Ivangorod Fortress - A Turbulent Past

In 1492, Ivan III established the Ivangorod Fortress, a Russian medieval castle around which has grown the town of Ivangorod. The fortress is situated across from the Estonian city of Narva, and is near the Narva River.

The original castle was constructed quickly and took only one summer to build during the year 1492. The name of the fortress comes from the Muscovite Grand Prince Ivan III and it was built for the purpose of fending off the Livonian Knights. The castle has only four sides, measuring 1,600 square feet, with a height of 14 meters. In the years 1496 to 1499, during the Russo-Swedish War, the whole population within the fortress was destroyed after seven hours of fighting with the Swedish forces. The Swedes soon fled when they learned that the Muscovites were coming back to retake the castle under the command of Prince Ivan Gundar and Mikhail Klyapin. Up to three thousand troops arrived to take over the Ivangorod Castle and once they had done that they started rebuilding and constructing the new barracks and bastions.

For a long time the land surrounding the Ivangorod Fortress was in constant warfare, thus it changed hands on many occasions. During these ten years of fighting the castle was rebuilt and fortified over and over again, which meant that slowly it was becoming the strongest defensive structure around in the 16th century. This fortification and development continued until the 17th century and by then the Ivangorod Fortress had several lines of defense and was now covering a large expanse of land.

Peter the Great, in 1704, re-captured the castle from the Swedes, which meant that the Russians now had control again over the fortress. Within the Ivangorod fortress there are two churches, one is dedicated to St. Nicholas and was built in the late 16th century and the second church is dedicated to the Virgin's Assumption and was constructed in 1496. The early 18th century saw the fortress' military role lessen as technology advanced. In 1840 the fortress was restored after many years of neglect and more improvements took place in 1863 and again in 1911- 1914.


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