Alexander Rigelman was a military engineer in charge of the construction of the St. Demetrius of Rostov Fortress.
The design project for the fortress, to be built near Bogatyi Kolodez (“Plentiful Well”), was created in St. Petersburg by the Russian engineer Vedeneev. However, it was reviewed several times. The design project included two construction stages: temporary and permanent.
During the temporary stage, the fortress was built in 1761-1763 under the supervision of engineer-captain Alexander Rigelman. The permanent stage included erecting stone wallswith gun-slots on top of the earth mounds. However, that construction stage was never finished, because Russia firmly consolidated its southern frontiers and eliminated the possibility of military action in the vicinity of the fortress.
Alexander Ivanovich Rigelman was born in St. Petersburg in 1720 into the family of a German nobleman. He graduated from the gentry's military school with a military engineer’s degree. He started his career in the demarcation commission, which was responsible for establishing Russia’s new border with Turkey.
From 1760, A. Rigelman’s life was closely linked with the Lower Don area, where he was appointed the engineer responsible for constructing the fortress named after St. Demetrius of Rostov. Later, from 1763 to 1770, he served as commander of the fortress’s engineering squad.
From 1774 to 1782 he was the commandant of this fortress and the chief engineer responsible for erecting two other fortresses in pre-Azov area.
Alexander Rigelman is known not only as a military engineer, but also as the author of such historical chronicles as “History, or Narration about the Don Cossacks” and “The Account and Geographic Description of St. Demetrius of Rostov Fortress”. This was the first book about Rostov in history.
In 1782, having received the IV-degree Order of St. George and the rank of engineer-major-general, Alexander Ivanovich Rigelman retired from St. Demetrius of Rostov Fortress.