Peter and Paul Fortress

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by akakd on October 30, 2001

We arrived at the Peter & Paul Fortress shortly before the daily cannon shot was fired. Interestingly, the 1703 Fortress was never tested in battle. Its first prisoner was Peter the Great's own son, Alexis, who became a tool of opposition to his father. He died in the fortress.

The main feature of the Fortress is the Cathedral of S/S Peter & Paul, dominated by its tall spire, a landmark of St. Petersburg. The original wooden spire was damaged in a storm. A volunteer was sought to repair it at the risk of his life, using only a rope. A roofer offered his services. He was rewarded w/ a "golden goblet", along w/ free drinks @ any inn in the country. As a result, legend has it, he soon drank himself to death.

My favorite feature of the Cathedral is the pulpit. Pulpits are rare in Russian Orthodox Churches. This one is said to have been used ONLY the excommunication of Tolstoy after the publication of his novel "Resurrection". All Tsars from Peter the Great to Alexander III are buried in this Cathedral.

In front of the Guardhouse is a relatively modern statue of Peter the Great that has been the subject of much controversy. This bronze figure by Russian sculptor Mikhail Shemyakin is given a head which is tiny in proportion to the massive body (Peter the Great was over 7 feet tall). He also has thin legs & long spidery fingers. Still, he appears to be beloved as evidenced by the lines of people waiting to sit in his lap or rub his brassy knees.

Many other things to see @ the Fortress. Allow plenty of time.

Peter and Paul Fortress/Peter and Paul Cathedral
Zayachil Ostrov (hare Island)
St. Petersburg, Russia

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