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Peter and Paul Fortress

The PETER AND PAUL FORTRESS (Russian: Петропавловская крепость, pronounced “Petropavlovskaya Krepost’ “) was established by Peter the Great in 1703 on Hare Island (Russian: Заячий остров, pronounced “zayachy ostrov”). The fort was constructed to protect the area from the Swedish army and navy but the latter had been vanquished even before completion of the fort; and soon the fortress became the country’s main political prison. The Peter and Paul Fortress was planned in the form of a hexagon, and has six bastions that are connected together by curtain walls. In its center thrusts up the Peter and Paul Cathedral (1712-1733) designed by Trezzini, featuring the first stone church in St Petersburg. It serves as the burial place of all the Russian Emperors and Empresses starting from Peter the Great and ending with Alexander III. The fortress contains a number of other buildings scattered around the Peter and Paul Cathedral. The most important of these are: the Commandant's House, the Engineers House, the Mint, the Artillery armory, the Treasury, and the Guardhouse. Note that none of these buildings are open Tuesdays. If you come to St Petersburg in the summer, you can observe crowds of people basking in the sun on the small beach underneath the fortress walls. We do not get much sun or have many beaches in the city, and it is this that makes this spot very popular among the citizens in the sunny weather.

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