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Levi Price
Levi Price

The Fortress

Built in the second half of the 18th century by Sweden on a group of islands located at the entrance of Helsinki's harbour, this fortress is an especially interesting example of European military architecture of the time.

The Fortress


Covering an area of 210 ha and consisting of 200 buildings and 6 km of defensive walls, the fortress stretches over six separate islands. The original fortress was built using local rock and fortified with a system of bastions over varied terrain. The purpose of the fortress was originally to defend the Kingdom of Sweden against the Russian Empire and to serve as a fortified army base, complete with a dry dock. Sandbanks, barracks and various other buildings were added during the 19th-century Russian period. The defensive system was adapted to match the requirements of a modern fortress and developed in the 19th century using contemporary fortification equipment.

After Finland gained independence in 1917, the fortress was renamed Suomenlinna (or Fortress of Finland) and served as a garrison and a harbour. The military role of the fortress declined after World War II, and in 1973 the area was converted for civilian purposes. Since then, buildings have been renovated to serve as apartments as well as workspaces, to house private and public services, and for cultural purposes.

Suomenlinna consists of several defensive and utilitarian buildings that blend the architecture and functionality of the fortress within the surrounding landscape. The property includes the islands upon which the fortress was built. This forms a consistent ensemble extensive enough to preserve and present the values of the property. Most of the fortifications and utilitarian buildings dating from the Swedish and Russian periods are well preserved. The fortress has only a few buildings dating from the Finnish era, but they retain their own distinctive identity. A sharp rise in sea level or increased rainfall could threaten the property.

Suomenlinna is legally protected under national legislation. The fortification works are protected by the Ancient Act of 1963 and the church is protected by the Church Act of 1994. The Governing Body of Suomenlinna, a government agency under the Ministry of Education and Culture, owns most of the historical buildings in Suomenlinna. The Governing Body is responsible for the restoration and maintenance of the fortress. The activities are guided by the 1974 Management Plan, which has since been revised. The costs of the Governing Body, which employs around 90 people, are met using funding from the central government budget and from rental income. The Governing Body of Suomenlinna works closely with the National Board of Antiquities, Suomenlinna Prison and the City of Helsinki. Representatives of the local people have a seat in the Governing Body of Suomenlinna.

Suomenlinna is surrounded by open waters and nature reserves. The islands in its vicinity are used by the Finnish Defence Forces, or are subject to restrictive development plans. No changes to the surrounding area that could threaten the values of the property are planned for the near future. The buffer zone of Suomenlinna ends at downtown Helsinki to the north and the military district to the east and south. The island-based fortress is not threatened by city planning or traffic.

In the distance, a fortress sits on a rocky plateau below a sky filled with lightly rolling white and gray clouds in this horizontal landscape painting. The horizon line is low, about a quarter of the way up the composition, so the plateau and fortress loom high above the surrounding land. The fortress is made up two distinct sections, with a nearly windowless stronghold or massive city wall to the right and what looks like a row of six interconnected white rowhouses to the left. More rooflines peek over the stronghold. Tiny in scale, people work on scaffolding erected against a grassy cliff below the white section. Five men and women and a child and a few cows gather in the foreground, closer to us. People walk through the landscape in the background and along roads leading to the fortress. A hilly landscape recedes deep into the distance to our left below pale peach and lilac-purple clouds.

Although Bellotto was primarily a painter of the urban scene, his Fortress of Königstein is one of five large canvases, commissioned by Augustus III in the spring of 1756 but never delivered, depicting the renovated medieval fortress in the countryside near Dresden. The other canvases in the series, of identical size and format, consist of images of both the interior and the exterior of the castle, viewed from a closer vantage point than that adopted for the Gallery's painting. All five paintings were probably imported into England during the artist's lifetime, and they remained there until this painting was acquired by the Gallery in 1993. The two exterior views were together in the collection of the earl of Derby at Knowsley House, Lancashire, until 2017 when one of them was acquired by the National Gallery, London. The other two views, taken from inside the castle walls, belong to the City Art Gallery, Manchester. The castle of Königstein, almost unchanged in appearance today, sits atop a mountain rising precipitously from the Elbe River valley. Exploiting the picturesque quality of the site, Bellotto invested the Gallery's picture with a sense of drama and monumentality rarely found in eighteenth-century view painting. Bellotto's panorama effectively contrasts the imposing mass of the fortress, perched on a rocky precipice, with the broad expanse of cloud-filled sky and with the bucolic scene of rustic peasants and their animals, picked out in the foreground by the flickering light. The middle ground is occupied by forests, fields, and pathways leading to the castle at the apex of the mountain. In Bellotto's interpretation, Königstein castle becomes an awesome--and ironic--symbol of his patron's might at the very moment of his defeat.

