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ISBORSK FORTRESS

John Sloan

Isborsk: is one of the most ancient fortresses in all of Russia. Here is a summary table of the photos. There is a a diagram on the outer wall. See the explaination - The defensive structures of Izborsk have been preserved some 30 km from Pskov on the route to Riga. See S.
Beletsky's article "On the chronicle date of the fortifications of Izborsk fortress', in Fortifikatsiya v drevnosti i srednyevyekov'ye, St. Petersburg, 1995. Photo of the corner of the western wall showing location of the diagram. At this side of the fortress there is a Church of St Sergius from the 18th century. The specific period of the first creation of this fortress is not clear and its history is complex. According to the legend it existed already in the XI century and is related to the forefathers of Russia's statehood. In the Xth century there existed a typical cape-style stronghold on the high bluff over the lake. In the XII century the Germans twice captured the stronghold. Outside showing a view of the western wall and north-west tower. There is a symbol in this wall said to ward off the evil western Catholics.
Early in the XIV century Izborsk was relocated to a more spacious place and protected by a wooden fortress. In 1323 it was out of this fortress that they launched a surprise attack on the enemy besieging Pskov. Soon afterwards the wooden walls were replaced by the stone ones, but without towers. A hundred years later the fortress had six towers. Inside showing a view of the north-west tower and the caretaker's house. Another view of the cottage and two towers. Photo of the inside of the tower. Photo of the tower from outside the wall. View of two of the three towers along this wall from outside the fortress. Another view of the wall and tower from the other side. View over the adjacent valley from outside the Izborsk fortress wall during a visit in December 1991. View of Isborsk as one approaches during a snowy winter day. View of the desolate landscape around the Isborsk fortress.


Under one of these there was a secret water well that enabled the defenders to withstand lengthy sieges. The enemies came to respect the city, calling it the "beautiful iron city" during the siege of 1349. There were many sieges, but the fortress remained impregnable. In 1510 Izborsk along with Pskov was annexed to Moscow. The impressive stone fortress is now uninhabited, except for a caretaker. Northwest tower showing a close-up view. Northeast tower showing a view from inside the castle yard. This is the only tower that is inside the walls - number 7 on the diagram - the Lukov tower.

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