The Peter and Paul Fortress
The Peter and Paul Fortress was founded in May 1703. The first parapets
were of earth, but it quickly mounted 300 cannon. In 1706 construction of
replacement works of brick commenced. The work was to require 35 years.
Domenico Trezzini was the architect-engineer. The walls were 12 meters high.
During the reign of Catherine II the walls were refaced with granite.
With the fortification of Kronstadt and the other islands in the Gulf the
fortress lost its importance. It then was converted to a military prison,
housing many famous personages from Tsarevich Alexei on.
The main entrance is the Ioanovskie Vorota (John Gate), the only
part of the fortress in its original condition from 1717-18. The bas-reliefs
designed by Konrad Osner represent the story of Peter defeating Simon the
sorcerer. There are statues of Mars and Venus in niches nearby. The other
principal gate is the Nevski Vorota (Neva Gate) through which
prisoners were taken to their execution or to Schussleburg fortress. In the
fortress is the Petropavlovski Sobor (Cathedral of Sts Peter and Paul)
built in Dutch style from 1712 to 1721 by Trezzini, and reconstructed by
Rastrelli and Chevakinski in 1750. The interior contains many important
artistic works. Here are buried all the Tsars from Peter I on, except Peter II
and Nicholas II. There are other interesting buildings inside the fortress,
including the state mint.
Specific information on all these museums and on the Peter and Paul
To the north the fortress had a hornwork or outer line of fortification.
This now contains the Museum of Artillery, Engineer, and Signal Troops, founded
by Peter I. On the opposite side of the fortress is the original cottage of
Peter I, built in 3 days in 1703. Peter lived here during the summer, while
supervising construction, until the original Summer Palace was built across the
river. Nearby is the mooring of the cruiser Aurora, which fired a blank shot at
the start of the attack on the Winter Palace in 1917.
Immediately to the west, downstream, from the fortress is Vasilyevski Ostrov.
On the eastern tip, Strelka, are the Central Naval Museum in the former stock
exchange, the customs house, and several parts of the Academy of Sciences. Next
along the embankment is the university. The large white building is the
Menshikov Palace, the first stone building in St. Petersburg, dating from 1707.
There are many photos of this fortress in the Xenophon directory on
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