Daugavpils fortress

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Daugavpils Fortress
External view of Nicholas Gate

Daugavpils Fortress, also known as Dinaburg Fortress, is a fortress in Daugavpils, Latvia. It is the only early 19th century military fortification of its kind in Northern Europe that has been preserved without significant alterations.[1] Planning of the fortress began in 1772 by decree of Tsar Alexander I of Russia, shortly after the First Partition of Poland when Latvia ceded to Russia and construction began during Napoleon's attack of the Russian Empire in 1810. Construction of the fortress, despite lengthy delays, serious floodings and slow construction work, was completed in 1878.

The fortress is the site of the Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art centre.


10,000 workers built the fortress in two shifts. In 1812, the fortress was attacked by the French Army of 24,000 men. The fortress was still under construction and was defended by 3300 men and 200 cannons. The fortress was a significant, modern military centre of the Russian Empire, for a long time being a defense base of the western frontier of the Russian Empire. The direct route taken by Russian nobles and Royalty from St. Petersburg (then capital of the Russian Empire) to Europe led right through the city of Daugavpils (then named Dinaburg) and Daugavpils Fortress was the place of rest for many nobles including tsars Alexander I, Nicolas I, Alexander II, Alexander III and Russia’s last tsar Nicolas II.[2]

Latvian independence was officially recognised by Soviet Russia in 1920 and between 1920 and 1940 the fortress became home of the Latvian army. During World War II, the hostage camp Stalag 340 was set up in the fortress.[2]

1948–1993 – The fortress was home to the Daugavpils Higher School of Military Aircraft Engineering (DVVAIU). In 1998 the fortress came under the authority of the State Real Estate Agency of Latvia. In 2004 the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia decided to sell the fortress either in parts or as one whole. The fortress's future remains uncertain.[2]


  1. ^ [1] Dinaburga cietoksnis website – website created in 2004 by Latgale Central Library, Daugavpils State District Archive and Daugavpils Ethnographic and Arts Museum. Available in Russian and Latvian languages only.
  2. ^ a b c [2] Valsts nekustamie īpašumi website – general facts and information taken from State Real Estate Agency of Latvia 2004 online presentation titled “Daugavpils fortress – a place where the courage of Napoleon and the Russian emperors is present today”. Available in English language only.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°53′11″N 26°29′42″E / 55.88639°N 26.49500°E / 55.88639; 26.49500