St.Peter and St.Paul's Fortress, Saint Petersburg
The Peter and Paul Cathedral, located inside the fortress, is the burial place of the tsars and the tallest historical building (122 m/400 ft) in the city. The headquarters of Saint Petersburg’s municipal government are located in the Mariinsky Palace, which was built in 1844 on Saint Isaac's Square in the Admiralty district for Emperor Nicholas I’s daughter Maria. Also on Saint Isaac’s Square is the Cathedral of Saint Isaac, which was built between 1768 and 1858. Far to the east of the Admiralty district is the Smolny Institute, founded by Catherine the Great in the 1700s to serve as a boarding school for upper-class girls. The current building—built to replace the original structure in the early 1800s—housed the first Soviet government from the time it took power in October (or November, in the Western, or New Style, calendar) 1917 until March 1918.
If you are interested in seeing the tombs of the Russian tsars, the Peter and Paul Fortress is the place to visit. It is the city’s historical center, located on a small island within walking distance from Gorkovskaya metro station.
Inside, it looks much more spectacular compared to its rather plain outside appearance. The marble tombs of the Tsars and members of the royal family are all alike. Nicholas and Alexandra, the last Russian emperors, are in a small chapel right of the entrance (their remains were buried in the same grave with their children’s remains). Peter the Great and Catherine the Great are at the opposite side of the cathedral, right of the iconostasis.
The whole fortress is a museum complex with quite a few different museums housed in its different structures, of which Sts Peter & Paul’s Cathedral is definitely the most important one. You can get to the fortress by either one of the two bridges connecting it to the mainland, and tickets can be booked in the booking office inside the small yellow and white structure in the cathedral square.
The 18th-century gilded wood carved iconostasis is the most impressive part of the cathedral. Make sure you bring your camera to photograph it (picture-taking is free). Generally, you do not need longer than 15 or 20 minutes to see the inside
Built by request of Peter the Great, back in the early 1700’s, the Peter & Paul Fortress is located on a small island in the Neva River delta. It was built here to help protect the city from invasion from the Swedes, though never used for this purpose in the end (as the Swedes were defeated before it was finished!) Its main use until 1917 was as a prison.
There is a lot to see on the small island. The main attraction is the impressive Peter & Paul Cathedral, whose golden needle-like spire is the tallest building in the city.
There is an interesting statue of Peter the Great, with strangely proportioned hands and head.
You can visit the Engineers House, the Commandants House, the Senior Officers’ Barracks and more. There is a cannon fired at noon each day from Naryshkin Bastion.
We really enjoyed a walk along the top of the fortress walls, where we had a fabulous view across the city and river. Here there was also an exhibition of fabulous photos taken around St Petersburg.
Entry to the grounds is free. Attractions each have separate entry fees.
Open Thu – Tue 10am-6pm (4pm Tue)
The construction of the Peter and Paul Fortress on 27. May 1703 marks the birthday of St. Petersburg.
It is the city's oldest structure and was built by Peter the Great to protect the area from possible attacks. Instead of being used as a defensive fortress it finally became a prison for political enemies of the Tsars and the Soviets.
The Peter and Paul Fortress is situated on a small island in the Neva Delta (Metro: Gorkovskaya).
This fortress, central to which is the golden St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral, was the very first structure built in St. Petersburg. Orginally, it was built as a means of protecting the city's citizens, but it is most famously known as a prison--a prison once one entered, one never emerged from. Some of its most famous residents were Gorky and Dostoevsky. The cathedral is the final burial place of the Russian Emperors (not to be confused with the czars who are buried in Moscow). The remains of Nicolas II and his family, who were killed by the Bolsheviks, were laid to rest here in 1998.
This photo was taken whilst on a evening cruise along the Neva River and canals. A good method of obtaining an uninterupted view of many of the important buildings, palaces a historical points of St Petersburg.
During a city highlight tour, I was brought to the Peter and Paul Fortress to go into the cathedral and visit the cathedral were ALL the emperors were entombed, including Peter the Great himself who chose a spot close to the altar on the far right side if you're facing altar(with a small bust of him). But if time allows, I suggest you walk to the fortress yourself. If coming from Nevsky prospect, just go towards the Moyki River and walk along it's banks to the direction of the Neva river...just follow the river. This would take maybe about 45minutes and over an hour because you will be stopping to take pictures along the bank...when you reach the big Trinity bridge, go on it and that will lead you to the fortress. We drove past that big bridge and I wanted to walk on it and it was a great walk. At the Fortress, get a ticket (100 rubles or 4 USD) to go up onto the walks at the periphery - these walks are well above ground and give a stunning view of the Neva River and you can see the churches, the Hermitage and other buildings of course the powerful fountain on the river itself. People sunbathe and swim but I do not advise this because water pollution has been a problem here from what I hear. And there is a small sandy beach at the side of the fortress. I also video-ed a helicopter landing on a boat to release its passengers --- you hold your breath and wonder if it is going to land safely and on-target...
Lots of the visitors of the city pay a visit to St.Peter and St.Paul's Cathedral located on the territory of St.Peter and St.Paul's Fortress.
St.Peter and St.Paul's Cathedral was built in the first half of the 18th century by the Italian architect Domenico Trezzini.
