We’d seen the intriguing looking golden steeple from across the river a couple of times, so we were all very interested to take a trip to the Peter and Paul Fortress so we could have a closer look.
The fortress was the first structure to be built upon the founding of St Petersburg. It was originally built to provide protection against the Swedes, but by the time it was built they’d already been defeated, so it served a few different purposes over the years. At one point it was a prison for political dissenters, including Leon Trotsky.
We spent a leisurely half day exploring the fortress. The church was being refurbished during our trip, so we were unable to go inside, but the grounds were very nice to walk around. We found the Trubetskoy Bastion prison complex particularly moving.
Visitors flock to the beach outside the fortress in the summer, and in the winter it’s a popular spot for the Walruses (people who cut through the ice to go for a swim, not the animals). On our visit there were only a few people feeding the birds.