Peter and Paul Fortress in Sankt Petersburg

The Peter and Paul Fortress

The Peter and Paul Fortress ©И. Максим/Flick

The construction of the Peter and Paul Fortress in Sankt Petersburg  in the year 1703 coincides with the foundation of the city.

The fortress has become one of the main attractions of the city because of its importance and the numerous historical buildings. For example in the middle of the fort lies the Cathedral, that has been the symbol of the city for a long time and that houses the tomb of Peter the Great and other kings of Russia.

We would like to make a brief presentation of the fortress and the most important buildings that should be visited.

The transformation of the fortress

When Peter the Great conquered these territories built a fort to protect the future capital of any army or Swedish navy attacks. He has chosen the small island of Zayachy to raise the fortress with its six bastions from earth and timber. The work was finished in less than a year. From 1706 until 1740, the fort was rebuilt from stone and about 30 years later was completely covered in granite. The Peter and Paul Fortress has not undergone any war since the Russians defeated the Swedes before finishing the construction.

The Peter and Paul Fortress

The Peter and Paul Fortress©И. Максим/Flick

It was used as a garrison and then prison for political prisoners, also having a torture chamber. Since 1721 it hosted a large number of famous people as Peter the Great and his son, Alexei, Maxim Gorky, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leon Trotsky or Alexander Lenin, the brother of Vladimir Lenin.

The fortress was attacked during the revolution in February 1917 and later that year fell to the Bolsheviks. By 1924 much of the fortress had already been transformed into a museum and a large part of it was badly damaged during the Second World War. After the war it was fully restored.

Entering the fortress

To enter the fortress, visitors must pass over the bridge of St John, which leads to the Gate of St John or Gate of Ivan. Then follows a second, more ornate gate, the Gate of  St. Peter. The gate is like triumphal arch and it is decorated with the imperial blazon, a crowned double-headed eagle. After passing the gate tourists enter the fortress and see the house of engineers in the left and the arsenal building of the artillery in the right.

Gate of the fortress

Gate of the fortress ©inyucho/Flick

The Peter and Paul Cathedral

In the center of the fortress is Peter and Paul Cathedral with its spiral tower of 122 meters high and with a golden angel on top. The cathedral is one of the most important tourist attractions in the city. The construction of the church began in 1712 and was completed 12 years later in 1724.

It was struck by lightning and was badly damaged in the fire that broke out in the 18th century. It was slightly modified and rebuilt in 1776.
The beautiful cathedral inside the Peter and Paul Fortress deserved as a resting place fro the kings and queens of Russia from Peter the Great to Alexander III.

The Peter and Paul Cathedral

The Peter and Paul Cathedral ©Alexxx1979, Nagyman/Flick

Other important buildings

Other Buildings in the fortress that deserve to be mentioned include the Grand Ducal Burial Vault laying between the cathedral and the Commander Home is where the officer lived that lead the fortress. There is also a City Museum, where visitors can learn interesting things about the history of St. Petersburg.

Grand Ducal Burial Vault

Grand Ducal Burial Vault ©Alexxx1979/Flick

The beaches of the fortress

The beaches located right at the base of the walls of the fortress are very popular among locals and are quite crowded in summer. Even in winter when the sun is on the sky there are plenty who come to the beach and even some brave nicknamed walruses, which break the ice and have a bath in the cold water.

Beach of the fortress

Beach of the fortress ©Anosmia/Flick

Information about visiting the Peter and Paul Fortress

The Fortress can be found at the following address: Petropavlovskaya Krepost 3, Petrograd, Saint Petersburg, Russia.  The entrance into the fortress is free and the ticket for all attractions is 250 rubles for adults and 150 rubles for students. The fortress is opened between 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM. Exhibitions are opened from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Thursday until Monday. Tuesday is open only between 11:00 AM and 5:00 PM.

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