Ostrog (fortress)

Last updated
The tower of Ilimsky ostrog, now in Taltsy Museum in Irkutsk, Siberia. Taltsy Museum Irkutsk Ostrog Tower 200007280018.jpg
The tower of Ilimsky ostrog, now in Taltsy Museum in Irkutsk, Siberia.

Ostrog (Russian :острог,IPA:  [ɐˈstrok] ) is a Russian term for a small fort, typically wooden and often non-permanently manned. Ostrogs were encircled by 4–6 metres high palisade walls made from sharpened trunks. The name derives from the Russian word строгать (strogat'), "to shave the wood". Ostrogs were smaller and exclusively military forts, compared to larger kremlins that were the cores of Russian cities. Ostrogs were often built in remote areas or within the fortification lines, such as the Great Abatis Line.



The tower of Yakutsky ostrog in Siberia. Y-ostrog.jpg
The tower of Yakutsky ostrog in Siberia.

From the 17th century, after the start of the Russian conquest of Siberia, the word ostrog was used to designate the forts founded in Siberia by Russian explorers. Many of these forts later transformed into large Siberian cities.

When later Siberia became a favourite destination for criminals sent there to serve katorga, Siberian ostrogs became associated with imprisonment, and in the 18th and 19th centuries the word ostrog often meant prison.

See also

Related Research Articles

Siberia Geographical region in Russia

Siberia is an extensive geographical region spanning much of Eurasia and Northern Asia. Siberia has been part of modern Russia since the latter half of the 16th century.

Irkutsk City in eastern Russia

Irkutsk is the largest city and administrative center of Irkutsk Oblast, Russia. With a population of 617,473 as of the 2010 Census, Irkutsk is the 25th largest city in Russia by population, the 5th largest in the Siberian Federal District, and one of the largest cities in Siberia.

Irkutsk Oblast First-level administrative division of Russia

Irkutsk Oblast is a federal subject of Russia, located in southeastern Siberia in the basins of the Angara, Lena, and Nizhnyaya Tunguska Rivers. The administrative center is the city of Irkutsk. It had a population of 2,428,750 at the 2010 Census.

Petropavl Place in North Kazakhstan Region, Kazakhstan

Petropavl or Petropavlovsk, is a city on the Ishim River in northern Kazakhstan close to the border with Russia, about 261 km west of Omsk along the Trans-Siberian Railway. It is the capital of the North Kazakhstan Region. Population: 218,956. The city is also known colloquially in the Kazakh language as Kyzylzhar.

Fortification Military defensive construction

A fortification is a military construction or building designed for the defense of territories in warfare, and is also used to establish rule in a region during peacetime. The term is derived from the Latin fortis ("strong") and facere.

History of Siberia Aspect of Russian history

The early history of Siberia was greatly influenced by the sophisticated nomadic civilizations of the Scythians (Pazyryk) on the west of the Ural Mountains and Xiongnu (Noin-Ula) on the east of the Urals, both flourishing before the Christian era. The steppes of Siberia were occupied by a succession of nomadic peoples, including the Khitan people, various Turkic peoples, and the Mongol Empire. In the late Middle Ages, Tibetan Buddhism spread into the areas south of Lake Baikal.

Mangazeya human settlement in Russia

Mangazeya was a Northwest Siberian trans-Ural trade colony and later city in the 17th century. Founded in 1600 by Cossacks from Tobolsk, it was situated on the Taz River, between the lower courses of the Ob and Yenisei Rivers flowing into the Arctic Ocean. The name derives from a Nenets ethnonym Monkansi or Mongandi.

Tobolsk Town in Tyumen Oblast, Russia

Tobolsk is a town in Tyumen Oblast, Russia, located at the confluence of the Tobol and Irtysh rivers. Founded in 1590, Tobolsk is the second-oldest Russian settlement east of the Ural Mountains in Asian Russia, and is a historic capital of the Siberia region. Population: 99,694 (2010 Census); 92,880 (2002 Census); 94,143 (1989 Census).

