Up until recently, visitors couldn't even reach Fort Konstantine, a 19th-century fortress in the middle of the Gulf of Finland. Now, thanks to the dam across the Gulf, you can step back in time and and explore what it was like to brace the harsh seas and protect the capital of the Russian Empire. 

One of the largest artillery forts in the area, Fort Konstantin dates back to 1807, when Emperor Alexander I signed a degree to fortify Kronstadt, once a key naval outpost for the defence of St. Petersburg and now a functioning naval base located on the nearby Kotlin Island (yep, just like the language). 

The original fort was built out of wooden logs, sand and rocks. It was equipped with 49 guns that protected the fairway.  Over the next century, it was converted into a two-story fortified structure with the world’s first steel-armored artillery battery.

Fierce and heavily armed, the fort scared off the enemy multiple times, including the French and English ships during the Crimean War in 1854-1855. Attacking St. Petersburg from the sea just didn’t seem like a good idea anymore.

The fort has recently been restored and is now open for tours year round. In the summer, it also hosts historic reenactments and a kite festival, among other events. 

View at the neighboring Fort Alexander. Credit: Egor (@koshelenok) on Unsplash

View at the neighboring Fort Alexander. Credit: Egor (@koshelenok) on Unsplash

Considering that the fort is located on an important fairway, it’s only fitting that it would house Russia’s oldest Museum of the Lighthouse Service. You can see lights and other artifacts from various lighthouses around Russia and get up close and personal with the lenses used in lighthouses over the past two centuries. 

The fort is a great place to explore as part of a trip to the city of Kronstadt, a naval base with rich history and beautiful architecture. In the summer, it is also a launchpad for boat tours to the nearby forts that are only accessible from the water.

Keep in mind that it can be very windy on the Gulf. Dress accordingly. 

Getting there:

Minibus #405 from Chyornaya Rechka metro station

Bus #101 from “Staraya Derevnya” metro station

In the winter, take the bus to the first stop after the dam ("19 квартал") and take a 20-minute walk. In the summer, there’s a free shuttle service from downtown Kronstadt.

Fort Konstantin on Yandex.Maps

Opening hours: 

Fort Constantine is open daily. There is a 150 rubles entrance fee. 

Museum of the Lighthouse Service is open Tuesday through Sunday, 12 pm till 8 pm. It is closed on Mondays. Tickets are 350 rubles (250 for students and other eligible groups).