The original fort was established in 1703 by Peter the Great during the Northern War with Sweden to protect the fledgling St. Petersburg. At that time its bastions were mostly made of earth and logs. The Peter and Paul Fortress still stands today on the small Hare Island near the northern bank of the Neva River and never fulfilled its initial purpose.
The citadel was rebuilt from stone in 1706 at Peter's command and it took almost 35 years complete it. Architect Domenico Trezzini and engineer Burchard Christophe von Mimnich worked on the fortress and constructed the St. Peter Gate in 1718. The St. Peter and Paul Cathedral was finished by 1733. Situated inside the citadel, it was built for almost two decades and became the Romanovs family crypt. The bell-tower functioned as the city’s watchtower, stretching high in the sky. It is considered St. Petersburg's signature building today.
Many buildings appeared after the fort's thick walls were erected, including the Commandant’s House, the Engineer’s House and the famous Mint. A cemetery was established east of the cathedral, designed as the burial location for the most important figures of Russia's army.
Yet the most well-known part of the Peter and Paul fortress is undoubtedly the Trubetskoy Bastion - the infamous prison of Imperial Russia, where many renown people like author Fyodor Dostoevsky were convicted.
What is more, according to the centuries-old tradition, every day at noon a cannon is fired from the Naryshkin Bastion of the Peter and Paul Fortress, reminding all people in Saint Petersburg the time.