Peter and Paul’s Fortress and Cathedral

Paul’s Fortress

The fortress was established by Peter the Great on May 27, 1703 (this date is St. Petersburg’s City Day) on small Hare Island by the north bank of the Neva River. Built at the height of the Northern War in order to protect the projected capital, the fort never fulfilled its martial purpose. From 1721 the fortress housed part of the city’s garrison and also famously served as a high security political jail — among the first inmates was Peter’s own rebellious son Alexei. The citadel was completed with six bastions in earth and timber within a year, and it was rebuilt in stone from 1706 to 1740.

Peter and Paul’s Cathedral

The Peter and Paul Fortress is home to the Peter and Paul Cathedral, a church where almost all the Russian Emperors and Empresses from Peter the Great to Nicholas are buried. The Cathedral was the first church in the city to be built of stone (in 1712-1733)