Daugavpils Fortress is an early 19th century fortification in Latvia, and the last bastion-type fortress to be built in the world. Its territory comprises 35 individual historical monuments.
Daugavpils Fortress, or Daugavpils cietoksnis, consists of eight bastions, six ravelins, six counterguards and other defensive structures, such as lunettes, redoubts and a moat. It has 10 wide streets, 80 buildings, squares, and public gardens. The fortress is an architectural and urban monument of national significance and a special protected area under Latvian law.
Are you planning to visit Daugavpils? In this article, you will find useful information about Daugavpils Fortress: from interesting facts to opening hours, entry fee and more. Note: This is not a sponsored article, it includes purely my personal experience. All photos were taken by me.
Where is Daugavpils Fortress?
The fortress is located in Daugavpils, the second-largest city in Latvia. The main part of the fortification complex – the citadel – is situated on the right bank of the Daugava River, only two kilometers (1.2 miles) away from the Old Town. There is a bridgehead on the left side of the river.
How to get there
From the city center, take an ecological modern tram or a retro tram No 3 (terminus “Cietoksnis”), and make some 200 meters on foot (about 15 minutes). Personally, I love walking, if you also prefer long walks, go along the protective dam (Daugavas street) from Dubrovins Park or take Vienības Street and Cietokšņa Street (about 25 minutes).
Address: Nikolaja iela 5, Daugavpils, LV-5401
Coordinates: 55° 53′ 1.86” N, 26° 29′ 44.844” E
Altitude: 92 meters (301 feet)
Phone: +371 654 24043
Opening times & Admission prices
The territory of Daugavpils Fortress is open for visiting at any time and is free of charge, except for visiting certain cultural institutions and events.
Please observe the Regulations of the Daugavpils Fortress, which are located at the entrances to the fortress territory.
Interesting historical facts about Daugavpils Fortress
- Plans for the fortress were validated in 1772 by Russian Tsar Alexander I, and construction started in 1810 in anticipation of Napoleon’s Army attack on the Russian Empire.
- In the years 1914 and 1917, the 5th army headquarter of the Imperial Russian Army was located here – the First World War brought the fortress at war.
- During World War II, Nazis arranged a Jewish ghetto and a camp for Soviet prisoners of war in the fortress territory.
- From 1948 to 1993, Daugavpils Military School of aviation engineers was housed here.
Daugavpils Fortress architecture
The fortress was constructed according to the project of the Latvian engineer Georgs Heinrihs Hekels. All facades of the buildings exemplify the Empire style, with the exception of the Neo-Gothic Nicholas Gate and the Water Lifting House.
The gate was built from 1824 to 1827, and has lateral chambers on both sides of the central passageway – in tsarist time they were used as guard and prisoners rooms. They are now fitted with modern lighting enabling to use them as exhibition halls.
In order to prevent the enemy from reaching the main rampart of the fortress, its walls were separated from the external fortifications with the help of a moat.
In the years 1840 and 1844, the impressive two-story building of the engineer arsenal was built in the Empire style. It has preserved its ramps going to the second floor of the building from the yard. The arsenal was used to make and repair armament supplies.
To support the citadel’s needs, a considerable number of various warehouses were built in the fortress territory. Some of them were used for powder magazines, others to store the fortress food supplies.
Daugavpils Fortress cannons
Nowadays, nine old cannons can be found here: five of them are from cast-iron, while four made from steel. They were manufactured in the second half of the 19th century in the cities of Perm and Obukhov (Russia).
Daugavpils Fortress has data on 1200 inhabitants officially registered in the territory and living in 18 apartment houses. The total area of the site situated on both banks of the Daugava River is more than two square kilometers (0.8 square miles).
Visiting Daugavpils Fortress
The fortress is very big, but not too big to walk through and see it all. Although many buildings are abandoned, the area is tidy, parts of the fortress are in good condition and allow you to envisage how powerful it would have been in its time.
I gave myself some time to just walk around and explore.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure policy page for more info.
I hope you enjoyed my guide to visiting Daugavpils Fortress! Please share it with your friends on your social media. Here are a few more informative and interesting articles that I recommend you read next:
- Vilnius Artillery Bastion: A Renaissance-style fortification in Lithuania
- Gibralfaro Castle: A Moorish fortress in Málaga, Spain
- Paris Catacombs: The dark underworld of the City of Light
Have you been to Daugavpils? Have you visited Daugavpils Fortress recently? I enjoy exploring old fortifications, how about you? Feel free to post a comment below.