Notes on the Peter and Paul Fortress

The Peter and Paul Fortress (Петропавловская крепость) in St. Petersburg, was established by Peter the Great on 16/27 May 1703 (This date is considered by many to be the founding of St. Petersburg.) on a small island on the Neva River.  The fort was intended to protect the area from possible attack by the Swedish army and navy--No ships could enter the Neva River without passing first by the fortress--but the fort was never really needed.  The fort was completed with six bastions in earth and timber within a year; it was rebuilt with stone between 1706 and 1740.

In the middle of the fortress stands the Peter and Paul Cathedral (Петропавловский собор), built between 1712 and 1733.  On top of the spire is a golden angel holding a cross.  This "weather vane" is one of the most prominent symbols of St Petersburg (over 120 m. tall).  Other structures in the fortress include the Mint building (still active), the City Museum and the Trubetskoi Bastion, built in the 1870s, for political prisoners.  The Fortress always served as a prison for political prisoners, including Peter the Great's son Aleksei who died there under "mysterious" circumstances.

Cathedral Spire
Bridge to the Peter Paul Fortress
Neva Gate St> peter's gate
Neva Gate and St. Peter's Gate (1717-1718), two of the three entrances to the fortress.
The Mint, still in use.
View across the river from the Peter Paul Fortress

These websites all have great images and further information about the Peter-Paul Fortress.

Beach in Summer
Summer on the beach at the Peter-Paul Fortress.
Beach in Winter
Winter on the beach at the Peter-Paul Fortress.
cathedral Interior

This is the interior of the Peter and Paul Cathedral in the Peter and Paul Fortress, the burial place of most of the Romanov tsars.  So you might wonder, where exactly were the Russian rulers all buried?


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