Pillau Citadel

Evgeny Morozov/Welcome2018.com

The architectural centrepiece of Baltiysk is this fortress, founded by the Swedish army in the 17th century. The fortress is a pentagon, each side being 80 metres long. Each bastion has a name: Albrecht, Prussia, Koenig, Koenigen, Kronprinz. They are surrounded by a moat. The outer defence perimeter consists of five ravelins: Ludwig, Storchnes, Valwinkel, Kronwerk, Schinken-Schanz.  

The Swedes built the citadel with an eye on using it as Europe’s most secure bank vault. Its cellars, where stable air temperature and humidity was sustained, would be ideal for the storage of cash. However, defence remained the primary intent of the citadel.

When the Soviet Army stormed Pillau in 1945, the Nazi garrison was able to escape via the labyrinthine tunnels underneath the citadel, mining the tunnels as they retreated. After capturing the town, the Soviet command decided to keep the fortress intact, but most of the underground tunnels were conserved.

The citadel became an affiliate of the Baltic Fleet Museum in 1999. It is open to the public, but you have to sign up for a tour.