Drone fans rejoice! Plague Fort, also known as Fort Alexander, is a naval fortress on an artificial island in the Gulf of Finland near St. Petersburg and Kronstadt. Between 1899-1917, it housed a research laboratory on plague and other bacterial diseases. By the end of the 19th century, the fort was primarily used for ammunition storage, as the development of rifled artillery rendered the fort facilities ineffective for defensive purposes. During the 1890s, in wake of the discovery of the plague pathogen by Alexandre Yersin, the Russian government formed a special Commission on the Prevention of Plague Disease to facilitate research in this specific area of bacteriology. In August 1899, research work took off at Plague Fort, mainly focused on the study of plague disease and preparation of plague serum and vaccine from the immunized horses. Read more for another aerial drone video and additional information.
The laboratory is reported to have worked also on the development of serums against cholera, tetanus, typhus, scarlatina, and a series of Staphylococcus and Streptococcus infections during its later years. Work was very hazardous, as there were three pneumonic and bubonic plague cases among the staff members in 1904 and 1907 resulting in two fatalities. Once the Communist takeover commenced in 1917, the laboratory in Fort Alexander ceased operations. Since 2011, just about anyone can take a boat tour out to the fort.