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Peter & Paul Fortress

The fortress was established by Peter the Great on May 16 (by the Julian Calendar, hereafter indicated using «(J)»; May 27 by the Gregorian Calendar) 1703 on small Hare Island by the north bank of the Neva River, the last upstream island of the Neva delta. Built at the height of the Northern War in order to protect the projected capital from a feared Swedish counterattack, the fort never fulfilled its martial purpose. The citadel was completed with six bastions in earth and timber within a year, and it was rebuilt in stone from 1706-1740.
From around 1720, the fort served as a base for the city garrison and also as a prison for high ranking or political prisoners. The Trubetskoy bastion, rebuilt in the 1870s, became the main prison block. The first person to escape from the fortress prison (now an important destination for tourists) was the anarchist Prince Peter Kropotkin in 1876. Other people incarcerated in the «Russian Bastille» include Shneur Zalman of Liadi, Tsarevich Alexis, Artemy Volynsky, Tadeusz Ko?ciuszko, Alexander Radishchev, the Decembrists, Grigory Danilevsky, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Mikhail Bakunin, Nikolai Chernyshevsky and Josip Broz Tito. The fortress contains several notable buildings clustered around the Peter and Paul Cathedral (1712-1733), which has a 123.2 m (404 ft) bell-tower (the tallest in the downtown) and a gilded angel-topped cupola.
The cathedral is the burial place of all Russian tsars from Peter I to Alexander III, with the exception of Peter II. The remains of the Imperial martyrs, Nicholas II and his family and entourage, were also interred there, in the side St.Catherine’s Chapel, on the 80th anniversary of their deaths, July 17, 1998. Towards the end of 2006, the remains of Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna were brought from Roskilde Cathedral outside Copenhagen to finally rest next to her husband, Alexander III.

Address: 3, Peter & Paul Fortress

 

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