The famous prison of the Peter and Paul Fortress

The famous prison of the Peter and Paul Fortress
The famous prison of the Peter and Paul Fortress

The Peter and Paul Fortress, located in the heart of St. Petersburg on Hare Island, is today one of the most recognizable sights of the cultural capital of Russia. Let's tell a little about the history of its creation and take a walk to the famous prison of the Peter and Paul Fortress.

prison bastion of the Peter and Paul Fortress

History of Creation

The Peter and Paul Fortress is an ancient architectural structure of the Northern capital. Its first stone was laid back in 1703. It happened on May 3rd. It is believed that the Russian emperor Peter I independently and with great attention selected a place for a new fortress, which was so necessary for the state at that time. There was a Russian-Swedish war, and in order to demonstrate to the world the power and achievements of the Russian army, Peter conceived this construction.

Portrait of Peter the Great

An undoubted advantage is the geographical location of the fortress. In addition to being on an island,additional protection is provided by two water fortifications that wash it from all sides - the Neva and the Kronverk channel.

It is interesting that the emperor personally supervised the construction of the fortress, moreover, he himself made the necessary calculations. But it was not possible to do without attracting specialists from abroad, in particular, the projects of French engineers Lambert and Trezzini played a big role.

Architectural ensemble

The Peter and Paul Fortress is distinguished by a large number of beautiful old buildings, each of which has its own history. The vast territory of the island allows you to walk here all day! Before heading to the prison, let's see what other buildings the visitor will see here.

View from above

Peter and Paul Cathedral

This building, perhaps, can be considered the visiting card of the fortress. The cathedral was built in 1703 by the Italian architect Domenico Trezzini. This grandiose monument of Petrine baroque architecture served as the tomb of emperors. It is here that the remains of Peter the Great and other representatives of the Romanov dynasty are buried to this day, up to the mother of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II, Maria Feodorovna, who died in Denmark.

Peter and Paul Cathedral

Particular attention is drawn to the spire of the cathedral: on its top is the symbol of the cultural capital - the figure of an angel, familiar to every Petersburger. Today, anyone can freely visit the cathedral.


The Peter and Paul Fortress has six bastions. The first of them and the earliest in time of construction is Gosudarev.It was from him that the construction of the entire architectural ensemble began. The bastion was used as a warehouse for a long time, and its casemates served as barracks.

The rest of the bastions are named after the comrades-in-arms of the great emperor: Naryshkin, Trubetskoy, Zotov, Golovkin, Menshikov. All of them had fortification and some other functions. So, for example, in the 1730s, an unusual tradition appeared that continues today. Regularly, a cannon shot is fired from the Naryshkin bastion, marking the onset of noon. Its sound is so loud that it can be heard from all sides of the fortress. Soon we will tell you about the well-known prison in the bastion of the Peter and Paul Fortress, where state criminals were serving their sentences, but for now…

Other facilities

In addition to these buildings, visitors have the opportunity to see a number of important buildings and institutions of the fortress.

  1. Mint. This is one of the very first industrial enterprises, where coins and valuable orders are issued today.
  2. Botny house. Today there are ticket offices and a small museum-shop where you can get acquainted with the history of the city of St. Petersburg. But in the 18th century, an important imperial relic was kept in the building of this house - the small boat of Peter I, known as the “grandfather of the Russian fleet.”
  3. Artillery arsenal. It was built at the beginning of the 19th century and was used as a storage for military equipment. Later, a fire station was located here, which was replaced by a telephone exchange, and at the beginning of the 20th century, the storehouse turned into prison cells.
  4. And other structures such as the Engineering House,Commandant's house, guardhouse.

Peter and Paul Fortress Prison

Let's go now to the imperial residence. Opposite the magnificent Winter Palace is the prison of the Trubetskoy Bastion of the Peter and Paul Fortress. The place is very symbolic: according to the native Petersburgers, it is here that two powers unite, each of which cannot exist independently.

Peter and Paul Fortress Trubetskoy Prison

Below is a photo of the Peter and Paul Fortress prison from the courtyard.

peter and paul fortress prison

What is the past of this unusual place?

The Trubetskoy Bastion was unofficially used as a prison for the Peter and Paul Fortress back in the 18th century. Since then, many political criminals have been here. The first were Tsarevich Alexei (son of Peter I and Evdokia Lopukhina), the boyars Kikin and Lopukhin and Prince Dolgoruky. All of them were accused of treason and betrayal and for many years imprisoned in the walls of the Peter and Paul Fortress prison. There was also a secret office where interrogations of prisoners were carried out. It is believed that Peter himself was present during these interrogations and often acted as an executioner.

By the end of the 19th century, there was an acute shortage of premises for keeping criminals inside the fortress, so in 1870 it was decided to officially reorganize the Trubetskoy bastion into a prison. The prison was secret. Only those suspects whose crimes were of a political nature were kept here. As a rule, these were people who were still under investigation. Onlyin exceptional cases, criminals sentenced to death or sentenced to life imprisonment were brought to prison.

The Trubetskoy bastion prison existed for half a century. The names of the vast majority of its prisoners are forever preserved on the pages of Russian history. The first people who attacked Alexander II, Alexander Ulyanov, the elder brother of the same Ulyanov-Lenin, who dreamed of making a socialist revolution, the famous Russian writer Maxim Gorky, who was released after a short time due to public pressure … There are many more names that are well known to every Russian. But how many prisoners are we still unaware of?

Prison Trubetskoy of the Peter and Paul Fortress existed until 1924. After that, it was turned into a museum, which today everyone can visit.

Popular topic