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History of the Narva Bastions

The first bastions in Narva were erected in the 1630s.

The new stage in construction of the Narva bastions started in the beginning of the 17th century, when Erik Dahlbergh, a prominent Swedish military engineer and architect and a leading Swedish military specialist, offered his own plan for erecting the system of fortifications around Narva.

The construction of the Narva bastion system according to E. Dahlbergh’s plan took 22 years. An amount from the crown treasury that was regarded as huge at the time was spent on the construction of bastions. Up to 3,000 men per year worked here, mainly soldiers who were sent every spring from Ingria.

The Swedes started the construction of the Narva bastions in 1682. The Great Northern War that started in 1700 did not put a stop to construction works. After Narva had been seized by the troops of Peter l in August 1704, the Russians carried on erecting bastions, still using Dahlbergh’s plan. The Russians were actually the ones who completed the construction of the fortifications.

The last time the Narva fortifications were combat ready was in 1853-1856 during the Crimean War, since there was the threat of the British fleet entering the Narva River.

In 1863, the Narva bastions were handed over to the city for civil purposes. By the end of the 19th century, a town park was laid out on one of the riverside bastions.

The total length of the system of the Narvabastions is over four kilometres if measured by the outside wall of the bastions. The total length of passages inside the bastions is about one and a half kilometres.

Today one can see the Victoria, Pax, Triumph, Gloria, Honour, and Fortuna bastions, the Spes half-bastion, and the Kristervall half-bastion.