Peter and Paul Fortress
Peter and Paul Fortress is located on a small island, only 1920 feet long and 1152 feet wide. The fortress appeared as the first construction of St.-Petersburg. The first builders came here on the 16th (27th by the new calendar) of May in 1703. And this day is considered to be the foundation day of the city.
…The spring of 1703…The Nothern war against Sweden for the return of Russian lands was at its peak. To secure position on the Baltic coast Peter I decided to build a fortress on the Enisaari Island, which means the Hare Island in Finish.
It’s protected from all sides by the Neva, which splits here into the Big and Small Neva and a Crownwork canal going round it from the north side The place is open and artillery fire can go in all directions.
Inside the fortress several buildings appeared, and one of them is Peter and Paul’s Cathedral. It was named after the Apostles Peter and Paul. The architect Domenico Trezzini (the chief architect) designed the cathedral in Petrian Baroque Style.
The cathedral is surmounted with a tall spire, and on its top there is a ball (“apple”), a cross and a weather-vane in a shape of a flying angel.
The angel above the Island is our city’s guardian and one of the symbols of St.- Petersburg (It’s 11,1 feet tall; the wings are 11,4 foots wide. The cross is 20,8 foots tall and the diameter of the “apple” is 5,44 foots. The angel and the cross weigh 550 pounds).
Fortunately the city has never been invaded and soon a part of the fortress was reconstructed for the needs of a high-security political prison, located in Trubetskoy Bastion (Bastion – pentagonal fortification on the fortress’s corners). In the course of times, the Bastion saw a number of prominent inmates. The first prisoner was Peter the Great’s son Alexei, murdered there at the age of 28. Later Russian writer and philosopher Nikolai Chernyshevsky, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Maxim Gorky, Vladimir Lenin’s elder brother Alexander spent time there. Nowadays it is apart of museum complex.
Every day in St.-Petersburg you can hear a 12 O’CLOCK cannon FIRING from Peter and Paul fortress (from the Naryshkin bastion).
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