The support is a fine plain-weave fabric of medium weight, prepared with a light red ground of medium thickness. The paint has been applied with fluent brushwork and the handling reveals considerable variety in touch and application. In many places in the landscape and fortress the paint has been applied with strong brushstrokes, employing fairly thick paint to vary thickness and texture. The deliberate use of a fairly dry brush to create texture is particularly evident in the fortress. The upper-right edge of the escarpment was originally placed 4 cm to the right of its present location; indications of this change are faintly visible. In contrast, the sky has been painted more loosely and rapidly, the broad, sweeping strokes imparting a sense of active weather, light, and movement. The thinner application of paint in the sky has permitted the red ground to show through, although in certain areas the aging of the paint, previous varnish removals, and abrasion have revealed more of the red ground than was originally intended. Aside from minor abrasion in the sky and trees in the lower-left foreground, the painting is in exceptional condition. It was treated in 1992 by Bruno Heimberg at the Doerner Institute, Munich, prior to acquisition. Additional conservation treatment, including varnish removal and in painting, was carried out by David Bull in 1993.

In the year 1077, archbishop Gebhard had the fortress built. In the years which followed, his successors drove ongoing development of the fortress architecture. The complex acquired the appearance we recognize today under archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach in 1500. The original purpose of the fortress was to protect the principality and the archbishops from hostile attacks. In all of these years, it has never been captured by foreign troops.

Barrier-free access to Hohensalzburg Fortress via the fortress funicular, unrestricted access to the panorama terrace and bastion in the area of the top station and access to the castle courtyard, the exhibition in the armoury, the Kuenburg bastion and the marionette museum by means of a lift in the bell tower. The interior areas of the fortress do not provide barrier-free access. Video-guide tablets are available in sign language as well as for persons with walking disabilities. More information please consult the official website.

The vast (132.1 x 236.2 cm) panoramic painting which depicts the Fortress of Königstein, near Dresden and is one of a series of five large-scale views of the ancient hilltop fortress commissioned by Augustus III, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, in about 1756. Here, the fortress is seen perched atop a crag, its fortifications providing an imposing contrast to the verdant landscape that surrounds it, in which peasants talk and work. Bellotto combines topographical accuracy in the fortress with pastoral invention in the figures. Imbued with a monumentality rarely seen in 18th-century Italian view painting, 'The Fortress of Königstein from the North' dramatically illustrates the very different direction in which Bellotto took the Venetian tradition of the 'veduta'.

Wander an interpretive trail to unveil vital history. Uncover the secrets of an 18th century settlement. Be amazed by the war-torn remains of a stone fortress. Canso Islands National Historic Site brings to life the stories of Atlantic Canada.

Citation: Solá Gracia E, de Bekker C, Hanks EM, Hughes DP (2018) Within the fortress: A specialized parasite is not discriminated against in a social insect society. PLoS ONE 13(2): e0193536.

Old San Juan was founded in 1521 by Spanish settlers. The first fortification, La Fortaleza (The Fortress), began construction in 1533 and currently serves as the governor's mansion. The Castillo San Felipe del Morro, or El Morro, was the second fort built on the islet of what is now Old San Juan and Puerta de Tierra. El Morro's construction commenced in 1539 and finished in 1790; during those 250 years, El Morro went from a promontory mounted with a cannon to a six-level fortress designed to unnerve attackers approaching from the sea. 041b061a72


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