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Entries / St. Peter and Paul fortress

St. Peter and Paul fortress

Categories / Architecture/Architectural Monuments/Architectural Ensembles
Categories / Architecture/Architectural Monuments/Fortresses and Forts

ST. PETER AND PAUL FORTRESS, the historical centre of St. Petersburg, a monument of military engineering, the oldest engineering and architectural sight of the city. It was founded on 16 May 1703 (27 May 1703, New Style) on Zayachy Island (this day is considered to be the date of St. Petersburg foundation). The silhouette of the fortress is the key element forming the architectural outline of the Neva water area. The official name of the fortress is St. Petersburg Fortress, since 1914 it was called Petrograd Fortress. In 1917, the name St. Peter and Paul Fortress became established (after the cathedral bearing the same name), its colloquial name (dating back to the second half of the 19th century) is Petropavlovka. The project plan of the fortress was outlined by Tsar Peter the Great. The first design projects of the fortress were carried out in 1703 by Saxon engineer V.A. Kirschtenstein (he led the construction up to 1705) and French engineer J.G. Lambert de Guerin. In 1706-34, the construction work was overseen by architect D. Trezzini. The fortress is bastion-type, complete with six bastions; the bastion flanks are linked together with curtain walls. The first bastions of earth fill and timber were built in 1703 "in a frantic hurry" under the personal supervision of Peter the Great and his associates (hence the names of the bastions: Gosudarev, Naryshkin, Trubetskoy, Zotov, Golovkin and Menshikov bastions). Petrovskaya, Nevskaya, Vasilyevskaya, Nikolskaya and Kronverkskaya curtain walls feature the gates bearing the same names (respectively); Ekaterininskaya curtain wall is a dummy. Petrovskie Gates in 1716-18 were designed as the front gate to St. Peter and Paul Fortress. In 1703, the first floating bridge was launched on the part of Gorodskoy Island (see Ioannovsky Bridge). On 30 May 1706, the rebuilding of the St. Peter and Paul Fortress with brick and stone began; the starting point for reconstruction was Menshikov bastion. The rebuilding was completed in 1734 with the redevelopment of Gosudarev bastion. In 1705-08, Kronverk was built on Gorodskoy Island for the protection of the northern routes to the fortress. Military engineer C. de Marine succeeded Trezzini in leading the fortress works. A significant part in the completion of the building is also attributed to C.A. Minich, who designed projects of Annensky cavalier (1730-33), Ioannovsky (1731-40) and Alexeevsky (1733-40) ravelins. In 1779-85, three bastions and two curtain walls on the part of the Bolshaya Neva River were faced with granite (engineer F.V. Bauer). In 1787, the architectural appearance of the front facade of Nevskie Gates with a quay was completed. In the 1840s-90s, the bastions and curtain walls were rebuilt. On 29 June 1703, the wooden St. Peter and Paul cathedral was laid in the fortress (consecrated in April, 1704). In 1704-10, the Lutheran Church of St. Anna was situated next to it. In 1712-33, the stone Peter-and-Paul cathedral was erected, where Emperor Peter the Great was buried (see Imperial Vault). In 1896-1908, the Grand Princes' Vault was added to the cathedral. Komendantskoe Cemetrey is situated by the south-east corner of the cathedral. Along the road from Petrovskie Gates towards the cathedral the artillery arsenal (1801-02, engineer A. Briscorn) still survives today, as well as Engineers' house (1748-49) Governor's house (1743-46), Junior Officers' guardhouse (1748-49). On the square in front the western of the cathedral's western facade, the Boat House (Botny Domik; 1762-65, architect A.F. Wist) is situated, built for storing Peter the Great's boat vessel. In the western part of the fortress, there is a complex of the Mint (Monetny) Court; 1800-05). The northern part comprises about 10 buildings dating from the mid to late 19th century, for housing military department institutions, the treasury house, and a garrison. In 1991, a monument to Peter the Great (by M.M. Shemyakin) was installed beside the cathedral. By the early 19th century, St. Peter and Paul Fortress had lost its military significance (although, during the Patriotic War of 1812 and the Crimean War of 1853-56 it was put on alert). Actually as early as 18th century, St. Peter-and-Paul Fortress became known as Russian Bastille, being the main imperial prison. The Political Investigation bodies (the First and Second Secret Chancelleries) were located here, subsequently succeeded by the Secret Expedition. Beside important political prisoners, criminal suspects were kept in the dungeons of the bastions and curtain walls of the St. Peter and Paul Fortress as well. In 1769, a political prison (Privy House) was built on the territory of Alexeevsky ravelin. The first fortress inmates in February 1718, became Peter the Great's son, Alexey Petrovich and other men taken into custody in connection with the Tsesarevich Case. Among the prisoners kept there in the first half of the 18th century were: hetman of Malorossia Pavel Polubotok (1722-24), the author of the book O skudosti i bogatstve (On poverty and wealth) I.T. Pososhkov, artist I.N. Nikitin, cabinet minister A.P. Volynsky and his confidents, cabinet minister A.I. Osterman, Field Marshal General Minich, vice-chancellor M.G. Golovkin, Lord Great Chamberlain R. Lowenwolde, Crown Surgeon I. Lestocq. During the reign of Empress Catherine II, the Chancellery of the Secret Expedition saw second lieutenant V.Y. Mirovich, impostor princess Tarakanova pretending to be the daughter of the Empress Elizaveta Petrovna (from May to December 1775), writer A.N. Radischev, the publisher of the Juvenile Friend magazine M.I. Nevzorov (1792-96), educator F.V. Krechetov (1793-94), Polish rebels T. Kosciuszko, Y. Nemtsevich, S. Fisher (1794-96) etc. During the reign of the Emperor Pavel I, several officers and eminent military commanders (such as A.P. Ermolov, P.V. Chichagov, M.I. Platov) were imprisoned. In the first half of the 19th century, the prisoners of the St. Peter and Paul Fortress included the participants of the so-called Semenovsky affair of 1820, many Decembrists, members of Petrashevsky's coterie, revolutionaries of the 1860s (M.L. Mikhailov, N.G. Chernyshevsky, N.V. Shelgunov, V.A. Obruchev, N.A. Serno-Solovyevich D.I. Pisarev, D.V. Karakozov, N.A. Ishutin et. al.). In 1870-72, the prison of Trubetskoy Bastion was built. After the February Revolution of 1917, arrested tsarist ministers and officials were taken to St. Peter and Paul Fortress. In July 1917, Kronstadt seamen occupied the fortress, but soon left it. On 25 October 1917 (7 November 1917, New Style), the Governor's House of the fortress housed the Field Headquarters of the Petrograd Military Revolutionary Committee, which led the Winter Palace takeover. The gunnery of the fortress fired several shrapnel shells at the Winter Palace. On the night of 26 October 1917, the arrested ministers of the Provisional Government were taken to the prison of Trubetskoy Bastion. In the 1920s, a branch of the museum of the Revolution was established in the Peter and Paul Fortress (today, the historical cultural monument The St. Peter-and-Paul Fortress is the State Museum of St. PetersburgHistory). In 1932-33, Ioannovsky Ravelin premises housed the testing benches and workshops of the Gas-Dynamic Laboratory (as of 1973, the exhibition History of Rocket and Missile Engineering and Space Technology. Gas-dynamic Laboratory). During the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45, many buildings of the fortress were damaged as a result of shelling and air raids. In 1951, reconstruction work began along with the process of establishing museums of the St. Peter and Paul Fortress, which still continue today. Since 1957, a signal cannon-shot is fired at noon (a revived tradition, dating back to the early 18th century). City fairs and open-air festivals often take place in the St. Peter and Paul Fortress, as do various sports competitions.

