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Kyiv Fortress

Kiev, Ukraine

The Kyiv Fortress is one of the most important and interesting military monuments in the Ukrainian capital, well-known far beyond the country’s borders. It is the largest earthen fortress in Europe and the second largest earthen fortress in the world. The museum exhibitions housed there and the fortification complex itself are among the most visited places of interest in Kyiv – every year it welcomes about one hundred thousand tourists.

The Kyiv Fortress, also known as Nova Pechersk Fortress, was built on a site of Old Pechersk Fortress, walled around the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra. It was erected by the order of Emperor Peter the Great in the first half of the 18th century. It contained four main fortifications, as well as dozens of defensive areas such as towers, walls, underground passages, powder warehouses, arsenals, barracks, and even the castle prison. Then the Kyiv Fortress featured the so-called hand-made tsunamis for city defence from the riverside. It was composed of two dams and two large pits, which could be filled with water within hours to defeat the enemy fleet with a powerful wave.

Fortunately or unfortunately, the Kyiv Fortress did not partake in a single war. In 1897 it completely lost its strategic significance, thereafter it hosted the military warehouses. Currently, scattered throughout the capital’s Pechersk district the majority of the fortifications is urbanized and almost ruined. The only well-preserved part of the Kyiv Fortress is Hospital Fortifications, which were renovated and as of today are available for visitors.

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