Peter and Paul Fortress

Situated on a small island on the Neva Delta across the river from The Hermitage, the Peter and Paul Fortress is the oldest building in St Petersburg. Planned by Peter the Great as a defence against possible attacks from the Swedes, the fortress never served its original purpose as they were defeated before its completion, and the six bastions at its corners were turned into high security political prison cells. The notorious dungeons held many famous people, including Alexei (the son of Peter the Great), Trotsky, and Gorky, and is now a museum. Other buildings in the fortress house the City History Museum and the Mint. The midday gun is fired every day from the roof, echoing around the city from across the water. Also enclosed within the imposing walls is the Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul, its distinctive golden needle-like spire visible throughout the city. The first church in the city to be built from stone, it has a richly decorated interior containing the tombs of every Russian Emperor since Peter the Great.

Address: Petropavlovskaya Krepost

Telephone: (812) 238 4550

Transport: Gorkoskaya metro stop

Opening times: The fortress is open 24 hours daily. The cathedral and museums are open daily 11am-6pm except Wednesdays and the last Tuesday of the month.

Admission: There is no charge to enter the fortress, but the cathedral and museums require tickets.