Novodvinsk fortress was built in the beginning of XVIII century and it is the first regular stone fortress in the north of Russia . It is a unique fortification construction, historical monument of the Peter the Great period.
УвеличитьRussian North had always been attractive to outsiders because of its reaches. To protect its borders, the rulers built fortresses that defended the coastal line from invaders. Yet, all of them, except for the fortress in Solovetsky Islands , were wooden.
The war with Sweden that began in 1700 put to the test the defence of Arkhangelsk port, which received weapons for the Russian army from the West and earned a lot of money for the state treasury through foreign trade.
Peter I well realized that after the Russian army defeat at Narva the Northern port was of vital importance for preserving the country and its defensive capacity. With that purpose he issued an order to build a new fortress with a garrison of 1000 people in December 1700. The works began in spring 1701.
On July 5, 1701 there took place the famous battle at Novodvinsk Fortress, during which Russian troops managed to capture two Swedish warships and stop the Swedish squadron from moving further inside the country. That was the first Russian victory on water in the Northern war, the importance of which cannot be overestimated.
In 1721 Novodvinsk fortress got its place in the Russian register of fortresses. In 1724 Peter I wrote down: ‘Novodvinsk fortress is at all strength and ready’. During the Crimean War (1853-1856) the fortress was on marital law. Yet already in January 1863 it was removed from the register of fortifications.
In May 1864 Novodvinsk fortress was passed over to Church authorities. In the end of XIX century they turned it into a quarry – took out the well-treated stone blocks out of the walls and sold them to the Northern Railway, which was under construction then. After a study carried out by Arkhangelsk specialists the fortress was entered into the Register of Sights of Russian Empire.
After the Revolution the fortress was given to the Department for child-homelessness fighting and child neglect of Arkhangelsk province executive committee. It was later transformed into a correctional facility for adult criminals, which is still there.
The fortress is registered as a monument of federal significance. Right now the fortress is partially destroyed and the regional museum suggested restoring it and creating there a new museum.