Kiev Fortress Museum – Unique Semi-Underground Museum
The semi-underground Kyiv Fortress Museum or Kyivska Fortetsya is a 19th century defense building which was at one-stage part of the western Russian fortresses. These buildings were common sights in Kiev in the past and were placed in most neighborhoods by the Russian army. The multitude of defense structures built in the capital make it the largest city fortress found anywhere in the world. You can find this restored Kyiv fortress situated on a hill in the center of the capital of Ukraine.
Many of these buildings today have been put to use as prisons, barracks or as storage facilities, as they have become unnecessary military buildings. For example, the Skew Caponier Fortress was a political prison in the early 1900s and is now a modern museum. Another fortress was built on the famous Bald Mountain in 1872 as an institute for executing political prisoners. Later this same fortress became part of a museum surrounded by beautiful landscaped gardens.
Like other fortresses the Kyiv Museum was used in later years as a place for execution for political prisoners, such as leaders who were part of a rebellion and were against the tsar reigning at that point. The fate of these prisoners was experienced a number of times during the museum’s history with all of them reaching the same tragic end. This historical and architectural landmark was also used as a storage unit for a variety of weapons behind the stone and brick walls.
To get to the Kyiv Museum is relatively easy. Once you are in the capital you can take any one of the subway stations to the city center. After that, however, you are going to need your hiking boots as the hill is pretty steep and this is the only way to the museum. The walk is well worth it though, because once you are there you are rewarded with a spectacular view of the city of Kiev and the surrounding areas. Interestingly, although the fortress is part of a museum, it is also a military hospital, so don’t be surprised if you see a lot of men in white coats wandering around.