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.References:
The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.
The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).
With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).
Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.
The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.
The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.
Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.