Kiev Fortress is the biggest made-of-earth fortress in Europe and the second in size in the world. There was a time when it destroyed half the city without making a single shot: inhabitants of the whole area – Pechersk – were forced to move and many people were evicted because of its construction. The Fortress was constructed in several stages – from 1706 till 1870. The main construction (New Pechersk Fortress) was built in 1830-50th during the regency of Nikolai the First. Kiev became the most fortified big city in Europe.
The Museum, located on the territory of one of the fortifications forming the Fortress complex “Cross-eyed Caponier” , is devoted to the history of Kiev Fortress as a fortification construction and as political prison. Caponier was raised in 1844 and is a semi underground construction with heavy walls made of brick and stone. Gun ports and loopholes for gun and cannon shooting are located in the walls. The complex owes its name to the fact that Caponier is located angularly to the ground rampart of the fortress and for this reason was called “Cross-eyed”.
At the beginning of the 1860th Caponier was turned into political prison. Participants of Polish Revolt of 1863 became its first prisoners. Some of them were shot right by the fortress. Later the number of Caponier`s victims was enlarged by revolted soldiers of Selengin regiment in 1905 and field engineer battalion in 1907.
The Museum in the prison part of Caponier was created in Soviet times. Now its exposition has been renewed. Here one can see the famous “Condemned carriage” which took sentenced to death prisoners to the place of execution. The killer of Russian Prime Minister P. Stolypin D. Bogrov was also carried in it. The appearance of prison wards has been reproduced – prisoner wards for soldiers and officers, punishment cells, prison corridors. Prisoners` personal belongings, judicial documents, military uniform and weapons can be observed in the show windows.
The second museum on the territory of the Hospital fortification introduces history of Ukrainian fortification, starting from Tripillya Culture times up to the World War 1. There are many genuine exhibits in the Museum – uniforms, weapons, maps and charts. Museum’s guides work in a very professional and exciting manner.