The Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, located on small Hare Island, is the historic core of the city. The history of St. Petersburg begins with the history of the fortress.
Since 1700 Russia had been fighting the Northern War against Sweden. By 1703 the lands by the Neva River were conquered. To protect them from the attacks of the Swedes it was necessary to build a strong outpost here. The fortress was founded on Hare Island 16 (27) May, 1703 by joint plan of Peter I and French engineer Joseph-Gaspard Lambert de Guerin. This day is well known as the day of the birth of St. Petersburg
The fortress stretches from west to east with six bastions that are located at the corners. The Peter’s Gate on the east side,which was designed by D. Trezzini, has remained since the time of Peter I. The Peter and Paul Cathedral,which was the burial place of Russian emperors and the monument of Russian baroque, was completed after the death of the emperor, in 1733. The weathervane as a golden angel with a cross ,which is located on the spire of the cathedral, is one of the main symbols of the city. On the opposite side of the cathedral, there is the Mint building, constructed in the time of Paul I by architect A. Porto. Coinage was moved to the fortress as the most protected part of the city in the time of Peter I. The Peter and Paul Fortress has never directly participated in any fighting. From the very beginning of its existence it was used as a political prison. Since 1924 the Peter and Paul Fortress has been a part of the Museum of the History of St. Petersburg.