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.
Not many people know this but if you get a nice warm sunny day and fancy a bit of beach sunbathing there's a riverside beach just round the corner from the Neva gate at the Peter and Paul Fortress.
It's only a strip of sand between the fortress walls and the river but for those in the know it makes for a pleasant spot to grab some rays with great views across to the city.
Although it slopes gently into the river bathing isn't advised since the water is still quite heavily polluted and as for actually swimming - NOT RECOMMENDED!
When I was here they were setting up a music stage which I think was something to do with the forthcoming Children's Day and there was a tented village being put together with various activity stalls. There's also an interesting-looking seafood restaurant next to it which I haven't tried yet - hopefully it serves sea fish and not river varieties.
These days you have to pay to get in but between 1718 and 1924 entry was free.
Following the end of the Swedish war the fortress's importance as a defensive stronghold waned and so its garrison was put to task as prison guards.
Its first inmate was the eldest son of Peter I, Tsarevich Alexis Petrovich. Father and son had been at loggerheads for most of the latter's adult life. In March 1718 Alexis, then aged 28, was accused of plotting against his father and sentenced to death for treason. He was imprisoned in the Peter and Paul Fortress where he was mysteriously killed before he'd had a chance to appeal the verdict.
The fortress became used as a political prison whose famous inmates included the writer Dostoevsky. In 1872 Trubetskoy Bastion Prison was constructed specifically for the purpose with its 69 cells designed to provide a regime which eliminated contact between the prisoners, to the extent that the walls were soundproofed.
In the years leading to the Bolshevik revolution several leading characters spent time here, including Maxim Gorky and Trotsky.
The prison was closed in 1924 and turned into a political museum. The present-day version is fascinatingly documented with testimonials from previous inmates, along with rare photographs and other records.
At the centre of the fortress is the magnificent St Peter and St Paul Cathedral. Work began on it in 1712 when St Petersburg was declared the Russian capital and it was completed in 1733. This was the city's first stone church and its golden spire, topped with an angelic weather-vane, is the highest structure in the city at 404 feet tall.
Unlike the onion-domed Orthodox churches this was designed in a European style with a nave and side aisles. Its interior is the most ostentatiously ornate in the country with gilded statuary and 18th century icons. As well as being a place of imperial worship it is the burial site of most of the Tsars and their families from Peter I to Nicolas II (the latter's remains, along with those of his family, having been re-interred here in 1998 after being moved from Ekaterinburg where they were shot by the Bolsheviks in 1917). The graves are marked with marble sarcophagi, topped with gold-plated crosses.
This is one of the buildings that you have to pay for entry (ticket details on the website below).
This is where it all started. Early in 1703, during the war with Sweden, Peter the Great had won an important battle, capturing the Swedish stronghold of Nienchanz on the River Neva. In order to secure the delta he decided to build a fortress on Zayachay Ostrov - Hare Island, which would have a commanding field of fire covering the whole river.
The founding of the fortress on May 27th (modern calendar) became the official birthday of St Petersburg, although it wasn't until 1712 that the city formally became the Russian capital.
The original fortress was a rudimentary earth and wood construction which underwent considerable rebuilding and strengthening during the ensuing years. Within the outer walls one of the first, and to this day most-impressive, permanent structures to be built was the Cathedral which was completed in 1733.
Although the fortress was put on alert several times it was never tested in battle and became used as a political prison.
The present-day site, enclosed by its imposing stone walls, is now a museum complex featuring the former prison, the St Petersburg Mint, and various other historically interesting buildings.
The Fortress as a whole is open to the public, free of charge, and only the individual museums and the bastion walkways have entry fees. Not only can you walk around inside but there is a footpath along the river outside the walls.
Access to the island on foot is by the Ioannovsky Bridge (to the Gorkovskaya Metro station) and the Kronwerk Bridge (to the Sportivnaya Metro). There is a boat dock at the Neva Gate and the Baltic Air helicopter tours fly from a landing pad next to the Golovkin Bastion.
One word of warning though - because it is considered a sacred site there is no consumption of alcohol allowed!
Website below has details of opening times and museum fees:
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.
This is the oldest building in St. Petersburg and is dated 1703. Its purpose was to stave off Swedes but it didn't see any action.
Until the beginning of the 20th century it was used as a prison. Dostoevsky 'enjoyed' some time here!!!
Wandering around the grounds is free but if you want to go into one of the attractions you have to pay. It is possible to get a ticket to cover all entries and I believe it is valid for more than 1 day.
Nevskaya Panorama, the cathedral, bell tower & Commandant House.
There is a very uninspiring cafe in the grounds.
The Lonely Planet guidebook raved about this place, as did a friend who visited a year earlier. For me, it didn't quite hit the spot and I did not spend the recommended 1/2 day here... t was full of tourists and tour groups and I just got annoyed!!! I was more drawn to the cathedral mosque just down the road from the fortress!!
Peter and Paul Fortress was founded by Peter the Great and was erected in just one year between 1703 and 1704 during the Great Northern War against Sweden. The fortress was never used to defend the city but it was used as a political prison under the Tsar. Inside the fortress is the main attraction for visitors the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul where Peter the Great was buried.
