The Russian Culture
The Russian period in the Modlin Fortress began just after its surrender in 1813 when the Russians entered the Fortress. For several years, they had not undertaken attempts to rebuild it but after the fall of the November Uprising, they recognised the value of the fortress’ location and included it into the defensive system of the Tsarist Russia. In 1832, the great rebuilding of the Fortress began and the works were supervised by Ivan Dhen aided by General Alexander Feldman. Then, the huge, brick canon posts were erected as well as multi-kilometre external defensive embankment reinforced with Carnot’s wall. Within the confines of the unaltered internal space, the construction of two-kilometre defensive barracks began which were finally completed in 1844. The barracks could accommodate even 20 thousand troops. Also new gates were put up like the Poniatowski, Dąbrowski and Ostrołęka Gates while the French Northern Gate was bricked in. The majority of the facilities in the Modlin Fortress which we can see today originates from the Russian times. These are: the Granary, the Dhen’s Canon Post, food supplies network, the Utrata Crown, the Meciszewski’s Caponier, the Water Tower, the Officers’ Canteen, The Tsarist blocks, bath house, laundry, and others. At the end of the 19th century, the Russians also established the park in the Fortress which is called the “Park of Three Cultures” today.
Due to the development of artillery (the second half of the 19th century) and its increasing range, a decision on reinforcement of the Fortress was made. Thus, a building of the huge, frontline fortress began at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1883-88 eight forts in the shape of brick and earth construction were erected on its outskirts. Although the fortress was not so long ago rebuilt at the expense of 6 million roubles, the Modlin Fortress required subsequent modernisation because of new kind of artillery grenades. It forced the Russians to rebuild the forts using new materials – concrete and armour plate. The subsequent rebuilding carried out since 1912 included the erection of the external ring of forts and new gunpowder magazines.
The Modlin Fortress was the apple of Tsar Nicolas I’s eye. The monarch had visited it as many as 17 times. He received the heads of other states in Modlin. Because of that, a no longer existing small palace was built in the Fortress courtyard, which housed the Tsar’s chambers. There were also Tsarist chambers in the no longer existing part of the troop’s barracks. He admired excellent views from there spreading at the mouth of the Narew River. The Fortress was also an important centre of the Russian Orthodox Church on the Vistula River, and hence, the church in the barracks’ courtyard.
In times of the Russian rule in the Fortress, it was the largest fortress in the Kingdom of Poland and one of the strongest in the contemporary Europe. In 1834, the Modlin acquired yet another name – Nowogieorgijewsk, to commemorate St. George, the patron of Russia (the highest patron for the most important fortress in Russia). The name was preserved as the official name until 1915.
The Russian rule in the Modlin Fortress ended on 20 August 1915 when it was conquered by Germans during World War I.