Contemporary Manuscript Plan of Improvements to Fortress Kiev, Re-Used For Planning During the Ukranian-Soviet War.
Detailed manuscript map of Kiev on the Dnieper River, illustrating the fortifications known collectively as Fortress Kiev, with more recent additions which seem to be preparations for defending Kiev during the Ukrainian-Soviet War.
The map includes a number of annotations in either Russian or Ukrainian, focused primarily on the various fortifications and neighborhoods along the Dniepr River. The plan is laid out over a lighter sepia colored topographical image, providing a highly detailed image of Kiev's elevations. and several areas showing street grids.
We date the base map as being prior to 1870, as it shows the Kievo-Baltskaya railroad station buildings in the upper part of the plan, which were not finished until 1870.
The primary purpose of the map is likely to illustrate the barricades & troop locations, as well as artillery positions and range of fire, as part of the defense of the city during the Ukrainian-Soviet War, 1917-1921, during which time Kiev was the scene of a number of different battles involving the People's Ukrainian Republic, pro-Bolshevik forces and the Soviet Russian Army.
Kiev Fortress is the largest 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 to 1870. The main construction (New Pechersk Fortress) was built in 1830-50 during the regency of Nikolai I. Kiev became the most fortified big city in Europe.
In 1706, Czar Peter I ordered the construction of the so-called "Old Cave Fortress." The earliest plans for the fortress were done by engineer named Gellert. It was completed in 1723, and consisted of a semicircular citadel with a 20 foot high earthen rampart, eight bulwarks, and other fortifications. The new fortress had an arsenal of 467 artillery guns, 27 mortars, and 3 howitzers.
Following Alexander I's visit to Kiev in 1816, it had been rumored that the Czar wanted to enlarge the Pechersk fortress because of its strategic location relative to the Ottoman Empire and central Europe. In 1830 Nicholas I began that project, which was not finished until 1852, which included an army hospital capable of handling eighteen hundred patients. As a result, new neighborhoods emerged on Pechersk's slopes, and the woods and ravines that separated Podil, Old Kiev, and Pechersk gave way to development.
Kiev was beginning to fuse into a single urban community. Governor-General Wasilij Lewaszew (Levashov, 1783-1848) opposed further expansion of the city's garrison, and Nicholas no doubt listened, for he loved the city, became personally involved in plans for its beautification, and even thought about making it "a third capital." Between 1832 and 1852 Nicholas visited Kiev nine times.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, the fortress was rebuilt again, particularly around the near and far caves. The new project was created by Otto von Freiman and carried out by Lieutenant Colonel Burman. The new walls were over 1/2 mile in length, three and half brick thick and 13 feet high with a 15 foot deep foundation. During that time, the Old Cave Fortress constructed in the 18th century was the base for the administrative and military institutions of the Russian Empire in the city
Between 1831 and 1863 the so-called New Cave Fortress was built, under the direction of an engineer named Opperman.
The Ukrainian–Soviet War (1917-1921) was fought between the Ukrainian People's Republic and the Bolsheviks. Beginning shortly after the October Revolution, Lenin dispatched the Antonov's expeditionary group to Ukraine and Southern Russia. Soviet historical tradition describes the event as the occupation of Ukraine by military forces of Western and Central Europe, including the Polish Republic's military, with the Bolshevik victory constituting Ukraine's liberation from western control. Modern Ukrainian historians consider it a failed War of Independence by the Ukrainian People's Republic against the Russian Soviet Republic, ending with Ukraine falling under a Russian-Soviet occupation.