Peter and Paul Fortress - Major Historical Attraction

Peter and Paul Fortress played an important role in the history of Russia and is located in St Petersburg. The walls of the Peter and Paul Fortress is home to the Peter and Paul Cathedral, which stands in the middle of the fortress. It is an impressive cathedral that is the highest building in St Petersburg, at 404 meters in height. The gilded spire has a beautiful golden angel on top, which holds a gold cross. It is also the first Cathedral to be built in St Petersburg, made of stone and was constructed between 1712 and 1733. It was also the resting place of all the Russian Emperors and Empresses, including Peter the Great and Alexander III.

The land along the Neva River was re-claimed by Peter the Great in 1703, and immediately started on the construction of the fortress, as he was anticipating an attack from the Swedish navy and armies. The fortress was to protect the land from these attacks. Peter the Great founded the Peter and Paul Fortress on 27 May 1703 (or according to the old calendar, 16 May 1703) in the Neva Delta, a date that would become St Petersburg’s birthday. Peter the Great and his troops defeated the Swedish long before the completion of the fortress and the fortress therefore, from 1721 onwards, became the St Petersburg garrison and was a notoriously known high security prison. Famous names were housed in the fortress prison, such as Trostsky, Dostoyevsky, Lenin’s older brother, Alexander, Gorkiy and even Peter the Greats son, the rebellious Alexei. Parts of the prison are still open to public viewing.

The fortifications of the Peter and Paul Fortress consist of two walls, namely the outer escarp wall and the inner wall. The walls reached a thickness of twenty meters in certain places and the height of the walls are twelve meters. Two tiers of vaulted casemates, one built on top of the other, are between the outer and inners walls. These casemates were used to store artillery, used as barracks for the fortress soldiers and some had artillery pieces installed into them.

The Peter and Paul Fortress in St Petersburg is a very popular attraction and justifiably so. The construction and architecture is a feat in itself. The Fortress is also home to the City History Museum and the Mint. It is one of two places in the entire Russia, where you can find minted coins.


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