The Lopatinskiy Garden is in the south-western part of the historical center of the city, on the site of the Royal Bastion, which was the strongest fortification of the Smolensk fortress. Today it is a beautiful landscape recreational park of Smolensk. It has many historical monuments, the fortified wall, canals and amusement rides.
After most of the fortified walls were destroyed during the retreat of the troops of Napoleon, they weren’t restored. And by the beginning of the 70th of 19 century the walls fell into disrepair. Some of the remaining walls were restored but the Royal Bastion still was a very gloomy place as since the time of its construction it had casemates, which were then turned into a severe prison for political criminals.
A garden appeared on this place in 1873. The garden was created on initiative of the governor of Smolensk, Alexander Lopatin, and later was given his name. Initially, the garden was within the borders of the earthen fortifications of the bastion. A restaurant and a summer theatre are in the central part of the garden. The slopes of the earth banks are decorated by pavilions and flowerbeds. Also, the defensive moats were turned into canals and a pond. Now one can have a boat ride there. The earth banks were connected by a small bridge called the «bridge of sighs».
There are a lot of historical monuments in the Lopatinskiy Garden. In 1841 opposite the entrance to the Royal Bastion there was installed the monument «To the Defenders of Smolensk on August 4-5, 1812», which was then moved in the center of the Lopatinskiy Garden. The monument is a cast-iron column founded at the Alexandrovsky foundry in St. Petersburg. Its height is 26 meters and its weight is 30 tonnes. At the time of Nicholas I the similar columns were also installed on the Borodino Field and the Kulikovo Field.
On the top of the earth bank the monument to the Sophia Regiment was installed in 1912. The military unit repelled the attacks of the main French forces in 1812. The monument to General Anton Skalon is at the foot of the earth bank. His grandfather was a Frenchman but his parents moved to Russia and he himself was born in Biysk. In 1812 General Skalon took part in the Battle of Smolensk and was killed. After Smolensk was taken the Frenchmen buried him there by the order of Napoleon himself.
In our days the garden was significantly enlarged. The territory of the garden abuts on the south-western part of the fortified wall and in the east it nearly reaches the Blonye Garden. In the garden there appeared many amusement rides, walking alleys and many other places for recreation.