched passage, which was approached via a wooden drawbridge, which was partly supported by a coffer.

   The barracks held 134 guns and 137 rifles. They housed 87 casemates for 500 people, 16 families of lower ranks and 12 staff and senior officers.

   From 1855, the casemates of the Barracks on the isthmus housed the main guard-room. From 1917 to 1918, the 3rd Pontoon Battalion was stationed here.

Казарма на перишийку з Микільською брамою

Barracks on the Isthmus with St. Nicholas Gate

Арсенальні майстерні

Arsenal Workshops

    Defensive Building of Arsenal Workshops

  Was built between 1850 and 1853. According to the designs, there were 126 artillery embrasures and 28 rifle loopholes in the walls facing the enemy. For near defense purposes, two-storeyed semicircular towers equipped with rifle loopholes were added on the outside, which, if necessary, served as gun caponiers which conducted fire along the wall and in peacetime were used as toilets. According to the 1895 records, the workshops housed 11 residential and 117 non-residential casemates. In addition to equipment for repairing weapons and military gear, the workshops housed a gunpowder-producing machine and a steam engine. The building was connected to Tower No 6 and the barracks located on the isthmus by a defensive wall with loopholes. The cost of building the arsenal workshops, including wells and pipes, was 619 218 rubles and 79 ¾ kopecks.

River-Side Defensive Fortifications

   The river-side defensive fortifications (built in 1849-1853) were intended for shelling the Waterfront Highway, which ran from Podil to the Fortress and the Dnieper River.  They had 41 guns and 18 rifles housed in 12 casemates. The river-side defensive fortifications had the Podil Gate. They supplied the Fortress with Dnieper River water which was lifted by a mechanized system to a height of 107 m.

  River-side defensive fortifications have not survived.

Набережний верк з Подільською брамою (ЦДІАК)

River-Side Defensive Fortifications with Podil Gate (TsDIAK)

Upper Retaining Wall

To prevent landslides on the Dnieper River slopes near the barracks on the Isthmus, two retaining walls were built, one of them being called the Upper retaining wall. Built in 1853-1855, it had a defensive function and housed a shooting gallery. The gallery had 43 rifle loopholes and several exits. Each wall had an artillery casemate with two guns. Due to its semicircular shape, the retaining wall made it possible to keep the area in front of the building under crossfire, as well as to control by fire the building’s entrances.

Lower Retaining Wall

To prevent landslides on the Dnieper River slopes near the barracks on the Isthmus, in addition to the Upper retaining wall, the Lower retaining wall (1855-1856) was built. It had 33 loopholes for rifle defense and 2 artillery embrasures. The rifle loopholes could conduct crossfire in front of the wall.


Нижня підпірна стіна

Lower Retaining Wall

Lysohirskyi Fort

   The early 60's of the XIX century were marked by rapid development of artillery. At the time, the New Pechersk Fortress fortifications were largely built according to the Montalembert system, which required that defensive positions and structures be located openly in the hope that massive fortress artillery deployed in these structures will suppress enemy artillery with fire. As a result, the siege guns could easily destroy them. Therefore, in the 60s design works were carried out to bring Kyiv Fortress into line with the requirements of the time.

    During the 60s of the XIX century, several projects for the modernization of Kyiv Fortress were developed. In 1869, the outstanding fortification engineer E.I. Totleben spent more than two weeks in Kyiv to finalize the project to strengthen Kyiv Fortress. None of the proposed projects was fully approved in its entirety. Finally, on April 27, 1871, Emperor Alexander II issued a decree authorizing the construction of a fort with a 500 sazhen-long esplanade on Lysa Hora (Bald Mountain) to protect the railway connection with the left bank of the Dnieper River.

    Since the fort was intended to be an independent fortification, it had to have powerful artillery, located openly on its ramparts.

    Built in 1872-1877, the fort is located at a distance of three kilometers from the New Pechersk Fortress at the confluence of the Lybid and the Dnieper rivers.

Лисогірський форт
Лисогірський форт
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