Kaunas Fortress

Kaunas, Lithuania

The Kaunas Fortress was a military project implemented by Russian government. In 1879 Russian Emperor Alexander II accepted a suggestion to build military fortress in Kaunas in order to defense the western border of Russian Empire from German invasion. In the general plan of fortifications there were many objects intended to be built like a surround of 7 fortresses and 9 interjacent artillery batteries, defensive centers, military train station, workshops, stores and many more.

Fortresses were built at the approaches to Kaunas city in distances of 2-2,5 km. The line of set fortresses formed almost a regular oval by 4000 workers annually. Total of 250 wooden and 200 stone buildings serving for military purposes were erected in the territory of Kaunas fortification. However, as building works were slower than modernization of technique, the Kaunas Fortress had to be modernized several times too. In 1912 the Kaunas Fortress had to be double widened, but a broke out of the First World War stopped the works. In the World War I (1915) an army of 90 000 soldiers was garrisoned in the Kaunas Fortress to sustain a siege of German military forces. After 11 days of siege, Germans finally smashed into the Kaunas Fortress. During the assault 4000 defenders and more than 4000 German soldiers died. 20 000 defenders were taken captive. More than 1300 various cannons, guns and military stores were taken by Germans.

After the First World War, some of fortifications were dismantled and the rest served for the troop and Kaunas city. During the Second World War Kaunas Fortress was not used for defensive purposes any more. The Sixth, the Seventh and the Ninth forts were used as concentration camps by German army. About 50,000 people were executed there, including more than 30,000 victims of the Holocaust.

In the postwar period Soviet occupants established military bases in most of these forts. The old buildings of fortification were not preserved as they were demolished and rebuilt. After Soviet military forces were pulled out, military bases located in forts were liquidated. As Kaunas city expanded, some of these forts got into territory of Kaunas city and were surrounded by living houses and city streets, interblending into an environment of Kaunas city.

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Details

Founded: 1879
Category: Castles and fortifications in Lithuania

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User Reviews

Justina Kasberaitė (6 months ago)
šventėm vaiko gimtadienį, vaikams patiko, nes erdvu, daug vietos lakstyti, buvo užsiimta su vaikais... aplinka nuvylė labai... trūksta higienos, pasenusi visa jų virtuvėlė, arbatinukai kalkėti ir jau atgyvenę, stalo įrankiai ir lėkštės nešvarios, teko viską patiems persivalyti... ieškant normalaus peilio, perėjus per visas spinteles rasta daug sutrinų ir limpančių įrankių, kurie matyt nejudinti metus laiko... perbraukus stalo paviršių su skuduriuku šviesiu, visas skuduriukas liko rudas... tualetų yra daug, bet visi baisūs, net šlykštu kur prisiliesti... vienam iš tualetų buvo visur pritaškyta skutimosi putų, ant grindų, kriauklių ir t.t. panaudotas tualetinis mėtėsi ant grindų... tualeto kraštai šū.... muziejaus erdvėse buvo mini virtuvėlė, joje taip pat kalnas nešvarių įrankių, lentelė su obuolio lupenom sudžiūvusiomis ir t.t... patalpose šalta, lyg bandyta šildyti, bet nesigavo...
fallout boy (7 months ago)
Buvo vaiko gimt.labai patiko
kestas 007 (14 months ago)
Verta apsilankyti daug yra ka pamatyti. Pagal dydi is Kaune esanciu 9 fortu uzima 2 vieta. Puikiai sutvarkyta aplinka. Pats muziejus nuolatos atnaujinamas yra daug ginklu (sautuvu, patranku, granatu ir t.t)., ivairios karines irangos. Kaina apsilankyti paciame muziejuje nera didele (vasario 16d. lankymas nemokamas).
Neda Davidavičiūtė (15 months ago)
Graži vietovė! Tai geriausiai iki šių dienų išlikęs dviejų pylimų fortas, puikiai atspindintis pirmąjį tvirtovės statybų etapą. Šiame forte išliko dalis autentiškų langų rėmų bei jų varčių, šaudmenų sandėlio vartų fragmentai, o forto tvarkybos metu aptikti autentiški interjero puošybos elementai, grindinys, šaudmenų sandėlių durų ir vartų furnitūra.
Paulius Urbonas (3 years ago)
Must see place
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In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

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