Boden fortress was one of Sweden's largest military building projects of all times. It was built between 1901–1916 against the threat of Russia and consists of several major and minor forts and fortifications surrounding the city of Boden. The fortress was originally intended to stop or delay attacks from the east or coastal assaults, which at the time of construction meant Russian attacks launched from Finland. It was primarily the expansion of the railway net in Norrland, which in turn was a consequence of the rising importance of the northern iron ore fields, that led to the increased strategic value of northern Sweden and the construction of the fortress. Although the main forts were finished in 1908, many of the supporting fortifications were not completed until the start of the First World War. Improvements were also continuously made during, and between, both World Wars.
Boden Fortress is made up of five primary self-supporting forts excavated out of the bedrock in five of the mountains surrounding Boden: Degerberget, Mjösjöberget, Gammelängsberget, Södra Åberget and Rödberget. Eight fortified secondary artillery positions were constructed between the forts to give flanking support and to cover areas not in range of the main forts' artillery. In addition, 40 bunkers for infantry, along with dugouts and other fortifications, were built to cover even more terrain. During the Second World War anti-tank gun emplacements and additional bunkers and shelters were built, and tens of kilometres of dragon's teeth were placed around the fortress and the city itself. Owing to the end of the Cold War and the reduction of the threat from the Soviet Union, Boden Fortress became less important to the defence of Sweden, and began to be decommissioned. The last fort of the complex was decommissioned on 31 December 1998, and is now used as a tourist attraction. All five forts as well as some of the supporting structures have been declared historic buildings, to be preserved for the future, by the Swedish government.References:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.