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Daugavpils stronghold

Location: N55° 53` 11.5", E26° 29` 42.0" | Website: dinaburgascietoksnis.lcb.lv/

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Depending on the period of time, Daugavpils stronghold is also a Dinaburg stronghold or Dvinsk stronghold. It is the most notable cultural history monument in Daugavpils. The stronghold has changed its name two times together with the city. It was built from 1810 to 1878 on the place of the old Dinaburg city after the project made by colonel-engineer J.F.Hekel, according to which it was planned to build a stronghold on the right coast of Daugava, build a bridge over the river, and make a bridge fortification for the protection of the stronghold. It was plan to place a garrison of seven thousand men in the stronghold, and install about 600 canons. There were around 15 thousand people working in three shifts on the construction field.

It was built for the army of the Russian Empire to strengthen the Western borders of Russian Empire. It has been preserved almost completely, and its area is about 2km2. Daugavpils stronghold is the last bastion type stronghold in the World.  

Construction of Dinaburg stronghold was started when getting ready for the invasion of Napoleon, and in 1812 during the war fights the unfinished stronghold successfully went through its first baptism of fire by beating off the first attacks of Napoleon army. The bridge fortification was completed in 1818, but in citadel the main rampart, powder basements, storehouse, commandant administration building, general’s house, 2 barracks, guardroom building and five guard posts were completed. The inner territory of the stronghold is divided in 20 construction blocks. It was allowed to build only stone buildings.

Until the middle of the 19th century Dinaburg stronghold was one of the 1.class strongholds of Russian Empire, but during its construction time it started to lose its meaning, and in 1856 it had become the 2.class stronghold, but in 1897 it became Dvinsk stronghold-storehouse. Historically there have been different armies in the stronghold during different times.

At the stronghold completion time in 1878 it was already old and was the last build bastion type stronghold in Europe. It has also been included in Fortified Ideal City category, and it is also the only stronghold which is without significant changes – it is a extant stronghold example in Easter Europe from the first part of the 19th century.

Stronghold construction also has a big meaning, because up to today there are 80 buildings still extant. Most of these buildings preserved in the stronghold are from the 19th century. 

When looking from above, then the stronghold takes a form of a sun, star, turtle or even a bat. This kind of form was required so that there would be no so called “dead zones,” i.e., so that the enemy could be seen from any point.

Daugavpils stronghold before