The Grodno fortress is a system of urban fortifications, used in the XII-XX centuries. In 1912-1920, it was used by the Polish, German and Russian Empire troops.
Forts of Grodno Fortress
In 1879, Minister of war D. Milutin made a report on the establishment of fortification structures in the territory of Grodno. According to this document, the city must have been defended against artillery and standard field troops. It was planned to create 5 forts. The construction process is carried out under the guidance of Lieutenant Colonel M.N. Kaygorodov, well-known military engineer. In addition to the fortification structures, so-called "Tsar's lunette” was built. As a result, 4 forts are located on the left and one on the right bank of the Neman.
All of them were named "Grodno fortified positions." Later, it was decided to build two more forts, which could defend the city on the north side.
On August 4, 1912, Emperor Nicholai II signed a decree on the construction of a new defensive structure in Grodno. It suggested 13 forts, 19 lettered and 23 numbered control points. Outdated earthen forts were 2nd defense according to the new plan. Construction works were carried out under the guidance of Major General D.P. Kolosovsky. Lieutenant Colonel M.N. Kaygorodov was appointed as commandant.
In 1913-14 the first parts of the fortress appeared, including aviation, airborne troops and gendarme department. Artillery began to appear in summer of 1914. One year later telegraph and sapper battalions appeared. When World War I started, there were built 22 barracks, and 2 cellars for gunpowder in the Grodno fortress. It should be noted that none of the control points or fortified elements were not finished that’s why it was rather difficult to use them.
Grodno Fortress Today
Nowadays, tourists can see the preserved 1st and 4th forts, 8th control point and gunpowder cellars of 4th and 5th forts.
During the Great Patriotic War, fortified constructions were used by Soviet troops and Nazi aggressors. For example, in June 1944 there were combats for the 4th fort. In July 1944, fortified structures of the 1st fort were used by the advancing Soviet soldiers. The 2nd fort was used by the Nazi aggressors for shooting prisoners and residents.
The Grodno fortress stopped to perform its primary function in the mid 20-ies of the XX century. In 1939, the Red Army used the 4th fort as ammunition storage.
Although the fortress is in depilated condition, it is considered one of the most popular sights of Grodno.