Zaqatala’s Russian fortress is a sprawling affair whose grey stone walls are sturdy but not really imposing. Built between 1830 and 1860, it originally guarded against attacks from the Dagestan-based guerrilla army of Shamil and later imprisoned sailors from the battleship Potëmkin, whose famous 1905 mutiny at Odessa foreshadowed the Russian revolution. The walls look more appealing from the outside.
The fortress was in military use until 2005 and several banal 20th-century buildings remain within. 'Opening times' actually refer to times when you can find someone to show you around, but the doors don't lock so you can stroll around at any time.