The Peter and Paul Fortress - History and Facts | History Hit

The Peter and Paul Fortress

okrug Kronverkskoe, Saint Petersburg, Russia

The Peter and Paul Fortress in St Petersburg is an 18th century fort turned political prison listed by UNESCO.

Image Credit: Godot13 / CC

About The Peter and Paul Fortress

The Peter and Paul Fortress (Petropavlovskaya Krepost) was the first building or structure built by Peter the Great in the city of St Petersburg.

History of the Peter and Paul Fortress

A giant fortification, the Peter and Paul Fortress was founded in May 1703 by Peter the Great in order to defend the city from Swedish attack as, at the time, Russia and Sweden were engaged in the Great Northern War. However, it never fulfilled this role, the Swedish having been defeated before managing to reach St Petersburg.

The citadel was rebuilt in stone following this victory, and ended up serving as a garrison and prison for the most high-ranking prisoners, including Prince Peter Kropotkin, Tsarevich Alexei Petrovich, Dosteovsky, Trotsky and Gorky.

In fact, the most military action the Peter and Paul Fortress saw occurred during the October Revolution of 1917, when it was taken by the Bolsheviks. In 1924, it was converted into a museum. During the Second World War, the fortress suffered heavy damage from Luftwaffe bombs, but has been restored since.

Within the Peter and Paul Fortress stands the Peter and Paul Cathedral, where Peter the Great and other Russian leaders are buried. The site also contains several small museums and exhibits and also features as one of our top ten Russian tourist attractions.

Peter and Paul Fortress today

The fortress is a must for any history fans: it’s one of St Petersburg’s key sites, and encapsulates some of the key moments in the city’s somewhat turbulent history. Even those less interested in history will enjoy the panoramas from the fortress walls or soaking up some sun on the sandy beach below. You can stroll into the fortress complex for free, but you’ll need to buy tickets for individual attractions within it, including SS Peter and Paul Cathedral and the former prison of Trubetskoy Bastion. Closed on Wednesdays, and hours vary seasonally.

Getting to the Peter and Paul Fortress

The Peter and Paul Fortress is just across the River Neva from the main body of the city, on Zayachy Island. Access is via Ioannovsky and Kornwerk Bridges: the nearest metro stop is Gor’kovskaya (line 2) or Sportivnaya (line 5) although it’s only a 2km walk from the Hermitage. Tram routes 6 and 40 also stop close by.

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