The cathedral is famous for the huge golden spire of the belfry with the globe and the angel weather vane on its top.
All in all the entire cathedral is about 122 meters high.
It was the tallest building in the city before the TV tower was erected.
Almost all the Russian emperors beginning with Peter the Great are buried in this cathedral. The place where Peter I lies buried, to the right of the cathedral’s southern entrance, was chosen by the emperor himself.
The gravestones of Alexander II the Martyr and his wife are especially remarkable for these sarcophagi were carved from whole slabs: the first from Altai jasper and the second one from Urals rhodonite.
This is one of the crowning jewels of St. Petersburg history. It is also the resting place of the remains of the last tsar and his family. As with most of the restoration work of Russia and St. Petersburg, words fail at the attempt to discribe it. The photo I am using is what I consider my "masterpiece" of photo documentation of my trip, paling even my opening shot of the Cathedral of the Resurrection taken against the evening sky. I was here in winter, the dedicated tourists you see are Russians! When you go to visit as a tourist and you find yourself competeing not with the madding hoard of "fair weather" travelers but with natives seeking to understand their own historical roots, you know you are visiting a site very "worthy" in the minds of the people. So it was here, they willing shared the space, but they were not there to accomadate my interest but to satisfy their own.
Just amazing "plot of land" on the outskirts of a down town. During summer time or time when sun is actively present you can see a lot of people in their swimming suits getting some tan around the fortress wall. During winter you can see people who are swimming in icy water of the Neva river... Of course, you might see much more out there if you also are interested in the sights seeing. The Fortress was founded by Peter the Great in 1703. The one can visit the old fortifications; Peter and Paul Cathedral, where the founder and other Russian Emperors are buried; the cells of the bastion ...
I often think about our visiting St.Peter and St.Paul's Fortress.
St.Peter and St.Paul’s Fortress stands on Zayachiy Ostrov (“Hare Island”).
Most of the visitors enter the fortress through St.Peter’s Gate. The gate is a work of art built by Domenico Tezzini in 1717-1718. It’s the only historical and architectural monument that has remained almost unchanged inside the fortress.
Until 1740 it was the main entrance to the fortress.
The gate has a unique wooden bas-relief created by Niccolo Pinean. The bas-relief depicts armor of the God of Sabaoth in the clouds.
There are other allegorical images glorifying the might of the Russian Empire.
You can see a square wooden bas-relief made by sculptor Konrad Osner in 1708. It depicts a pagan priest prostrated by Apostle St.Peter. This allegorical bas-relief expressed the omnipotence of the Czar Peter I and the people’s belief in the inevitable defeat of the Swedish King Charles XII.
Below the bas-relief you can see a lead effigy of a two-headed eagle, the coat-of-arms of the Russian Empire, that guards the archway of the gate.
Statues of ancient Roman goddesses stand in the niches of the archway: on the left is Minerva, the patroness of crafts and arts and on the right – Bellona, the goddess of war. These statues glorified the Czar as a wise military leader.
I couldn't help admiring the gate and used to stand in front of it and ponder.
This familiar site you can see on my photo is site we saw when we arrive and last place we saw upon departure to Russian capital. Somehow, the island and his famous fortress is not be part our organized tour guide. Our tour guide was tell us many story and facts about this place. We simply could not miss it. When we arrive on island, everything (except the island itself) was close. During white nights, you must be aware of time. Nevertheless, it was wonderful experience walking inside fortress. We take lots of photos, chitchat with locals and other lost tourists (or simple budget travels). Even is wort of every single dime, it is very expensive country.
So, we walking around, reading the touristic information, try to remember what we heard that day from our tourist guide. Take pictures and walking, and all that again.
Some lessons from history:
On May 12th 1703, during the Great Northern War, Peter the Great captured Nyenskans, and set to replacing that fortress. On May 27th 1703, closer to the estuary (5 km/3 miles inland from the gulf), he build the Peter and Paul Fortress, which became the first stone building of the new city.
The highlight of our walking tour on Hare island is chilling on bench on Neve river and famous Neva gate (Russian: невскiя ворота) from 1787, in one period through them prisoners were taken to their execution or to Schussleburg fortress.
The main entrance is the Ioanovskie Vorota (John Gate), the only part of the fortress in its original condition from 1717-18. There are statues of Mars and Venus in niches nearby. In the fortress is the Petropavlovski Sobor (Cathedral of Sts Peter and Paul) built in Dutch style from 1712 to 1721 by Trezzini, and reconstructed by Rastrelli and Chevakinski in 1750. The interior contains many important artistic works. Here are buried all the Tsars from Peter I on, except Peter II and Nicholas II. There are other interesting buildings inside the fortress, including the state mint.
While St. Petersburg in Spring and summer are beautiful, winter adds a luster to this city like none other I have ever seen. The Peter-Paul Fortress in mid December with the spire of the St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral piercing the "winter blue" sky.
In the middle of December those energetic Russians where hard at work on their beloved historic "icons" EVERYWHERE!
Here in the fortress, even if you did not see them, the sound of hammers and saws alerted you that they did not see winter as a reason to delay the work at hand.