The Peter and Paul fortress.
The Peter and Paul Fortress is the birthplace place of St. Petersburg. It was founded on May 27, 1703 by Tsar Peter I. The fortress was the first construction of the city, and its foundation date was accepted as the birthday of St. Petersburg.
Peter and Paul Fortress is one of the main attractions of St. Petersburg. The fortress is located on a small island with a very unusual name - Hare Island. Original Finnish name of the island was "Jänis-saari" which means “Hare (Rabbit) Island” in English. Since old times, the territory of modern St. Petersburg was inhabited by Finnish tribes - there are a great number of Finnish names given in the region. In 11th century the territory of the Leningrad region was joined to the state of Novgorod. In 17th century the Swedish Kingdom had occupied this land, but Peter the Great had won it back in the beginning of 18th century.
During the war with Sweden (1700-1721) the fortress itself was constructed, and it was named after apostles Peter and Paul. The history of St. Petersburg began on May 27 in 1703.
The Peter and Paul Fortress consists of 6 bastions connected by plain curtains. All constructions were wooden, but in the late 18th century the fortress was rebuilt out of stone. Nevertheless the fortress was never used as a military object, from its foundation until 1918 (1921 by other sources) the fortress was used as a political prison.
“The Russian Bastille" was a nickname given to Peter and Paul Fortress. Ironically, the main Imperial Residence - The Winter Palace - is situated in front of the fortress on the opposite bank of the NevaRiver. Truly Russia is a country of contrasts.
Visiting the Peter and Paul Fortress is an important part of every tour of St. Petersburg. There are several interesting places. The Peter and Paul Cathedral is one of the main architectural dominants of St. Petersburg. A 122.5 m. (401.90 ft.) tall spire of the cathedral has a guardian angel on its top, and it serves as a one of the official symbols of St. Petersburg. The Peter and Paul Cathedral was also used as the final resting place for members of the Imperial family. Graves of the Russian monarchs, starting with Peter the Great and finishing with Nicolas II, are located inside of the cathedral.
The firing of a cannon is traditionally heard at noon; it’s also connected with the Fortress. Every day you can hear the shot from the Naryshkin Bastion of Peter and Paul Fortress.
Another Bastion (the Trubetskoy Bastion) was used as a political prison before the Russian Revolution of 1917.
During the tour to Peter and Paul Fortress you'll be able to see St. Petersburg Mint. Since 1724 the Mint has been producing coins and medals for Russia.
We can visit the Peter and Paul fortress as a part of the St Petersburg city-tour.