Batteries of Mangalsala or Abandoned Forts Near Riga. P.1 | CruiseBe
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Batteries of Mangalsala or Abandoned Forts Near Riga. P.1

Gian Luka • 6 minutes read • March 28th, 2017
I continue the series of reviews of the wonderful country of Latvia.

Taking into account the fact that Riga is a large port city, historically, there must be fortifications near it. Unfortunately, the guidebooks didn't tell us anything about this and we turned to Google for help. It told us that the coastal defense of Riga was built at the best level. With the origin of the city, works to protect it from the sea began. In 1643, the Swedes built Daugavgrīva Castle and Riga citadel (the buildings of those times almost haven't been preserved).
With the advent of the Russian rule, an active strengthening of the coast began, and especially of the peninsula of Mangalsala. Today we will talk about it.

You can see the peninsula of Mangalsala on the right side of this map.

The first buildings, batteries, warehouses and forts began to be constructed on the peninsula during the imperial period. Almost all the buildings made of red brick belong to that time. They took a serious part in repulsing the British attack in 1855. The batteries of Mangalsala drove off the British squadron from the mouth of the River Daugava then.
Before the First World War, batteries were actively modified, fortifications were poured with concrete, modern guns, including large-caliber ones, were installed. We will see their skeletons later. The garrison of Mangalsala had 199 officers and about 2,000 soldiers. That's why the Germans did not dare to storm Riga from the sea. In 1917, during the stepback of the imperial troops, some of the batteries, barracks and warehouses were blown up.

Between the world wars, the Republic of Latvia strengthened the batteries of Mangaсаsala. The Daugavgriva fortification which was supposed to stop the possible landing operation in Riga was established. Mangalsala batteries were the basis of this fortified area. Several anti-aircraft guns and searchlight stations were also created. In total, by 1935, Riga was protected from the sea by 20 cannons of several defense systems. The extreme line of defense was in Riga, which undoubtedly made it impossible to capture the city from the sea.
The fort's hitting area.

As for the Soviet period, positions took part in battles during World War II, but this did not particularly affect the fortifications.
Since 1946, the Riga coast artillery school was organized on Mangalsala. At the same time, some batteries were reorganized into the training ones. Firing exercises were conducted from the batteries. Since the mid-60s, Mangalsala was used for the needs of the mine and torpedo depot of the Navy.
Let's take a walk around the peninsula and see what has remained of the fort.

First we saw the forts built in the early 20th century.

I didn't clearly understand what kind of premises these were. Most likely it's some kind of the warehouse.

There's incredible nature around.

You can see a part of the bunkers in the distance. This is one of the preserved. Unfortunately, we could not come closer to it, because people were playing Airsoft there. ;)

It was hard to find some batteries, storage spaces. Nature has the upper hand.

The battery's cellars. Probably, the soldiers hid here during the bombing. In addition to strong ceilings, the cellar is protected by a large layer of ground.

Here's an entrance in the cellars.

Mangalsala was being left quite hurriedly. According to some reports, thousands of tons of shells and weapons were taken from here. One can still find some artifacts in the forests. For example, a cartridge box.

This tree apparently grew after the construction of the battery.

The forests are so beautiful. The weather also pleased us.

The peninsula is full of mushrooms.


We are approaching the line of batteries built in 1912-1914. These ones have preserved much better. Batteries consisted of 3 doubled artillery units.

Here's the entrance in the cellars. The door has survived.

A gun carriage stood in a circle in front of us.

In addition to the cartridge box, we found some chips.

They really built for a full due. ;) The stairs were in better condition than in some cities now.

One of the batteries.

You should be careful while walking around the peninsula. In addition to the artifacts, you can bang against the barbed wire. There's a lot of it scattered in the forests!

Let's continue our tour of batteries of Mangalsala (Batteries of Mangalsala or Abandoned Forts Near Riga. P.2)!
Author: Gian Luka
Translated by: Olesya Zhukova

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