St.Peter and St.Paul's Fortress, Saint Petersburg
The Peter and Paul Fortress is the original citadel of St. Petersburg, Russia, designed by Domenico Trezzini and founded in 1703. The fortress contains a number of buildings including the Peter and Paul Cathedral, where all Russian tsars from Peter I to Alexander III are interred; the remains of the Imperial martyrs, Nicholas II and his family and entourage, were also interred there, in the side St.Catherine's Chapel, on the 80th anniversary of their deaths, July 17, 1998. Towards the end of 2006, the remains of Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, mother of the murdered Nicholas II, who died in 1928 were brought from Roskilde Cathedral outside Copenhagen, Denmark to finally rest next to her husband, Alexander III. The newer Grand Ducal Mausoleum is connected to the cathedral by a corridor. The latest burial there was of Nicholas II's first cousin once removed, Grand Duke Vladimir Cyrilovich, son of Grand Duke Cyril Vladimirovitch. Other structures inside the fortress include the still functioning Mint building, the Trubetskoy bastion and the City Museum.
Nevskaya Panorama is an elevated promenade that was opened in 2000. It allows visitors to walk from the southeastern corner of the fortress to the Naryshkin Bastion, where a cannon is fired at noon every day.
You do not need to go here to get good views across the Neva River, since you can walk on the beach between the fortress walls and the river for free; however, what makes the reasonable fee (60 roubles per person, if I remember correctly) worth it are the views inside the fortress.
The Nevskaya Panorama is accessible from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Thanks to its location along the Neva River, the Peter and Paul Fortress also has its own... beach! The only thing more surprising was the fact that the day of our visit, there was a sand castle competition.
We also learnt that the beach is not only popular in summer: come winter time, some locals cut holes through the ice and swim in them. Whatever the season, there are great views to be had across the Neva River, especially if you don't feel like paying the entrance fee to the Nevskaya Panorama (access to the higher level) inside the fortress.
To reach the beach, simply walk through the Nevsky Gate (Nevskaya Vorota) on the south side of the fortress wall.
Erected in 1991, Mikhail Shemyakin's statue of Peter the Great is one of the newest, and most popular, attractions inside the Peter and Paul Fortress. On sunny, summer days, both Russians and foreigners line up for the chance to get their photo taken with the statue.
There are many stories about the statue, but the most common one is that by altering the proportions of Peter the Great's head and hands, Shemyakin wanted to show the double-edged personality of the city's founder: on the one hand, he was a great reformer; on the other, he was ruthless and cruel.
The undeniable highlight of the Peter and Paul Fortress is the cathedral at its centre. Built from 1712 to 1733 by Domenico Trezzini, it has a sumptuous baroque interior. It is the final resting place of all the Russian tsars from Peter the Great onward, except Peter II (Moscow Kremlin) and Ivan VI (Shlisselburg).
From the outside, the cathedral can easily be found thanks to its 122-m spire, topped with a cross and an angel, which makes it the architectural building in Saint-Petersburg (surpassed only by a television tower built in the 1960s).
The cathedral is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays to Mondays and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays. You must purchase a ticket to go inside. This ticket gives you access to the other fortress buildings as well.
Placed on the southern part of the fortress and as the name tells directly facing Neva is the sober but imposing Nevski Gate. It was added later to the fortress - built between 1784-1787, when the fortress was already mainly used as a political prison.
Later, the gate was called Death Gate, as its main use was to embark the prisoners for transport to the Schlusselburg fortress. Majority never got from there alive.
In the interior of the gate, you will see the markings of different floods that plagued the city. The main cause were always the winds from the baltic, that pushed the waves of the sea upwards the Neva estuary and raised its levels.
Built by Domenico Trezzini upon orders by Peter the Great with the express intent to distinguish it from the traditional russian style.
The result is a baroque cathedral with a slender 122m spire that dominates the skyline of the city. And the interior is done in a magnificent baroque style, but while dominated by gold, not at all heavy. And except for the iconostasis, it ressembles in spirit any baroque cathedral in Austria or Bavaria, a clear difference with classical orthodox cathedrals.
In the inside, you will find also the tombs of russian emperors, starting with Peter the Great. (With the exception of Peter II and Ivan VI).
It is on this island that on 16 may 1703 Peter the Great started the construction of St Petersburg - at least of the fortress.
While all the grounds are free, you need a ticket for the 7 museums situated inside, including the highlight - the cathedral of St Peter and St Paul with its impressive spire and Romanov imperial family tombs.
To get there, I recommend you to go on foot from the Winter Palace, pass by Strelka and enter the island by the Kronwerk bridge, then pass along Neva on the sandy beach and enter the fortress by the Nevsky Gate. (OK, this gate was mainly used to embark prisoners slated for exile or execution, but you will have time to appreciate the fortress and some great sights of Winter palace along the way...)
The most compelling reason to visit the Peter and Paul Fortress is to visit the Cathedral, which houses the tombs of most modern Russian royals, starting with Peter the Great himself. The remains of the family of Nickolas II's family, including Anastasia, have recently been moved to the cathedral, although they weren't open to the public while we were there.
Besides the Cathedral, I found the Fortress to be something of a waste of time. We bought tickets to see everything, and so we did, but regretted it afterwards. My advice-- buy a ticket to the Cathedral, walk around a bit outside and spend the rest of your day elsewhere in the city.
The fortress was founded on the Neva River on May 27, 1703 by Peter the Great and thus St. Petersburg was born.
It contains the Peter and Paul Cathedral with a spire 404 feet in the air (tallest building, at least until Gazprom), numerous exhibits and museums.
There are small entrance fees to many exhibits and though the fortress is open everyday, the exhibit buildings are closed on Tuesdays.
This is the old citadel of the city of Saint Petersburg and was founded by Peter the Great in 1703\, although the stone structures were not completed until many years later. Situated on an island in the River Neva, it was designed by Domenico Trezzini. It includes the prominent landmark Peter and Paul Cathedral and its style is very representative of the early Italian-influenced architecture of the city.
On the dark dim days of midwinter there is a mystical atmosphere inteh familiar sights of St. Petersburg. Don't be afraid to get ut and walk. Dress in warm layers of course and schedule a cup of coffee to keep warm!
The day to celebrate the victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War, WWII.
Decorations everywhere, a parade down Nevsky Propect which is closed to cars and a festival of military bands and music on Palace Square. You can follow the parade down NEvksy to the Palace Square. Other bands preform along the way and in other locations.
The Peter and Paul Fortress is very important - especially for people from the italian-speaking area of switzerland, since its architect (Trezzini) had come from this area. Peter the Great commissioned it in 1703 and wanted it built along the Neva River, so as to protect the city from attack by the Sweden.
Once inside the fortress walls you can visit the Peter and Paul Cathedral (where Russian czars and emperors are buried), the St. Petersburg City History Museum, the Commandant's House and Trubetskoy Bastion Prison, where even Dpstojevskj was at one time kept captive. The cathedral is something else... inside it's all gilded and glittering.
this massive brick building was built in 1860 as part of the fortifications of the peter and paul fortress. it now houses the artillery museum which has on display arms and artillery from medieval times to WWII. it also has an interesting collection of military vehicles and tanks from WWII.