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The citadel of life: The Oreshek Fortress has been renovated ahead of 70th Victory Day celebrations


The interior of the outdoor museum was throughly worked at. Specialists assure of the quality of their work - even giving it a warranty. Nikolay Rastvortsev reports on what difficulties they had encountered and historic background.


Clean from rust, make bronze and copper shiny again, cover it with patina - these were the restoration workers’ tasks. Tents and heat cannons had to be used - as the Oreshek Fortress museum operating outdoors - because some components cannot withstand humidity and subzero temperatures. The monument which depicts the scenes of the Fortress’ defence required particular care.

Andrey Alexeev, construction company spokesperson: «It was cleaned to yellowish bronze colour. And then we applied patina. Its a very thorough process. You can see the structure is complicated. We wiped it with sponges and cleaned it. On numerous occasions, we had to apply special solution 3-4 times to get a good black colour»

Nikolay Rastvortsev, reporter: «The Oreshek Fortress Memorial Complex was opened to mark the 40th anniversary of Victory Day - on May 9th 1985. There hasnt been a proper renovation in 3 decades of its existence. As a result, some decorative elements went missing. Sculptures gone rusty»

The Fortress had been on the frontline for 498 days - the Road of Life was only 15 kilometers away. «Stones crumbled, but people stood still». That is how a garrison commissioner later described Oreshek’s defence. Despite heavy enemy fire, the defenders of the Fortress did not allow the Germans to cut off Leningrad from the mainland. Thats why special materials were used to create sculptures. Things of the new are impossible to use during restoration works.

Oleg Polukhin, deputy head of «Shlisselburg Fortress Oreshek»: «The metals used for sculptures are remains of those weapons which were used to defend this Fortress and those 50 thousand projectiles which hit the Fortress from the Shlisselburg side».

All works had been financed by the museum. The restoration workers gave a 10-year guarantee. In order to be in full blossom by the 70th Victory Day, the grounds have to be taken care of too. Roughly three weeks remain before the memorable date.