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:
Czocha Castle is located on the Lake Leśnia, what is now the Polish part of Upper Lusatia. Czocha castle was built on gneiss rock, and its oldest part is the keep, to which housing structures were later added.
Czocha Castle began as a stronghold, on the Czech-Lusatian border. Its construction was ordered by Wenceslaus I of Bohemia, in the middle of the 13th century (1241–1247). In 1253 castle was handed over to Konrad von Wallhausen, Bishop of Meissen. In 1319 the complex became part of the dukedom of Henry I of Jawor, and after his death, it was taken over by another Silesian prince, Bolko II the Small, and his wife Agnieszka. Origin of the stone castle dates back to 1329.
In the mid-14th century, Czocha Castle was annexed by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia. Then, between 1389 and 1453, it belonged to the noble families of von Dohn and von Kluks. Reinforced, the complex was besieged by the Hussites in the early 15th century, who captured it in 1427, and remained in the castle for unknown time (see Hussite Wars). In 1453, the castle was purchased by the family of von Nostitz, who owned it for 250 years, making several changes through remodelling projects in 1525 and 1611. Czocha's walls were strengthened and reinforced, which thwarted a Swedish siege of the complex during the Thirty Years War. In 1703, the castle was purchased by Jan Hartwig von Uechtritz, influential courtier of Augustus II the Strong. On August 17, 1793, the whole complex burned in a fire.
In 1909, Czocha was bought by a cigar manufacturer from Dresden, Ernst Gutschow, who ordered major remodelling, carried out by Berlin architect Bodo Ebhardt, based on a 1703 painting of the castle. Gutschow, who was close to the Russian Imperial Court and hosted several White emigres in Czocha, lived in the castle until March 1945. Upon leaving, he packed up the most valuable possessions and moved them out.
After World War II, the castle was ransacked several times, both by soldiers of the Red Army, and Polish thieves, who came to the so-called Recovered Territories from central and eastern part of the country. Pieces of furniture and other goods were stolen, and in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the castle was home to refugees from Greece. In 1952, Czocha was taken over by the Polish Army. Used as a military vacation resort, it was erased from official maps. The castle has been open to the public since September 1996 as a hotel and conference centre. The complex was featured in several movies and television series. Recently, the castle has been used as the setting of the College of Wizardry, a live action role-playing game (LARP) that takes place in their own universe and can be compared to Harry Potter.