Great Zasechnaya cherta

Zasechnaya cherta was a chain of fortification lines, created by Grand Duchy of Moscow and later the Tsardom of Russia to protect it from the Crimean-Nogai Raids who, rapidly moving along the Muravsky Trail, ravaged the southern provinces of the country during a series of the Russo-Crimean Wars. It was south of the original line along the Oka River. It also served as a border between the Muscovite State and the steppe nomads. As a fortification line stretching for hundreds kilometers, the Great Abatis Border is analogous to the Great Wall of China and the Roman limes.

Ostroh City of regional significance in Rivne Oblast, Ukraine

Ostroh is a historic city located in Rivne Oblast (province) of western Ukraine, on the Horyn River. Ostroh is the administrative center of the Ostroh Raion (district). Administratively, Ostroh is incorporated as a city of oblast significance and does not belong to the raion. Population: 15,674 (2017 est.)

Russian conquest of Siberia military conquest

The Russian conquest of Siberia took place in the 16th and 17th centuries, when the Khanate of Sibir had become a loose political structure of vassalages that were being undermined by the activities of Russian explorers. Although outnumbered, the Russians pressured the various family-based tribes into changing their loyalties and establishing distant forts from which they conducted raids. To counter this, Kuchum Khan attempted to centralize his rule by imposing Islam on his subjects and reforming his tax-collecting apparatus.

Narym Place in Tomsk Oblast, Russia

Narym is a village (selo) in Parabelsky District of Tomsk Oblast, Russia, located on the banks of the Ob River near its confluence with the Ket River, 25 kilometers (16 mi) from the village of Parabel. The village is surrounded on all sides by marshes.

Siberian regionalism

Siberian regionalism was a political movement to form an autonomous Siberian polity. It originated in the mid-19th century and reached a high tide with the military activities of Aleksandr Kolchak and Viktor Pepelyayev during the Russian Civil War.

Ilimsk Village in Russia

Ilimsk was a small town in Siberia, within today's Irkutsk Oblast of Russia. The town was flooded by the Ust-Ilimsk Reservoir in the mid-1970s.

Anadyrsk human settlement in Russia

Anadyrsk was an important Russian ostrog in far northeastern Siberia from 1649 to 1764. It was on the Anadyr River, near the head of small-boat navigation, about 300 miles upstream, 12 miles northeast of the present Markovo.

Novoselenginsk rural locality in Buryatia, Russia

Novoselenginsk is a rural locality in Selenginsky District of the Republic of Buryatia, Russia, located on the Selenge River south of Lake Baikal. Formerly called simply Selenginsk, it was one of the most important towns in Siberia before 1800.

Maksim Perfilyev Cossack explorer

Maksim Perfilyev (Russian: Максим Перфильев was a Cossack explorer of Eastern Siberia and the first Russian to reach Transbaikalia. He was renowned for his diplomatic skills in negotiations with Tunguses, Mongols and Chinese.

The Siberian fur trade is an exchange concerned with the gathering, buying and selling of valuable animal furs that originate from Siberia. The Siberian fur trade expanded from localized trade, and Siberian fur is now traded around the world. The Siberian fur trade had a significant impact on the development of Siberia through exploration and colonization. The fur trade also precipitated a decline in the number of fur-bearing animals and resulted in Siberia being conquered by Russia.

Church of the Saviour, Tyumen Church in Tyumen Oblast, Russia

The Church of the Saviour, also known as the Church of the Image of "The Saviour Not Made by Hands" or shorter Spasskaya Church, is a church in Tyumen, Tyumen Oblast, Russia, located at Lenin Street, 43, in a crossroad between the Chelyuskintsev Street. Built in a late 18th-century Siberian Baroque and early 20th-century neorussian style, the building is one of the oldest and most expressive churches in Siberia, which is under monument protection.


Baikalia is a vague geographical term referring to the region around Lake Baikal. It is less common than the concept of Transbaikalia, the area to the east of Lake Baikal. The term Baikalia is loosely defined and has no official definition.