At the source of the Neva River from Ladoga, some 24 km from St. Petersburg is an old military fortress. There truly unites all of Russian history.
Founded by the Novgorodians, which belonged to the Moscow principality, managed to be ruled by the Swedes, but then again returned to its origins (from 1702 it again belonged to Russia). What did not see the walls of this fortress, what kind of people they did not hide and did not “execute”.
Milestones in History
The fortress was founded by Yuri Danilovich (the grandson of Alexander Nevsky) on an island called Orekhovy in 1323. The island received its name due to the numerous thickets of hazel (hazel) throughout its territory. Over time, under the protection of the fortress, a city was built, which was called Schlisserburg. In the same year, an agreement on “eternal peace” was concluded with the Swedes. From here begins a journey into the centuries-old history of the fortress.
Oreshek Fortress, Russia
When the Novgorod Republic became part of the Principality of Moscow, the fortress was radically rebuilt and fortified. Several times the Swedes tried to take her, but in vain. The fortress had the most important strategic location – a serious trade route passed through it to the Gulf of Finland, so the one who owned the citadel had the opportunity to control this route.
For almost 300 years, Oreshek belonged to Russia and served as an outpost on the Swedish border, but in 1612 the Swedes still managed to take the fortress, and then starved (the siege lasted almost 9 months). Out of 1300 people who were on the defensive, only 100 survived – weakened, hungry, but not broken in spirit.
History of Oreshek Fortress
It was then that Oreshek became Noteburg (literal translation – Nut City). There is a legend that the remaining defenders walled up the icon of the Kazan Mother of God in one of the fortress walls – it was a symbol of faith that sooner or later this land would return to Russian control again.
And so it happened – in 1702 the fortress was recaptured by Peter I. The assault lasted almost 13 hours. Despite the fact that the Swedes were superior in military power and Peter the Great gave the command to retreat, Prince Golitsyn disobeyed him and at the cost of numerous losses the fortress was taken.
Shlisserburg fortress (Oreshek fortress)
From that moment on, the name was changed to Schlisserburg, which meant “key-city” (the key that has been uploaded to the Tsar’s Tower to this day has become a symbol of the fortress). From that moment, the road of travel to the mouth of the Neva and the construction of the great St. Petersburg was opened.
At the end of the 18th century. the strategic importance of the fortress was lost, and it turned into a political prison, where especially dangerous criminals and dissenters were held in custody, and in the 19-20 centuries. was completely turned into a hard labor prison.
History of the creation of Oreshek fortress
The walls of the fortress “remember” such personalities as Maria Alekseevna (sister of Peter I) and Evdokia Lopukhina (his first wife); John VI Antonovich; Ivan Pushchin, Bestuzhev brothers and Kyukhelbeker; Alexander Ulyanov (brother of V. Lenin) and many others.
The fortress played a special role during the Second World War, when for almost two years (500 days) the soldiers of the NKVD and the Baltic Fleet defended Shlisselburg from the Nazis, covering the so-called “Road of Life” along which people were transported from besieged Leningrad.
Architectural Features Fortress “Nut”
The size of the island on which the fortress is located is relatively small – only 200 * 300 meters. It was originally built from earth and wood. In 1349 there was a fire that destroyed virtually all buildings. After that, it was decided to replace the stone walls (up to 6 m high, more than 350 m long) and 3 square towers not very high.
Architectural Features of Oreshek Fortress
The complete rebuilding of the fortress was carried out in 1478, when it passed into the possession of the Moscow principality. New fortifications were erected right at the very edge of the water, which made it impossible for the enemy to land on the shore and use stenobitnye guns.
In 1555, one of the Swedish chroniclers wrote that it is impossible to get to the fortress due to the strong current of the river in that place and powerful drive fortifications.
Fortress Oreshek now
In its shape, the citadel resembles an elongated polygon, the walls of which are connected by 7 towers around the perimeter: Flazhnaya and Golovkina, Golovin (or Nugolnaya), Menshikovaya and Gosudareva (originally Vorotnaya), Bezymyannaya (formerly Basement) and Royal.
6 towers were round, height up to 16 m, width – up to 4.5 m, Gosudareva – square. There were 3 more citadel towers: Mill, Clock (or Bell) and Svetlichnaya. To our time, out of 10 towers, only 6 have survived.
Fortress Oreshek from a height of flight
Sovereign Tower – this is one of the most interesting buildings of the fortress. The entrance to it was located in such a way that it was impossible to use a ram, but at the same time the defenders could easily fire at opponents.
After a complete rebuilding of the fortress, the total length of the walls was more than 700 m, and the height increased to 12 m. The thickness of the base was increased to 4.5 m.