The Peter and Paul Fortress is the oldest part of St. Petersburg, military- engineering, architectural and historical monument. It was the first structure to be built in St. Petersburg and May 27, 1703 (May 16 - old style calendar) – the date when it was founded at the behest of Peter I on Zaychy Island is considered to be the birthday of the northern capital.
The Peter and Paul Cathedral, which is situated in the center of the fortress, gave its name to the fortress. Its bell tower served as the city's clock tower. Crowned by a gilded spire, it still remains the highest architectural structure of St. Petersburg (122.5 m). The cathedral originally served the burial ground of the Russian Imperial House of Romanov. Here lie the remains of the Russian emperors from Peter I to Nicholas II and of the members of their families.
The fortress houses the exhibitions of the State Museum of the History of St. Petersburg. One of the exhibitions is located in the former Trubetskoy Bastion Prison, built in 1870-1872. Since the times of Peter the Great Russia's most prominent political prisoners were held in the dungeons of the fortress, later – in the single cells of the secret House of the Alexeevskiy Ravelin. The exhibition, opened for the first time in 1924 in prison, tells the history of its construction, regime and several generations of prisoners.
State Museum of the History of St Petersburg includes seven branches: Peter and Paul Fortress, Shlisselburg Fortress Oreshek, Rumyantsev Mansion, Alexander Blok Museum, Sergey Kirov Museum,St Petersburg Avant-garde Museum (Mikhail Matyushin’s House), Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad, Museum of Printing.
The museum carries out large works on preservation, conservation and restoration of monuments of cultural and historical significance. Our curators are engaged in various exhibition and publish in projects.
Education is one of the largest fields of the museum’s activity. Children’s Centre of State Museum of the History of St Petersburg realizes over 20 programmes for children, pupils, students and families.
The museum has developed a long-lasting programme of development, which includes:
- Accessibility of the museum collection (creation of open storage archives, organization of exhibitions, publishing of catalogues);
- Rational use of the territory of Peter and Paul Fortress with the aim of exhibition space expansion;
- Collaboration with Russian and foreign museums, associations and committees;
- Creation of modern information areas involving IT-technologies, development of services for the visitors (museum shops, cafes, etc.)
State Museum of St. Petersburg is one of Russia's largest historical museums. The museum houses more than 1.3 million items, reflecting the history of the city on the Neva River from its inception to the present day.
Center of the museum is the Peter and Paul Fortress - a unique monument of history, architecture and fortification of the eighteenth and twentieth centuries. Being a dominant of architectural ensemble, Peter and Paul Cathedral is one of the symbols of St. Petersburg, the tomb of the Imperial House of Romanov. In historic buildings of the fortress some temporary exhibitions are also located.
Opening Hours: 10:00 to 17:00. Closed Wednesdays.