The benchmark for this Russian fortress opposite the city of Saint Petersburg was the Fort Boyard of La Rochelle on the French Atlantic coast built by Napoleon Bonaparte himself in 1801. A few years later the tsars of Russia decided to build this fortress in theB altic Sea, specifically in 1838 and finished in 1845, long before the Gallic model on which they were inspired, which was not completed until twelve years later.
To build Fort Alexander, the first step was to create an artificial island in this stretch of the Gulf of Finland. A first job that took several years of design and hard work. More than 5,550 wooden piles had to be driven into the seabed. Some very long poles, about 12 meters. All this framework was subsequently covered successively with a mantle of sand, another with concrete and a third with granite slabs. A huge job, but it was only the foundations. With this, only an artificial island had been finished and it was already possible to start building the fortress itself. Which was a design devised by Mikhail von der Veide.
Its plan is a large oval, and from it, it rises with three heights surrounding the entire fort. A brick-based construction, although everything is covered with granite, to give it a more imposing appearance, andcertainly be more resistant.
The entire perimeter is surrounded by those three floors, in whose rooms there is capacity for a thousand soldiers and over a hundred batteries of cannons oriented to the four cardinal points are deployed throughout its external front. While the internal walls surround a wide open courtyard whose area exceeds 5,000 square meters.
A very sturdy structure, but one that has never been used in a war event. During the reign of Tsar Alexander I, in the mid-19th century, no European power dared attack Russia from the B altic. So little by little, more than a defensive point, it became an arsenal for ammunition. A function that it also ended up losing, and before the end of the 19th century, the Russian army stopped using it.
Then a new life began for the enclosure taking advantage of its isolation and the strength of its walls. It became a large bacteriological laboratory. At the beginning of the 20th century, relevant medical findings against various diseases such as the plague, scarlet fever, typhus or cholera, among others, emerged from here.
However, it ended up being abandoned and in fact today it has become a tourist visit to learn about its architecture and history.