St. Peter and Paul Fortress
On this tour of the Peter and Paul Fortress, you will see the cornerstone on which the marvelous city of Saint Petersburg was built. This is the oldest remaining major building in the city and a major cultural landmark for anyone interested in learning about the history of “the northern capital of Russia” on a private city tour. On the grounds of the fortress-museum, you can find many striking buildings and attractions. The fortress is conveniently located in the main metropolitan area and can be reached via many different routes and forms of transportation.
The history of this fortress dates back to May 1703 when the tsar Peter the Great built a defensive citadel on the north bank of the Neva River. At that time, Russia was at war with Sweden, and the tsar was preparing the fort to defend against a probable Swedish attack though this never occurred. Initially, this was a crude, but sizable fortification built of earth and wood but was rebuilt in stone by 1740, ensuring its survival as an essential landmark. For centuries, this fortress served as a garrison for Russian troops and a prison for the most important political prisoners in the country. During the chaotic years of the Russian Revolution of 1917, the fortress continued its role as an important detention center for various political forces and prominent figures, until it was finally converted into a museum in 1931, with the exception of several buildings such as the St Petersburg Mint. The Peter and Paul Fortress suffered bombardment and destruction in World War II, but has since been restored to its former glory and serves as one of the city’s most popular attractions on SPB tours.
One of the top St Petersburg Russia attractions at this fortress is the Peter and Paul Cathedral. This is one of the tallest cathedrals in Russia and the resting place of many Russian royals, from Peter the Great to Nicholas II. At 402 feet high, this cathedral catches the eye of onlookers in many distant parts of the city. While it may not be as ornamental or luminous as other big cathedrals in Saint Petersburg, the Peter and Paul Cathedral has a timeless baroque design and is supported by a series of gorgeous, marble-imitating pillars. Inside the Cathedral, you can see many exquisite gilded wooden icons, a chamber of imperial tombs, and the most prominent feature – a large bell tower. With a pleasing yellow and white coloring, it is hard to miss this major attraction.
Another must-see site on private day tours of the grounds of the fortress is the Trubetskoy Bastion, a bleak and imposing prison building nicknamed “The Russian Bastille”. This prison museum features real jail cells and exhibits, which housed its many prominent inmates, from writers to revolutionaries. If you visit the Peter and Paul Fortress, you will be able to witness a centuries old tradition – the firing of a cannon from the Naryshkin Bastion.
Inside the fortress’s city museum, you will also be able to check out numerous historical relics, including collections of furniture, glassware, and porcelain. The fortress is a not just place of interest for tourists. Many local residents spend summer days on its beaches while the winter brings throngs of seasoned ice swimmers. This site is also known for hosting various festivals, concerts, and cultural events.
If you want to get the most out of your visit to the city of St Petersburg and the Peter and Paul Fortress, in particular, you can trust me to provide you with the Saint Petersburg sightseeing tour of your dreams. Navigating the city’s greatest landmarks and learning about them can be difficult, but you will have a carefree and easy experience if you let the tour guide take care of these complexities.
Please contact me and we will discuss the details.
Duration 4-6 hours.
The cost of my guiding services is 20 US $ (19 Euro) per hour for a group of up to 10 people.