From Monday 15 February to Saturday 20 February 2010 St Aidan's College Durham will play host to a temporary exhibition of photographs of Brest Fortress in Belarus. Today a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the fortress, originally built as a defensive measure after Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812 had by 1914 become the largest military complex in the Russian Empire. It subsequently became the location for the peace negotiations which lead up to the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March 1918 which allowed an exhausted Russian to depart from the First World War, and when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union on June 22 1941 it became the location for the first battle on the Eastern Front in World War II. The fortress never surrendered and held out for over a month when the Germans had expected to secure it within a matter of hours or just a few days at most. In recognition of its heroic defence, after the war the Fortress was given the title of 'Hero Fortress' thus ranking it alongside the likes of Stalingrad and Leningrad in the epic battles on the Eastern Front in World War II.
Mr Alexsandr Mikhnevich, the Ambassador of the Belarusian Embassy in London and Mr Valery Kurdyukov, Minister Counsellor for Political Affairs, Multilateral Institutions, Education and Science, Culture will be attending the opening day of the exhibition on Monday 15th of February.
Today it is a Memorial Complex to the Fallen. The photographs range in date from 1886 to 2008 and tell the fortress's story. As the Russians would say Иди и смотри - Eedee ee Smotry 'Come See !
Open for university students and alumni during normal working hours (9am-5pm). Entrance between 5 and 8pm is also possible as long as visitors report to reception on arrival.
See website www.brestfortressinuk.co.uk