Fortified Defence Lines

2000 years of fortified defence lines

Long stretched lines of defence for the protection of bigger regions as border installation, line fortress or territory fortress.


Border installations are provided with distinctive constructional reinforcements and defensive systems in order to hinder attackers and to defend the claimed territory. The Roman Limes is classified as the ideal of high fortified border and defensive lines between hostile nations and religions. Today, this fascinating fortification with several museums and archeological sites belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage and to touristic attractions.


Line fortresses often consist of wide-spread but powerful fortress buildings which are connected with ramparts, ditches or walls. With regard to the bastioned fortress construction, defensive lines were seldom used. One of the most interesting is the biggest European mountain fortress chain around Fenestrelle (Italy) which should hinder the old enemy France to invade Italy. After 22 years of construction and since 1750, a two-kilometre-long wall on the back of the mountain combines the three fortresses to a compact chain. The Alpine region with its valleys and passes was well suited for border fortifications, road blocks and customs facilities – so called Klausen (Austrian).


Territory fortresses evolved prior to the First World War and especially between both world wars in order to prevent the annexation of territories. Mussolini’s Italian Alp embankment with 350 infantry or artillery works in South Tyrol was ironically directed against the unified German Reich as of 1938. Other deep-staggered fortification systems of the 20th century are, for instance, the Stalin- and Molotov-Line (Soviet Union), the East and West Embankment (German Reich) or the Rupnik-Line (Yugoslavia). Quite famous as well is the Maginot Line in North France which was built for the protection against an attack of the German Reich. Its bunkers, ditches, tank turrets and the logistics net remain as monstrous as well as in their gigantism fairly fascinating memorials in the landscape and remind of Europe’s martial history.


A special memorial of the Cold War and a monument with fortified border installations is the "Iron Curtain" ranging from the Baltic Sea to the Adriatic Sea and can be experienced as an interesting landscape journey.