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The Peter and Paul Fortress has been the centre of St. Petersburg for three centuries. The fortress was the closing link in a chain of forts on the Gulf of Finland and the Neva River, but was never involved in any military action. Peter the Great himself is supposed to have planned the fortress, at least in part.


1706 On his birthday, Peter the Great personally lays the foundation stone.

1718 The fortress becomes a key political prison.

1725 Peter the Great dies in January, and his coffin is placed inside a temporary wooden chapel in the Peter and Paul Cathedral, which is still under construction. The Cathedral becomes the royal funerary church for around 200 years.

1917 On 25 October, shells are fired at The Winter Palace from the Peter and Paul Fortress, which has been seized by the Bolsheviks. The fortress's last prisoners include some ministers of the Provisional Government.

1924 Large areas of the fortress are opened to the public.

1941-44 Parts of the fortress are damaged during air raids.

1954 Post-war restoration ends.

1993 The fortress is taken under government protection.