If you are going to take the famous Trans-Siberian railway for the holiday of a lifetime, you are to be commended on your choice. The Trans-Siberian railway has a few routes that take you into China and Mongolia, and if you plan to visit St. Petersburg, you simply must spend some time admiring the amazing Peter and Paul Fortress of St. Petersburg.
Founded in the Early 18th Century
The fortress was built by Peter the Great in the year 1703, and the original citadel was designed to repel the attack, with a unique star-shaped fortress that gave the occupants a clear view through 360 degrees. Located on Hare Island on the bank of the Neva River, the fortress took nearly 40 years to finish, and when you see the size of this amazing structure, you will understand why.
Prison for Anti-Communists
For around 200 years, the fortress was used as a prison to house the many academics and free thinkers that were regarded as a threat to the regime. Leon Trotsky, who spent many years locked away, was a Marxist revolutionary and was only one of many people who was sent there, mainly to exile them from society. The legend of the so-called terrible prison was largely fabricated to instill fear in the population, and the reality was a completely different story.
The Russian Revolution
During the Russian Revolution of 1917, the fortress was overwhelmed by a large group of mutinous soldiers and all the prisoners freed. On October 25th of the same year, the fortress was taken by the Bolsheviks, and many of the leaders that led the Russian Revolution were held and executed there.
In 1924, much of the fortress was turned into a museum, which took heavy punishment from German bombing in WWII, but you’ll be happy to learn that the fortress has been lovingly restored to its former glory.
Planning your Holiday
The ideal way to experience the Peter and Paul Fortress is to take the Trans-Siberian railway from St. Petersburg to Beijing, which gives you many places of interest to see along the way. You are strongly advised to book your Trans-Siberian railway expedition with an established Trans-Siberian tour operator, who will prove invaluable. Their website will be crammed full of essential information on every aspect of this iconic railway journey, which will whet your appetite for the coming adventure.
Symbol of Oppression
This venue gained the unwanted reputation of being a living hell, where literally thousands of political prisoners were kept in cramped conditions, endlessly tortured and subsequently executed. It is now believed many of the tales were fabricated to put fear into the population, and in fact, the prisoners were not badly treated at all. Rather the thousands of people incarcerated in this prison, it is believed there were never more than 100 prisoners at any given time, and they were allowed certain luxuries, such as tobacco and reading material. When the fortress was stormed by the Bolsheviks in 1917, it is said there were a total of 19 prisoners being held in the fortress.
Disclaimer: This article is published in partnership with Mediabuzzer.