The Fortress of Bobruisk

The Fortress of Bobruysk, Mogilev Region

The Bobruysk Fortress is one of the best equipped and most reliable fortresses ever built in the Russian Empire. Over its rich history, Bobruisk Fort has passed through many troubles and deprivations, ranging from the invasion of Napoleon Bonaparte to the German-fascist invaders that burned thousands of innocent people alive in the ancient fortress, turning the citadel into a concentration death camp. Still safe walls are covered with a thick layer of soot and ashes as a memory of those bloody days terrible for the Belarusian history. The fortress is connected with the uprising of the Decembrists. Now the half-forgotten fortress of Bobruysk city is rightly included into the list of architectural monuments of Belarus and attracts tourists who visit this site to enjoy its former majesty.

The construction of fortifications was started in Belarus in 1810 with the approval of the Russian Emperor Alexander I. The vast territory of the fortress was over a hundred acres, and its construction was carried out by ordinary peasants and military people who have put into practice an ambitious defensive project based on the best examples of the European military engineering. The fortress was surrounded by many ramparts and moats filled with water from the nearby local rivers. There were stocks of food and ammunition in the walls of the fort. But a short period of time after the construction, the Belarusian citadel faced the first enemy in the person of Napoleon Bonaparte and its numerous ambitious French army, with which the Russian soldiers had to fight for long months, not surrendering the impregnable fortress. The monumental construction in Bobruysk continued after the war with Napoleon. The fortress was complemented by original buildings designed in the style of classicism. Then it was a complete object surrounded by everything necessary for life and defense, ranging from beautiful buildings and paved streets to a nice square and consecrated cathedral. These places have always been very lively as ordinary citizens came there for fairs and parades.

At the time, some Decembrists served in that fortress, and it is known that a detailed plan of the deposition of the Russian Tsar within was developed its walls, which later came failed. Interestingly, the Decembrists returned to the Bobruisk Fortress after their failed performance, but that time as prisoners to serve their sentences for former sins.

During the Second World War, there was a German concentration camp where the number of deaths was close to dozens of thousands. The fortress was used as a warehouse after the war. Many structures of the historic citadel were destroyed.

Now the active reconstruction of the Bobruysk legend and archaeological excavations are carried out, historical films are shot, guided tours are arranged. A large-scale “Bobruisk-arena” has been opened in the fortress not so long ago that in terms of capacity and spectacularity can give a head start to similar palaces in the capital.

The Bobruysk fortress is a real urban legend. And regular tour groups around it are a vivid evidence of this.