The Brest Fortress is a monument of the defence architicture which was erected in the middle of the 19th century and is located to the West of Brest. It was built on the former sight of the ancient settlement on the islands which are formed by the rivers the Western Bug and the Mukhavets and the artificial canals. This place was chosen for the building of the Brest Fortress because of the very important military strategic position of Brest-Litovsk as Brest was called at that period of time. It was a military engineer Delovan who suggested the building of this fortification just on the junction of the rivers the Western Bug and Mukhavets in 1799. The project was worked out by Russian military building engineers K. Opermann, Maletzki and A. Feldmann and was adopted in 1830. The construction of 4 fortifications began. The central part, the Citadel, was built at the very place where the trade craftsman centre of the town was, and with the beginning of the construction it was moved out to the right branch of the Mukhavets.

The Volyn(Southern) fortification was being built at very place where the Brest Castle was. And the Brest Castle was pulled down in the period of the construction of the Volyn fortification.

The Kobryn(Nothern) fortification was being built at the place of the Kobryn district of Brest where there were lots of the city building, private houses.

The Terespol(Western) fortification was being built on the Western branch of the Western Bug. On this territory there were many churches, monasteries, cathedrals. Some of them were reconstructed others adjusted for the needs of the Fortress garrison.

The reconstruction was in the peroid since 1833 till 1842. The first stone of the Fortress was laid on 1.06.1836. And it was put into action in 1842. The total area of all the fortifications is 4 sq. km. The lenght of the defence line is 6,4 km.

The most protected defence part was the Citadel, which consisted of two storey and about two km long barracks in a form of a curved exclusive circle. Its walls are about 2 meters thick. And its 500 casemates could accommodate 12 thousand people with all necessary ammunition and supply of food for the dafence. The recesses of the barracks walls with loopholes and gun-ports were adjusted for a gun and rifle firing. The compositional centre of the Citadel was St. Nikolas Church(1856-1879, architect Grimm), which was built on the highest part of the Central Island.

The Citadel was connected with the other three fortification with the help of the gates and bridges. It was connected with the Kobryn fortification with the help of Brest and Brighit gates and bridges across the Mukhavets, with the Terespol fortification - with the help of Terespol gate and the biggest cable bridge across the Western Bug, with the Volyn fortification - Kholmski gate and drawbridge across the Mukhavets. The Kholmski and Terespol gates are partially preserved.

Terespol, Kobrin and Volyn fortifications protected the Citadel. The external defence line of the fortress was 10 metre high earth work ramparts with brick casemates. In front of them there were canals with bridges over them which were directed outside the fortress.

At the beginning of its existence the Brest Fortress was one of the most perfect fortifications in Russian. In 1878-1888 there were built 10 forts more around the Brest Fortress. After that the defence line achieved 30 km long.

The second reconstruction took place in 1911-1914 as a result of which the whole defence line was improved. The second line of the forts was built. At a distance of 6-7 km from the Brest Fortress. But the construction and reconstruction of the forts of the Brest Fortress hadn't been completed by the beginning of the World War I. In August of 1915 the Russian headquarters evacuated the garrison of the Fortress in order to avoid the surroundind of it. Some of the fortifications were exploded by the Russians.

The Brest Fortress is known for the signing of the Brest Peace Treaty in 1918 in the White Palace.

According to Riga Peace Treaty (1921) the territory of the Brest Fortress as well as the territory of the Western part of Belarus became a part of Poland.

In september 1939 when the fascists Germany attacked Poland a part of the Citadel of the Brest Fortress was ruined, the buildings of White Palace and Engineering administration were damaged. With the increased mobility and technical modernisation of military forces the Brest Fortress lost its military defence value. It was used for quartering troops of the Red Army units 22.06.1941 the Garrison of the Fortress was the first to repulse the attack of the fascists.


The Brest Fortress
The defence of the Brest Fortress
The heroic Brest Fortress complex
The photoalbom
Russian version

Kholmsk Gates

Kholmsk Gates (plan view)

Museum and ruins White palace

"Thirst" sculptural group

Orthodox temple. Saint-Nikolayevskaya church