The Peter and Paul Fortress
The Museum of the History of St. Petersburg
7 Peter and Paul Fortress 197046 St. Petersburg
Open: 10am - 6pm
Closed: Wednesdays Tel. 238-4540, 238-4511
Nearest metro station: Gorkovskaya
The Peter and Paul Fortress is probably one of number one places to visit in St Petersburg as it is the place from which the city began and where the foundation stone was laid by the order of Peter I symbolizing the beginning of a new capital. Originally the fortress was named 'Sankt Pieter Burkh', and was renamed to its present Peter and Paul's Fortress when the Cathedral named the same way was constucted in its centre.
The Fortress has been an important strategic place during the communist revolution with the Petrograd Military and Revolutionary Committee main office here making it the place from where the command for the storming the Winter Palace was given.
Since 1924 a museum was opened in the fortress and in 1956 most of its main structures became the museum of the History of Leningrad. After the communist regime fell, the Peter and Paul Fortress was given an official status of a historical and cultural reserve.
Nowadays the fortress is one of the key sights of the city. Its 6 bastions were named in honour of Peter I and his closest followers. The architectural ensemble comprises the fortified walls, curtain-walls, bastions and ravelins. Later in 18th century the St.Peter's Gate, the Casting down of Simon Magus by the Apostle Peter by Conradt Ossner, and the Boat-House were added to the ensemble to make it a unique example of architecture and culture of its times.
Probably one of the most recognizable buildings in the Peter and Paul Fortress is the bell-tower of St.Peter and Paul's Cathedral which is crowned with a gilded spire and with its 122.5m height remains the tallest building in the city.
The centrepiece of the Cathedral is an iconostasis made in Baroque style with I.Zarudny and Trezzini's design. The Cathedral is famous for being the sepulchre of the royal family with all Russian emperors and their family members buried here (except for Peter III and Ioann VI).
The fortress itself is a unique city itself with numerous museums, small and large. Every day all citizens and guests of the city are reminded about it by a fire shot from the cannon on the Naryshkin bastion at noon sharp.