Russian armies would construct a gulyay-gorod from large wall-sized prefabricated shields (with holes for guns) installed on wheels or sleds, a development of the wagon-fort concept. The usage of installable shields instead of permanently armoured wagons cost less and allowed the assembly of more possible configurations. The gulyay-gorod developed as a fortification in steppe country, where flat, void landscape provided no natural shelter. Giles Fletcher, the Elder, English ambassador to Russia, left an early Western description of the gulyay-gorod in his Of the Russe Common Wealth (1591).
The wide-scale usage of gulyay-gorod started during the Russo-Kazan Wars of 1438-1552, and later the Ukrainian Cossacks used the fortification extensively. A gulyay-gorod played the critical role during the Battle of Molodi (1572), which brought to a halt the expansion of the Crimean Khanate into the Russian lands. In Ukraine, Bogdan Khmelnitsky had a large gulyay-gorod built for the siege of the castle of Zbarazh in 1649.
With the proliferation of field artillery this kind of fortification fell into disuse. In a wider sense the Russian term has come to be applied to foreign mobile fortifications, such as wagon forts of Hussites.
See also 
- V.F.Shperk, "The History of Fortification" (В. Ф. Шперк, История фортификации) (1957) (Russian)