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Peter & Paul Fortress

Top choice in St Petersburg

Housing a cathedral where the Romanovs are buried, a former prison and various exhibitions, this large defensive fortress on Zayachy Island is the kernel from which St Petersburg grew into the city it is today. History buffs will love it and everyone will swoon at the panoramic views from atop the fortress walls, at the foot of which lies a sandy riverside beach, a prime spot for sunbathing.

Individual tickets are needed for each of the fortress’s attractions – though a combined entrance ticket gives access to Peter & Paul Cathedral, the Trubetskoy Bastion and three other sites. The main entrance is across the Ioannovsky Bridge at the island's northeast end; there's also access via the Kronwerk Bridge, which is within walking distance of Sportivnaya metro station.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

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1. Bell Tower

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The Cathedral's 122.5m-high bell tower is the second structure in St Petersburg after the television tower. At the base there is a small exhibition about…

2. SS Peter & Paul Cathedral

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All of Russia's prerevolutionary rulers from Peter the Great onwards (except Peter II and Ivan VI) are buried inside this cathedral. The magnificent…

3. Commandant’s House

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This fascinating museum charts the history of the St Petersburg region from medieval times to 1918. What starts as a fairly standard-issue plod through…

4. Naryshkin Bastion

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Named after Kirill Naryshkin, one of Peter the Great's commanders who oversaw the building of the original fortifications, the bastion is better known for…

5. Trubetskoy Bastion

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Evocative use of the original cells for displays about the former political prisoners of Trubetskoy Bastion – who included the likes of Maxim Gorky, Leon…

6. Neva Panorama

0.21 MILES

Inside the Peter & Paul Fortress, a separate ticket gives you access to both a walkway that goes along the walls and leads to the Naryshkin Bastion. The…

7. Artillery Museum

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Housed in the fort’s original arsenal, across the moat from the Peter & Paul Fortress, this fire-powered museum chronicles Russia’s military history, with…

8. Alexandrovsky Park

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This leafy park, laid out in 1845, wraps in an arc around the Kronwerk moat and Artillery Museum. It's too close to traffic to ensure a peaceful escape…