Peter and Paul Fortress
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Peter and Paul Fortress will host one of the section meetings on September, 11th
Peter and Paul Fortress – the branch and central part of the State Museum of the History of Saint-Petersburg – is a unique example of Russian fortification construction from the early eighteenth century. The history of the fortress is connected with the struggle of Russian people for the outlet to the Baltic Sea. Seized by the Swedes in the early 17th century, they were recovered by the Russians during the Great Northern War (1700–1721). In 1702 – 1703 Russia managed to regain control over the water area of the river Neva, which flows to the Gulf of Finland. The following task was to defend the recaptured territory by building massive fortifications capable of acting as a bulwark. The St Petersburg (Peter and Paul) Fortress was founded on 27 May 1703 on a small Zayachy (Hare) island in the delta of the river Neva. The first fortress was an earth and wood structure.
There is a number of historical buildings on the territory of the fortress. Among them are the Engineers’ House and the Commandant’s House – former residence of the fortress’s commandant. Both buildings, raised in the 1740s, are unique examples of the early Baroque style in Russia. The Peter and Paul Fortress houses the Mint (1805), which is the oldest enterprise in St. Petersburg, still producing coins, medals and badges. The Boathouse was designed in the late nineteenth century to accommodate Peter the Great’s boat, which he used to sail as a young man.
One of the main attractions in the fortress is Peter and Paul Cathedral, built in 1712 – 1733 as the main city cathedral. Designed in Baroque style by Domenico Trezzini, it combines typical features of West-European church architecture. Its 402 feet high belfry makes the cathedral the highest architectural structure in the city.
Peter and Paul Cathedral is the symbolic center of Russia because for two hundred years all Russian rulers from Peter I to Nicolas II (except Peter II and Ivan VI) and their families were buried here. Grand Ducal Burial Chapel was designed by David Grimm, Anton Tomishko and Leon Benois as the mausoleum for the Grand Dukes and Duchesses of Russia in 1908.