The Peter and Paul Fortress
The Peter and Paul Fortress is the original citadel of St. Petersburg, Russia. While not as notorious as the Hermitage or the Mariinsky Theatre, the Peter and Paul Fortress plays a significant part in Russian history.
With the building of the Peter and Paul Fortress came the birth of St. Petersburg. The fortress has a rich and varied history that is a must-see for any visitor.
History of The Peter and Paul Fortress
The fortress was founded by Peter the Great in 1703. Built to Domenico Trezzini’s designs from 1706 to 1740, the structure was to imprison political criminals. While the cathedral of the fortress was completed early on, it was one of the few finished sections. Many of the other buildings did not see completion until the 19th century.
Peter the Great chose the swiss architect, Trezzini, in case the Swedish decided to try to re-conquer this area. The fortress never fulfilled its intended purpose. Instead, it became a military base and a home of government departments. Later on, the burial ground of the Russian Imperial family, the site of scientific experiments, and finally, a museum. The structure’s history is, by all means, exceptional. As a result, the building later became part of the State Museum of Saint Petersburg.
Visiting The Fortress
Today thousands of tourists travel to the island. During their visit, they can see the many permanent and temporary exhibitions of the fortress. The museum details the various aspects of the compound’s past.
The exhibitions are each within different parts of the fortress. Depending upon your preferences, the visit can take from two hours up to a whole day. The museum offers a number of attractions and options for each person.
Among the exhibitions are:
- History of the Peter and Paul Fortress
- The Trubetskoy Bastion Prison
- History of St. Petersburg-Petrograd 1703-1918
- Museum of Cosmonautics and Rocket Technology
The summer months are when the fortress tends to see the most footfall. Usually crowded in summer, it is the second most visited tourist attraction in St. Petersburg.
Individual tickers are required to gain entry to the museum. The museum does offer a combined ticket. The combined ticket offers entry to visit Peter & Paul Cathedral, the Trubetskoy Bastion, and three other sites. We recommend this option if you plan on visiting a few attractions.
The island is linked to the land by two bridges. Visitors can reach it on foot by crossing a bridge, or by taking a boat trip on the St. Petersburg waterway. Accessing the island and the exterior of the fortress is free of charge. However, Zayachy Island and the fortress are closed at certain times each day. We recommend checking the schedule ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
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