THE PETER AND PAUL FORTRESS
The Peter and Paul Fortress is one of the most outstanding historical
and architectural landmarks in Saint-Petersburg, a fortification structure of the early eighteenth century. Powerful stone walls, as though leaving from water, the steeple of the cathedral, piercing skies, make its view unique, from afar opening for look.
The corner-stone of the fortress was laid on the 27th (16th on the old stile) May 1703 and this day is considered the foundation date of Petersburg-Leningrad. At the beginning, the fortress' walls were made of earth.
The bastions were built under the direct supervision of Peter I and his close asso-ciates, who are commemorated in the names of the bastions: Gosudariey, Golovkin, Naryshkin, Trubetskoi, Zotov and Menshikov. The Sts Peter and Paul Cathedral was built according to the design of Domenico Trezzini.
This cathedral with its high bell-tower and slender golden spire (122.5 m) is a unique monument of early eighteenth century architecture.
The fortification walls (curtains) were fitted with gates: the Petrovskiye, Nevskiye, Vasilyevskiye, Nikolskiye and Kronwerkskiye. By 1780, the fortification walls and the bastions facing the Neva were "clad" with granite. In the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, on the terri-tory of the fortress were erected the Botny House (accommodating Peter the Great's boat), the Artillery storeroom, the Engineers' Meeting-courtyard, the Commandant's House, the Mint building, the guardroom's etc.
The fortress was built as a military forepost of XVIII century, but it was not destined to play any active role as a defence structure of the city. For two whole centuries, it served as a political prison of the tsarist regime.
Since 1924, the fortress has been one of the major museums of Saint-Petersburg.
In the exposition, it is shown from different sides - from the Neva, Kronwerk, Trinity square, St. John's bridge, the Spit of Vasilyevsky Island and other points.