The Gunpowder Cellar was constructed in Azov in 1799. It is the only example of the fortress construction, belonging to the Empress Ekaterina times, in the South of Russia, the Cellar is considered the monument of military engineering architecture of the 18th century.
The Russian-Turkish war began in 1768. The Russian army, located by the Azov sea, reconstructed the town of Azov, destroyed after the Belgrade Peace declaration of 1739. The Azov fortress was reconstructed due to the plan by Empress Ekaterina’s powerful minister Grigory Orlov in 1769, according to the plan, the wooden Gunpowder Cellar was erected at the Saint Anna bastion. That was a rectangle building with the attached entrance tambour. Inside the Cellar were constructed plank beds for gunpowder storage, the gunpowder barrels mounted up to the ceiling.
The wooden Gunpowder Cellar remained for twenty years. The new red brick Gunpowder Cellar in the Saint Anna bastion was erected in 1799.
Inside the Cellar were constructed wooden shelves for gunpowder barrels storage. "There’s space for 3.668 poods of gunpowder there" = 60 tons.
In 19th – 20th century the Cellar was used for ice storage.
The large restoration works to renovate the Cellar were carried out in 1960th.
The Gunpowder Cellar displays antique armory of Peter the Great times, such as cannons and artillery mortars of the Azov campaigns. Later on, when the majority of the copper cannons from the arsenal were remelted, these cannons were preserved after the personal order of Peter the Great to commemorate the victory in the Azov campaign, and engraved on the trunks with the corresponding inscription.
The Gunpowder Cellar yard features the barrow model with the authentic Polovtsian stone sculptures. The authentic Russian cannon of the 18th century is presented in front of the Cellar entrance.
The Gunpowder Cellar displays the copy of Peter the Great’s death mask, made by Carlo Bartolomeo Rastrelli in 1725, memorial medals for the Azov fortress seizure and fleet establishing. “To the Wave and Lightning Conqueror!” says the inscription on one of the medals nearby the Turkish Azov fortress picture.