Llegamos en Metro a la isla , nos bajamos en la estación de Gorkovskayay y entramos en la Fortaleza de Pedro y Pablo por la puerta de San Pedro en la que se puede ver un escudo con el águila bicéfala de los Romanov , con el escudo que tiene a San Jorge y al dragón y un relieve en el que se ve como San Pedro arroja de las nubes en que está rodeado de demonios a Simón el Mago
Si sólo vas a pasear la entrada es gratis , si quieres conocer sus edificios hay una entrada combinada que los cubre todos menos las vistas sobre el Neva desde la muralla
La fortaleza está en la parte más ancha del río Neva , de forma exagonal , originalmente se iba a utilizar para defenderse de las invasiones suecas pero se utilizó como cárcel hasta 1917 .Dentro podemos visitar La casa de la moneda , la Catedral de San Pedro y San Pablo , donde están enterrados casi todos los zares Rusos así como muchos miembros de la familia real , la Casa del Comandante, las mazmorras , la playa de San Petersburgo , la estatua de Pedro el Grande , que realmente medía más de dos metros , pero que no tenía una cabeza tan pequeña
Desde la muralla hay unas vistas panorámicas impresionantes de San Petersburgo
Como anécdotas contaremos :
- La hora del Almirante . A mediodía se dispara un cañonazo desde el siglo XVIII , que es la hora en que se suponía que el Almirante tomaba su vodka antes de comer.
- La Cruz que está en la aguja de la Catedral a 122metros se inclinó y el Zar no conseguía a nadie que quisiera repararla a pesar de que ofreció conceder cualquier cosa que quisiera el que lo reparara. Al fin salió un voluntario que al terminar el trabajo le pidió al rey una copa que fuese llenada gratuitamente de vodka por los taberneros de San Petersburgo durante toda su vida . En una de las primeras borracheras le robaron el vaso , así que el Zar decidió marcarle a fuego en la cara el escudo real , de forma que le pudieran reconocer en todas las tabernas y le dieran una copa de Vodka
We arrived to the Gorkovskayay Metro station and walked to the Fortress of Peter and Paul by the gate of San Peter, where you can see a coat of arms with the double eagle of the Romanovs, with the shield that has St. George and the dragon and terrain in which is San Pedro throwing from a cloud and surrounded of demons to to Simon Magus
If you are only visiting the fortress the admission is free, but if you want to know their buildings there are a combined ticket that covers all the visits but the view over the Neva from the wall
The fortress that is in the widest part of the river Neva, of hexagonal form, was originally going to be use to defend off the Swedish invasions but it was used as a jail until 1917.
Inside you can visit the Russian Mint, the Cathedral of St. Peter and San Paul , where are buried almost all Russian tsars and many members of the royal family, the house of the Commander, dungeons, St. Petersburg beach, the statue of Peter the Great , who really was over two meters, but he had not a head so small
Since the wall are breathtaking panoramic views of St. Petersburg and the Neva river
We can tell some curiosities :
- The time of the Admiral. At noon a cannon is fired , since the eighteenth century, which is the time it was supposed that the Admiral takes his vodka before lunch.
- The Cross in the Cathedral the needle is 122 meters high and it was bent. The Tsar could not find anyone who wanted to repair it , even though he offered to grant whatever they would like to repair it. At last came a volunteer and after the work it was done he asked the king a free cup of vodka that would be filled daily by the innkeepers in St. Petersburg for life. In one of his first drunks , the cup was stolen, so the Tsar decided to mark with fire in his face the royal shield, so that he could be recognized in every tavern and they should give him a glass of Vodka
For some reason, the statue of Peter the Great is one of the most controversial monuments to be erected in St. Petersburg in the last 10 years. An American sculptor of Russian descent created the "alter ego" of Peter the Great in his statue, who apart from being a great reformer was also a cruel and ruthless man.
From the shine, I think people may rub the statue for good luck!
The Fortress was built on a small island in the Neva delta on May 27th,1703, so ever since then, 27th, May, 1703, is considered St.-Petersburg foundation day.
The work on the fortress proceeded very quickly because Peter the Great expected an attack of the Swedish Navy from the Gulf of Finland. The fort is large, occupying the whole of Zayatchy (Hare) island.
In 1718 the fortress became a state political prison when Peter's 28-year old rebellious son, Alexei, was imprisoned in the Trubetskoy Bastion and beaten to death there. Alexei was the first political prisoner to be tortured to death and buried in the fortress. In 1887 Lenin's brother was imprisoned here for the attempt to kill Czar Alexander III and was later executed.
Thus, the fort originally built to protect the city, in practice became a prison for Russians, so called Russian Bastille. Its status was only changed in 1918 when it became a city museum.
Parts of the former jail are now open to the public.
In the middle of the fortress stands the impressive Peter and Paul Cathedral, the burial place of all the Russian Emperors and Empresses from Peter the Great to Alexander III. The Cathedral was the first church in the city to be built of stone (between 1712-33)
Other buildings in the fortress include the City History Museum and the Mint, one of only two places in Russia where coins and medals are minted.
ADMISSION TO MUSEUM
All the museum's buildings are open Thursday to Monday, 11 am to 6 pm
Tuesday - 11 am to 5 pm. Ticket offices close one hour earlier.
The museum is closed on Wednesdays, but the grounds remain open.
A Museum ticket allows you to visit the Peter and Paul Cathedral (containing the tombs of Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, Nicholas II and other tzars) plus permanent and temporary exhibits located throughout the fortress grounds.
Tickets can be bought at the ticket office near the Ioannovsky Gate or at the Boat House near the cathedral.
From 6 pm to 7 pm, Thursday to Tuesday, admission to the Cathedral is free.
Our tour guide took us as far as Petrovskye Gate so we could have a look.
This gate was built between 1717 and 1718, and is a bit like a triumphal arch.
What is nice, is the large relief of the "Apostle Peter striking down Simon the Wise"
This was done to commemorate the Russian victory over Sweden in the Northern War.
The two-headed eagle, the Russian Coat of Arms, are immediately above the arch.