Peter and Paul Fortress

The Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, located on small Hare Island, is the city's historic core. The history of St. Petersburg begins with the history of the fortress. Since 1700 Russia had been fighting the Northern War against Sweden. By 1703 the lands by the Neva River were conquered. To protect them from the attacks of the Swedes, it was necessary to find a lodgement here. The fortress was founded on Hare Island 16 (27) May 1703 by the joint plan of Peter I and French engineer Joseph-Gaspard Lambert de Guerin. This day is considered to be the day of the foundation of St. Petersburg. The fortress is stretching from west to east hexagon, at the corners of six bastions. The Peter's Gate on the east side, designed by Domenico Trezzini, remained since the time of Peter I. The Peter and Paul Cathedral, the burial place of Russian emperors and the monument of Petrine Baroque, was completed after the emperor's death in 1733. The weathervane as a golden angel with a cross, located on the cathedral's spire, is one of the main symbols of the city. 

There were buried members of the Romanov family: Emperors and Empresses, 26 grand dukes, and duchesses in the cathedral. In the chapel of St. Catherine in 1998 were buried the remains of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II and his family, executed by shooting in Yekaterinburg in 1918. On the opposite side of the cathedral, there is the Mint building, constructed in the time of Paul I by architect A. Porto. Coinage was moved to the fortress when Peter I like the most protected part of the city. Peter and Paul Fortress have never directly participated in hostilities. From the very beginning of its existence, it was used as the main political prison in Russia. One of the first prisoners of the fortress became Tsarevich Alexei. There were also kept in prison Decembrists and members of Petrashevsky Circle and the People’s Freedom in the Secret House of the Alekseevsky Ravelin. In 1872, there was a prison in the Trubetskoy bastion, where up to 1917 were kept about 1,500 political prisoners. Since 1924, the Peter and Paul Fortress has been a part of the Museum of the History of St. Petersburg.

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