The photography is by John Sloan during visits in 1991 and 1993.
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.
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.