Koporye Fortress is a medieval citadel situated 100 km (62 mi)
West of St. Petersburg, Leningrad oblast of Russia. It is one of the
few Russian medieval citadels that were found outside of large
settlement and cities. Russians often were attacked by nations from
the South and East who didn't share their Christian faith and hence
they couldn't expect nobility or honor in the treatment of prisoners
in case of loss. Hence there were very few private castles as it was
in the rest of Europe. Collective protection against outside enemy
shaped people's mentality and culture for centuries until modern
The first wooden citadel on a site of Koporye
Fortress was constructed here in 1237 as a foothold
for Teutonic knights during Northern crusade against pagans and
Russian Orthodox Christians. The Gulf of Finland was not as shallow
at the time and reached closer to the walls of the newly found fort,
allowing unloading of men, food and equipment. The castle was burned
down in 1241 by Alexander Nevsky who waged war against Teutonic
knights ending their ambitions at the Battle of Lake Peipus (russian-
Chudskoe ozero) also known as Battle of the Ice.
In the time of Ivan the Terrible and his growing Muscovite Kingdom the
castle was strengthened to defend against firearms and cannon fire.
In the Time of Trouble in the early 17th century small garrison of
250 defenders fell to the Swedes. A century later in 1703 the
situations reversed and garrison of 80 Swedish soldiers under
command of Captain Wasili Apolloff capitulated to Boris
Sheremetev during the Great Northern War.
Much of the castle is in ruins. Full
excavations are yet to be performed here. Judging by old
paintings there is at least three levels of underground storage
rooms, personnel quarters and living space intended for soldiers
as well as civilian population that served the castle.