References: Узники Петропавловской крепости. Л., 1969; Барабанова А. И., Вершевская М. В., Тихонова Н. С. Тайны "русской Бастилии". СПб., 2000; Степанов С. Д. Санкт-Петербургская Петропавловская крепость: История проектирования и стр-ва. СПб., 2000.

Y. M. Piryutko, A.D.Margolis.

Alexey Petrovich, Tsesarevitch
Bauer Fedor Villimovich
Briscorn A.
Catherine II, Empress
Chernyshevsky Nikolay Gavrilovich
Chichagov Pavel Vasilievich
Elizaveta Petrovna, Empress
Ermolov Alexey Petrovich
Fisher S.
Golovkin Mikhail Gavrilovich
Ishutin Nikolay Andreevich
Karakozov Dmitry Vladimirovich
Kirstenstein Wilhelm Adam
Kostiushko Tadeush
Krechetov Fedor Vasilievich
Lambert Guerin Joseph Gaspar de
Lestocq Johann Hermann (Ivan Ivanovich)
Lowenwolde Reinhold Gustaw, Count
Marine Jean
Mikhaylov Mikhail Larionovich
Minich Christoph Antonovich (Burghard Christoph), Count
Mirovich Vasily Yakovlevich
Nemtsevich Yulian Ursyn
Nevzorov Maxim Ivanovich
Nikitin Ivan Nikitich
Obruchev Vladimir Alexandrovich
Osterman Andrey Ivanovich (Heinrich Johann Friedrich), Count
Paul (Pavel) I, Emperor
Peter I, Emperor
Pisarev Dmitry Ivanovich
Platov Matvey Ivanovich
Polubotok Pavel Leontievich
Pososhkov Ivan Tikhonovich
Radishchev Alexander Nikolaevich
Serno-Solovyevich Nikolay Alexandrovich
Shelgunov Nikolay Vasilievich
Shemyakin Mikhail Mikhailovich
Trezzini Domenico
Volynsky Artemy Petrovich
Wist Alexander Franzevich

Петропавловская крепость

Барабанова А. И., Вершевская М. В., Тихонова Н. С. Тайны "русской Бастилии". СПб., 2000
Узники Петропавловской крепости. Л., 1969
Воинов В. С. Загадка аллегории Петра I // Петерб. чтения, 1992
Степанов С. Д. Санкт-Петербургская Петропавловская крепость: История проектирования и стр-ва. СПб., 2000

The subject Index
SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral
Ioannovsky Bridge
Kronverk (Crownwork)
Imperial Burial Vault
Komendantskoe Cemetery
St. Petersburg Mint
St. Petersburg Mint
Petrashevsky Circle
February Revolution of 1917
Commandant's House
Winter Palace
Provisional Government of 1917
Gas Dynamics Laboratory


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Alexey Petrovich, Tsesarevitch (1690-1718)

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Artillery and Engineer Schools of the 18th Century (entry)

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