Peter and Paul Fortress (Petropavlovskaya Krepost)
The looming yellow cathedral tower and star-shaped fortifications of the Peter and Paul Fortress dominate St. Petersburg’s riverfront, rising up from the shores of Zayachy Island. Built by Peter the Great in 1703, the fortress boasts a long history, having served as a military base, royal burial site, and political prison.
Give yourself time to explore the vast Peter and Paul Fortress or join a tour to learn its history. Admire the cathedral's lavish interiors, home to the tombs of Peter the Great and Tsar Nicholas II; stop by the statue of Peter the Great; and peek inside Trubetskoy Bastion prison. After exploring the museums and exhibitions, take a walk along the fortress walls for a view over the Winter Palace and St. Petersburg.
Things to Know Before You Go
A visit to the Peter and Paul Fortress is a must for history buffs and first-time visitors to St. Petersburg.
Some of the best views of the fortress are from the water—sail past on a Neva River cruise.
Ticket lines for attractions at Peter and Paul Fortress can be long, with waits of over an hour at peak times. Save time by purchasing entrance tickets in advance or joining a tour.
Entrance to the fortress itself is free. Admission fees apply for individual attractions, and combination tickets are available. Entrance is included with the St. Petersburg Card.
There are a few restaurants and cafes on the island.
The Fortress is largely accessible for wheelchairs and strollers, although there are cobblestone streets throughout, and some attractions such as the Fortress Walls are not accessible.
How to Get There
Peter and Paul Fortress is located on Zayachy Island, reachable via two walking bridges (Ioannovskiy and Kronverk) from the north bank of the Neva River. The closest metro station is Gorkovskaya (Line 2), from where it’s about a 5-minute walk across the Ioannovsky Bridge to reach the fortress. The main ticket office is located by the Peter and Paul Cathedral—just look up to see its distinctive yellow spire from anywhere on the island.
When to Get There
The Peter and Paul Fortress is one of St. Petersburg’s most visited attractions, so make an early start to avoid crowds if you visit in summer. Warm-weather visitors can also enjoy sunbathing on the sandy beaches by the fortress walls. The Cathedral is closed on Wednesdays.
Museums of the Peter and Paul Fortress
The fortress is part of the State Museum of the History of St. Petersburg, and there are a number of different museums and exhibitions in its various buildings. Visit the Museum of Space Exploration and Rocket Technology and Keramarkh Museum of Ceramics, which showcases Russia’s 18th and 19th decorative ceramic tilework. Learn about everyday life in 18th and 19th-century Russia at the Commandant’s House, and check out the permanent display at the permanent exhibition, History of Peter and Paul Fortress.
- Military Historical Artillery Museum
- Leningrad Zoo St. Petersburg
- Neva River (Reka Neva)
- The State Museum of the Political History of Russia
- St. Petersburg Planetarium (Sankt-Peterburgskiy Planetariy)
- Winter Palace of Peter the Great at the Hermitage
- Summer Palace of Peter the Great (Letniy Dvorets)
- Pushkin Museum
- State Hermitage Museum
- Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera)
- Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
- Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines
- The General Staff Building
- St. Petersburg Palace Square (Dvortsovaya Ploshchad)
- Museum of Optics