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See one of the city’s most famous landmarks, the place where the city of Saint Petersburg was born. Marvel at the Peter and Paul Cathedral and visit a number of museums located in the fortress.

  • Region in Russia: Saint Petersburg
  • Topic: City Tour, Sightseeing
  • Best Season: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter
  • Family & Kids: Yes

The Peter and Paul Fortress today

Today, the architectural and cultural highlight of Saint Petersburg, the Peter and Paul Fortress, is under the auspices of the St. Petersburg Museum of History with a number of permanent and temporary exhibitions. Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral is a central tourist attraction in the fortress, although there are plenty within the walls to keep tourists and citizens occupied. One of the most spectacular traditions of Saint Petersburg happens here: every day at noon the cannon fires from the Naryshkin Bastion. In the summer, the beach in front of the fortress hosts various events, including Petrojazz annual festival.
The Peter and Paul Fortress includes several buildings: Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral; numerous bastions and gates with Petrovskiy Curtain Wall and Gate worth the most attention; Commandant’s House that now is hosts the main collection of the Museum of the History of Saint Petersburg; The Boathouse where a small sailboat of Peter the Great is presented to visitors; Trubetskoy Bastion once serving as a prison; The Mint that is working till today; Engineering house, now a part of exhibition space and a number of other buildings.

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The Peter and Paul Fortress – the birth place of Saint Petersburg

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The city of Saint Petersburg was born on May 16, 1703, the date when the first stone of the Peter and Paul Fortress was laid. Saint Petersburg was founded by Peter the Great, one of the most respected rulers of the country, during the Great Northern War (1700-1721) with Sweden. That is on the recently reconquered lands that Peter decided to found his new capital at the mouth of the Neva River, close to the Gulf of Finland. Therefore, the first priority was to ensure that the new city was properly defended. The fortress was laid on Zayachy Ostov or “Hare Island”, was planned by Peter the Great himself and the French-born engineer Joseph Gaspar Lambert de Guerin. The fortress was named the Peter and Paul Fortress.
Today the tourist highlight, the fortress never served as a defensive structure. It has a history of a military base, a home of government, the burial place of the Russian Royal family and a jail where some of the most prominent political prisoners were kept. Make sure to visit this famous tourist attraction, number one destination for any city tour in Saint Petersburg.

Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral – the oldest church in the city

The Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, one of the main tourist attractions, is the oldest church in the city, and after the TV tower the second tallest building in Saint Petersburg. The Cathedral is closely connected with the city of Peter the Great and with the Romanov dynasty on the whole as there are the graves of almost all the emperors of Russia since Peter the Great.
Only one month after the foundation of Saint Petersburg, the first wooden church was built, and 8 years later, in 1712 the first stone of the current building of SS Peter and Paul Cathedral was laid. The same as its city, the Cathedral was different from the Orthodox tradition. Built in an early baroque style in rectangular shape, with a bell tower and landmark needle, the cathedral reminds the West-European protestant church. No wonder, Peter the Great is famous for his European thinking.
Today’s Saint Petersburg highlight, the cathedral shows the city the needle topped off by the figure of a flying angel bearing a cross. The clock of the bell tower was purchased in Holland for quite a large sum. The iconostasis also differs from traditions of Orthodox paintings, and is created more in the spirit of Catholicism.
Make sure to visit Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral – a beautiful church so different from the traditional Russian style – a city highlight of the old times and of nowadays.

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The Peter and Paul Fortress – the city highlight

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The Peter and Paul Cathedral – Location Map & Contact Information

 Location Address:

Zayachy (Hare) Island

197046 Saint Petersburg, Russia

How to get there – ARRIVAL INFORMATION

Metro Stations: Gorkovskaya, Sportivnaya

Open: The grounds of the fortress are open from 6 am till 10 pm. All exhibitions are open daily, except Wednesdays, from 10 am till 6 pm and on Tuesday till 5 pm.

Other attractions and sightseeing nearby

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