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Peter and Paul Fortress

peter and pauls fortress

Peter & Paul Fortress is the birthplace of St. Petersburg, the first structure that was built in the city, founded by Peter the Great on the 27th of May 1703. It is one of the historic symbols of St. Petersburg. Its construction on the small Hare island marked the beginning of a city that was destined to be the capital of the Russian empire for over two centures.The fortress was built as an impregnable stronghold to protect the lands gained in the Russian-Swedish war, but was never put to the test: the very fact of its existence was enough to deter enemies.

The cathedral of Peter and Paul fortress

In 1712 work began to construct the grand SS Peter and Paul Cathedral within the fortress to the design of Domenico Trezzini. The plan (a three-aisled basilica), the interior finishing and even its consectration to the two apostles Peter and Paul derive from Western Christian tradition. The construction was slow and lasted till 1733. Later the cathedral, like many other Petersburg buildings, suffered fires and was repeatedly reconstructed. The gilded spire of the Cathedral with the angel on top is the highest point of St. Petersburg (except for the TV tower). The interior of the cathedral strikes with splendor and solemnity. The iconostasis is decorated with gilded sculptures and intricate woodcarving as well as a set of icons painted by Russian artists.

According to the tradition, Peter and Paul Cathedral became a burial place almost immediately, taking over from the Archangel Cathedral in Moscow. In 1725 Peter himself was laid to rest here and the status of the cathedral as the imperial sepulchre was confirmed. Almost all Russian monarchs, who ruled Russia since the beginning of the 18th century, from Peter I to Nicolas II and his family are buried here.

Prison of Peter and Paul fortress

Although the fortress was built to protect the newly born city from Swedes, very soon it lost its military significance and was turned into a political prison. For almost 2 centuries it remained the most feared place in St. Petersburg. Among its prisoners were Russian writers, politicians and revolutionaries. Now it is a museum where you can see different types of solitary cells, find out how prisoners communicated with each other and learn some facts about Russian history.

 

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Notes for the visitors of Peter and Paul fortress

The cathedral is a very popular place in summer, that is why we buy the entrance tickets there in advance. The tour that we offer focuses not only on the architecture and art works that you will see at the fortress but also on the history of St. Petersburg and the life of Russian monarchs who ruled Russia in 18-20th century. The fortress itself is a walking area that is open daily for the public. There are many small museums on the grounds of the fortress that are especially interesting for the children: there is a printing house, the mint, the museum of the history of St. Petersburg and even the museum of the cosmonautics!

Closed: open daily

Duration of a tour: 1.5 hours (including the tour of the cathedral)

Official web site: Peter and Paul fortress

Please contact us if you would like to arrange a tour.

 

Please see below the itineraries that include the tour of Peter and Paul fortress

  • St. Petersburg for Newcomers

    St. Petersburg for Newcomers

    4.6
    212 votes

    This is a relaxed tour for newcomers who want to get acquainted with our beautiful city. You will have extensive city tour with many photostops, walk along Nevsky, visit Peter and Paul's fortress, try Russian cuisine at a local cafe and of course visit the...

    8 hours

    From: $160

    Highlights: extensive sightseeing, walking along Nevsky Avenue, Hermitage, Peter and Paul's fortress, shopping (optional)

  • Amber room, Hermitage and Peter&Paul Fortress

    Amber room, Hermitage and Peter&Paul Fortress

    4.1
    235 votes

    This tour takes you to the summer residence, the winter residence of the royal family as well as to the historic birth place of St. Petersburg.

    10 hours

    From: $189

    Highlights: Catherine's palace with the Amber room, Pushkin park, the Hermitage OR Peterhof park, Peter and Paul's fortress and cathedral, shopping

  • Easy St. Petersburg tour

    Easy St. Petersburg tour

    4.7
    349 votes

    This tour is relaxing, showing you the gems of St. Petersburg and leaving enough time for evening activities.

    14 hours over 2 days

    From: $285

    Highlights: Peter and Paul's fortress OR Church on the Spilt Blood, Catherine's palace with the Amber room and Pushkin park, Peterhof fountain park, Hermitage, hydrofoil ride, shopping

  • Three-day intensive tour

    Three-day intensive tour

    4.7
    175 votes

    This tour includes everything you might want to see having just 3 days in St. Petersburg! Every minute counts!

    29 hours

    From: $550

    Highlights: Pushkin, Peterhof, the Hermitage, St. Isaac's Cathedral, Church on the Spilt Blood, subway, river tour, Pavlovsk palace, farmer's market, Peter & Paul's fortress, Faberge museum, Nevsky Avenue

  • Three-day moderate tour

    Three-day moderate tour

    4.5
    165 votes

    This tour combines active and relaxed activities as well as leaves you time to explore the city on your own.

    22 hours

    From: $475

    Highlights: Pushkin, Peterhof, the Hermitage, St. Isaac's Cathedral, Church on the Spilt Blood, subway, river tour, farmer's market, Peter & Paul's fortress, Yusupov palace

  • Rivers and canals tour with Peter and Paul's Fortress

    Rivers and canals tour with Peter and Paul's Fortress

    4.9
    202 votes

    This short tour acquaints you with the city. You will see the oldest part of the city - Peter and Paul's fortress and have an inside tour or Peter and Paul's Cathedral. After that you will have a one-hour rivers and canals cruise, showing you all the major St. Petersburg...

    4 hours

    From: $115

    Highlights: Peter and Paul's fortress and Cathedral, boat city tour

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