The Peter and Paul Fortress ensemble and a Hare island

The Peter and Paul Fortress (official name – St. Petersburg Fortress, in 1914-1917 – the Petrograd Fortress) is the oldest architectural monument of St. Petersburg, a class I fortress (according to the classification of fortresses of the Russian Empire).

Located on Zayachy Island, in St. Petersburg, the historical core of the city.

Zayachy Island is an island in the Neva River. It is separated by the Kronverksky Strait from Petrogradsky Island to the north, to which it is connected by the Kronverksky and Ioannovsky bridges.

Until the late 19th century, there were three canals inside the fortress, dividing the island into four parts. The canals were filled up by the late 19th century. The island is described as offering picturesque views of central St. Petersburg (including the Winter Palace and Vasilyevsky Island) across the Neva River.

The ensemble of the Peter and Paul Fortress occupies the entire territory of the island.

The date of laying the fortress on May 16 (27), 1703, is the date of the foundation of St. Petersburg. It served as a prison from the first quarter of the 18th century until the early 1920s. Since 1924 it has been a state museum.

The Peter and Paul Fortress is a monument of Russian architecture, on which various architects worked. Numerous architectural monuments and museums are located in the modern fortress: the Peter and Paul Cathedral (the tomb of the Russian imperial house of the Romanovs), the Grand Duke’s burial vault, the Boat House, the Commandant’s House, the Engineering House, the Mint, the Museum of the History of St. Petersburg, the Military History Museum of Artillery, Engineering Troops and communications troops, the Museum of Cosmonautics and Rocketry.

The fortress belongs to the historical part of St. Petersburg and, together with the complex of monuments located here, is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites; it is one of the centers of attraction for tourists.

The silhouette of the Peter and Paul Fortress has become a symbol of the city and occupies a key place in its panorama.

Since 1873, an artillery signal shot has been fired from the Naryshkin bastion of the fortress every day at 12 o’clock. It is a historical symbol of the city.

According to the Charter of St. Petersburg, the historical symbols of the city are three: the angel on the spire of the Peter and Paul Cathedral, the boat on the spire of the Admiralty and the monument “The Bronze Horseman“.

Main sights

The Peter and Paul Cathedral is located inside the Peter and Paul Fortress. It is the first and oldest landmark in St. Petersburg, built between 1712 and 1733 on Hare Island along the Neva River. Both the cathedral and the fortress were originally built under Peter the Great and designed by Domenico Trezzini.

The cathedral’s bell tower is the world’s tallest Orthodox bell tower. Since the belfry is not standalone, but an integral part of the main building, the cathedral is sometimes considered the highest Orthodox Church in the world. There is another Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul Church in St. Petersburg, located in Petergof.

Saint Petersburg Mint is one of the world’s largest mints. It was founded by Peter the Great in 1724 on the territory of Peter and Paul Fortress, so it is one of the oldest industrial enterprises in Saint Petersburg.

It is a part of the Goznak state-owned corporation.


The beach of the Peter and Paul Fortress is an important location for holding large-scale holidays in St. Petersburg. Every year, the sand sculpture festival is held on the beach.

Since the beach is not intended for swimming, there are no changing cabins, sun loungers, umbrellas and other beach services. If you plan to sunbathe or just sit on the beach, then you need to carry travel mats or chairs with you.

Play areas for children and sports grounds are also not provided. The beach of the Peter and Paul Fortress is more of a walking area than a place for swimming.

Main facts

Foundation date: 27 May 1703
Foundation of the State Museum: since 1924
Architects: Domenico Trezzini, Nikolai Alexandrovich Lvov, David Ivanovich Grimm.


St. Petersburg, 197046, Zayachy Island. Nearest metro: Gorkovskaya.

Working hours

The territory of the Hare Island is open for visiting daily from 06:00 to 22:00.
The Peter and Paul Fortress (within the boundaries of the fortress walls) is open to the public daily from 10:00 to 21:00.

Peter and Paul Cathedral and Grand Duke’s Tomb. Every day except every Saturday and every Sunday from 10:00 to 19:00. Saturdays from 10:00 to 17:45 (the box office closes ticket sales at 17:30); Sundays from 11:00 to 19:00.

Trubetskoy Bastion Prison. Daily from 10:00-19:00.

All other exhibitions and expositions. Monday, Thursday, Friday Saturday, Sunday from 11:00 to 19:00, Tuesday from 11:00 to 18:00. Wednesday – day off.


Entrance to the territory of the fortress is free.

Tickets for visiting individual expositions, routes and programs:

Peter and Paul Cathedral and Grand Duke’s Tomb
(does not include a visit to the bell tower of the Peter and Paul Cathedral). Adults — 550 rubles.

Trubetskoy Bastion Prison. Adults – 250 rubles.

Museum of Cosmonautics and Rocket Technology. V. P. Glushko. Adults – 250 rubles.

Exposition “History of St. Petersburg – Petrograd. 1703-1918.” Adults — 200 rubles.

Exposition “Museum of Architectural Ceramics”. Adults — 200 rubles.

Exposition “History of the Peter and Paul Fortress”. Adults — 100 rubles.

Exhibition “The Objective World of Modern”. Adults – 250 rubles.

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