Peter and Paul Fortress

Petropavlovskaya krepost

The Peter and Paul Fortress is the historic center of Saint Petersburg, this is the place from where the city began to be built. Every day you can witness an ages-long traditional ritual (it dates back to Peter I): each noon is celebrated by a canon shot from the Naryshkin Bastion. The fortress was established in 1703 and planned by Peter I and French engineer Joseph Gaspar Lambert de Guerin. Originally the fortress was built out of wood, however already in the 1730s-1740s and in the 1780s the wood was gradually substituted by stone. Inside you will find the Commendant's House where prisoners of conscience were standing their trials (now it houses a display dedicated to the city history), the Mint established in 1724, as well as the Boathouse of Peter I (it is nicknamed to be the 'grandfather of the Russian fleet'). The architectural complex also comprises the Peter and Paul Cathedral (built by Domenico Trezzini) with Imperial tombs, as well as the tombs of great princes where uncrowned members of the Russian Imperial House lie. In 1992 the grand grandson of Emperor Alexander II Prince Vladimir Romanov was buried in the tomb.

The fortress never was a battleground, on the contrary, it operated as the main prison for political detainees of the imperial-era Russia. One of the first prisoners here was Russian Tsarevich Alexei Romanov, a son of Peter the Great (he died or was secretly murdered in the fortress in 1718). Alexander Radishchev was another prisoner here, sent to the fortress for his book A Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow. Princess Tarakanova and future great writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky were also held here.

During the Soviet times there were plans to destroy the fortress and build a stadium in its place. In 1991 a Monument to Peter I by Mikhail Shemyakin was established in the fortress. In 2009 here were discovered mass graves and remains of the Red Terror victims.

The route going along the roof of the fortress walls from the Gosudarev Bastion to the Naryshkin one can be taken unguided. Beyond the walls there is a helipad. Helicopter tours are organized on weekend and holidays. For more information please refer to the official website.

Address: Peter and Paul Fortress, 3 (Petropavlovskaya krepost, 3)
Opening hours: fortress area (within the walls): Mon-Tue, Thu-Sun 9 am – 9 pm, closed on Wed; the area is completely closed at 10 pm. For working hours of the museums see the official website.
How to reach: Gorkovskaya metro station; by tram 6, 40 from Sportivnaya metro station; by bus 46, shuttle 46, 76, 183, 223 from Petrogradskaya metro station
Coordinates: 59.950045, 30.315252