Peter and Paul Fortress St Petersburg
The Peter and Paul Fortress in St Petersburg, Russia. Taken by Alex Florstein.

*Click on the photo to open up its full-sized view.

The Peter & Paul Fortress in the northwestern Russian city of St. Petersburg has Peter the Great as its namesake, just like the city that it sits in. Peter the Great was once the tsar and ruler of Russia, and he established this fortress in the year 1703.

Built originally to protect against a Swedish attack, it soon became a prison for political prisoners; today, it is a favorite of tourists.

The centerpiece of the whole fortress is the Peter and Paul Cathedral, which looks like it is plated entirely in gold. The tall, golden bell tower is the world’s tallest Orthodox bell tower (anything can set a record these days). Within the cathedral is the resting place of all Russian tsars from Peter I to Alexander III, save two of them. The beach outside the fortress is also a hotspot for tourists and locals alike, as you can see from the photo above.