Smolensk Kremlin was built between 1595 and 1602, during the reign of Tsars Fyodor I Ioannovich and Boris Godunov. The length of the walls is about 6.5 kilometres, of which less than the half was preserved. The fortifications were built under supervision of the architect Fyodor Kon. The Smolensk Kremlin is classified as an architectural monument protected at the federal level, and also has a great historical significance, in particular, as the fortress protecting the Russian state from the west over centuries.
Smolensk historically had a great significance for the defence, and this is why Russian rulers paid considerable attention for its fortifications. In the spring of 1554, Tsar Ivan the Terrible ordered to build a new tall wooden fortress. After the development of artillery, it became clear that a wooden fortress is no more suiteble for the defence, and in the end of the 16th century it was decided to build a new stone fortress at the place of the old one.
In December 1595, the preparations for the construction started after the official decree was issued. The construction works were very intense and were performed daily from sunrise to sunset. The construction workers, however, lived in harsh conditions, and revolted in 1599 because of hunger, cold, and diseases. In the summer of 1597 long and heavy rains flooded all the trenches and ditches, and the construction workers had to strengthen the landslide soil by piles. In 1600, because of the heat and heavy rains, a large amount of crops was lost in Russia, causing the famine. The construction of the new fortress used the old existing fortifications, so that in some places the wall was built on top of them, and in certain areas the new fortress was extended beyond the limits set by the old one. The construction started from the western side of the fortress.
Several sections of the wall have survived, the eastern section with nine towers, the south-western section with five towers, and the northern section with three towers. The most famous remaining tower is the round-cornered tower named Veselukha. This name was given to it because of the nice view which opens from the tower. The Main Gate Tower was Frolovskaya (Dnieper Tower), through which was the exit to the capital of the Russian state. The second most important was Molohovskaya tower, opens the way to Kiev, Krasny and Roslavl.References:
From its origin as a small stronghold built by the ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae, becoming a royal castle that was the seat of many Croatian kings, to its final development as a large fortress during the Ottoman wars in Europe, Klis Fortress has guarded the frontier, being lost and re-conquered several times. Due to its location on a pass that separates the mountains Mosor and Kozjak, the fortress served as a major source of defense in Dalmatia, especially against the Ottoman advance, and has been a key crossroad between the Mediterranean belt and the Balkan rear.
Since Duke Mislav of the Duchy of Croatia made Klis Fortress the seat of his throne in the middle of the 9th century, the fortress served as the seat of many Croatia"s rulers. The reign of his successor, Duke Trpimir I, the founder of the Croatian royal House of Trpimirović, is significant for spreading Christianity in the Duchy of Croatia. He largely expanded the Klis Fortress, and in Rižinice, in the valley under the fortress, he built a church and the first Benedictine monastery in Croatia. During the reign of the first Croatian king, Tomislav, Klis and Biograd na Moru were his chief residences.
In March 1242 at Klis Fortress, Tatars who were a constituent segment of the Mongol army under the leadership of Kadan suffered a major defeat while in pursuit of the Hungarian army led by King Béla IV. After their defeat by Croatian forces, the Mongols retreated, and Béla IV rewarded many Croatian towns and nobles with 'substantial riches'. During the Late Middle Ages, the fortress was governed by Croatian nobility, amongst whom Paul I Šubić of Bribir was the most significant. During his reign, the House of Šubić controlled most of modern-day Croatia and Bosnia. Excluding the brief possession by the forces of Bosnian King, Tvrtko I, the fortress remained in Hungaro-Croatian hands for the next several hundred years, until the 16th century.
Klis Fortress is probably best known for its defense against the Ottoman invasion of Europe in the early 16th century. Croatian captain Petar Kružić led the defense of the fortress against a Turkish invasion and siege that lasted for more than two and a half decades. During this defense, as Kružić and his soldiers fought without allies against the Turks, the military faction of Uskoks was formed, which later became famous as an elite Croatian militant sect. Ultimately, the defenders were defeated and the fortress was occupied by the Ottomans in 1537. After more than a century under Ottoman rule, in 1669, Klis Fortress was besieged and seized by the Republic of Venice, thus moving the border between Christian and Muslim Europe further east and helping to contribute to the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The Venetians restored and enlarged the fortress, but it was taken by the Austrians after Napoleon extinguished the republic itself in 1797. Today, Klis Fortress contains a museum where visitors to this historic military structure can see an array of arms, armor, and traditional uniforms.