Nestled in the slopes of the Ural Mountains, midway between Western and Eastern Siberia, lies the city of Novokuznetsk, in the Kemerovo region, located at the confluence of the Iskitim and Tom Rivers, in the major coal mining region of the Kuznetsk Basin.
An ancient settlement
Discover the rich history of this Russian region, boasting a high concentration of cultural places, such as paleolithic burial grounds, rock paintings, a dinosaur cemetery, museums, and many more. Among these, the most famous ones are Mariinsk prison (from which nobody ever managed to escape) and the remains of the Kuznetsk fortress built in the early 19th century.
A historic Siberian fortress
Kuznetskaya fortress is one of the oldest historical and architectural monuments of Novokuznetsk. It was erected in 1820 on the Voznesenskaya Mountain (Ascension mountain) by decree of Emperor Paul I. At the end of the 18th century, Kuznetsk city was still an important reference point on the eastern flank of the linear system of border, running from the Caspian Sea to the Altai Mountains. To modernize the fortifications, Kuznetsk commander of the Siberian Corps Lieutenant-General Gustaf Shtrandman developed the project. In April 1798, Emperor Paul I approved this project, and in one year the once called "Swamp citadel" was built at the foot of Mount Ascension. The fortress, massive stone walls fence a rectangular area of about 20 hectares. Let yourself be impressed by a red and white lookout tower that thrones between the half-bastions. Inside you will find barracks, and warehouses. Even though the fortress was fully ready to face attacks, it was never involved in any hostilities. In the year 1846, it lost its defensive function and was used as a prison for a long time, and the three-story tower was transformed into the church of Elijah the Prophet. During the civil war, the prison buildings underwent serious damages. The fortress stayed unattended until the end of the Soviet Union. Then in 1991, a museum about the history of the region was opened in the fortress. Thanks to the money collected and a rising popularity among locals, Novokuznetsk municipality was able to carry out a large-scale reconstruction of the complex, in 1998. On top of learning about the fascinating history of the region and the monument, enjoy breath-taking views of the mountains and a fantastic panorama of the ancient Siberian city. If the weather allows it, you'll admire the highest point of Kuzbass - the mount Amzas-taskyl (Upper tooth), covered in eternal snow.