The Peter & Paul Fortress, is the original citadel of St. Petersburg, Russia. It was founded in 1703, by Peter the Great and is the oldest building in the city.
The building was founded in 1703, on the small Hare Island by the north bank of the Neva River. The origins of the building, stems from a war Peter was fighting with Sweden. He wanted to protect his capital from a feared Swedish counter attack. The building however was never needed, Peter defeated the Swedes before the structure could be completed. Around 1720, the building served as a base for the city’s garrison and was also used as a prison for high ranking political prisoners. One of the first inmates was Peter the Greats own son, Alexey. It is said, that the torture to death of Alexey, was overseen by Peter himself. It continued to be used as a prison up until the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 with other famous prisoners including, Dostoevsky, Gorky, Trotsky, Josip Broz (Tito) and Lenin’s older brother Alexandr.
During the revolution in 1917 it was attacked by mutinous soldiers and the fortresses 8,000 men declared for the Bolsheviks. The capture of the Winter Palace in October of 1917, saw captured ministers as well as Tsarist officials imprisoned in the fortress. It is noted that between 1918-21, 112 people were executed inside the walls of the building, including four Grand Dukes.
By 1931, the building was turned into a museum, which it continues to be today. WWII saw the building damaged by German artillery, whilst they were laying siege to the city. Today however, it has been fully, and faithfully, restored in keeping with its grand appearance.
The Peter & Paul Cathedral
Although plain on the outside, the building is radically different from other Orthodox churches. The cathedral is the burial place of Russian Tsars from Peter I to Alexander III, excluding Peter II and Ivan IV. The remains of Nicolas II, the last Russian Tsar, were interred there, along with his family, in the side chapel dedicated to St. Catherine in 1998, the 80thanniversary of their deaths.
Built at the turn of the century between 1896-1908, this wonderful neo-Baroque was constructed to remove some of the non-reigning Romanovs from the cathedral.
St. Petersburg Mint
Founded by Peter the Great in 1724, it is one of the oldest industrial enterprises in the city.
According to legend, this is where Peter the Great, supervised the torture to death of his son.