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Russia Castles, Kremlins & Fortresses

In the Medieval times, when fortified seats of feudal lords, namely castles, were built in great numbers in Europe, in ancient Rus special defensive buildings were erected – Kremlins. This type of fortified complexes is inextricably linked to the city's life; within Kremlins were not only military fortifications but also cultural buildings (churches, monasteries) and houses. Additionally, only the settlements that had their own Kremlin were given the status of a city in ancient Rus. Many Kremlins of that time served as important political, cultural and trade centres, but today out of hundreds of these huge and small buildings, only 15 stone ones survived in Moscow, Novgorod the Great, Pskov, Tula, Kazan, Suzdal, Rostov and other Russian cities. Another type of fortified buildings in the fifteenth- and seventeenth-century Rus was a well-fortified monastery with defensive walls and towers: the Pskov-Caves Monastery, the Solovetsky Monastery, the Transfiguration of Jesus Monastery in Jarosław and many more. Several strongholds survived on the north-western borders of Russia. They were built by the Swedes and the knights of the Teutonic Order when fighting took place for these lands: Vyborg Castle, Tapiau Castle, the Shlisselburg Fortress (named Oreshek). Among the buildings that are the embodiment of the best European architectural traditions are undoubtedly also: Mikhailovsky Castle, the Peter and Paul Fortress, and Sheremietiev Castle; they were built in the time of the Russian Empire.