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The Boat House (Botnyy Domik) (Peter and Paul Fortress)




Arch. A.Vist(1762-1765), Zayachiy Ostrov

On May 27, 1703 the Sankt-Petersburg fortress was founded on Zayatchy (Hare) island. The island is only 600 meters long and 350 meters wide. However, the fortress was constructed in the strategically important place of the Neva River»s estuary. At first, the fortress was called Sankt-Petersburg (Saint-Petersburg) - the city of Holy Peter. Later, the Saints» Peter and Paul Cathedral was built on the territory of the island and the name was changed to the Petropavlovskaya (Peter and Paul) Fortress.

The Peter and Paul Fortress was supposed to be the Russia»s key to the European maritime communications - Russian outlet to the Baltic Sea, by Peter the Great. The enterprising emperor designed the plan of its construction himself. The fortress has an elongated form from East to West and the walls repeat the island»s outline. Pentagonal bastions at the corners of the fortress constructed under the supervision of Peter the Great and his close associates got their names - His Majesty»s, Menshikov,, Zotov,, Trubetskoy,, Golovkin, and Naryishkin,. The bastions are connected with the others by six curtains - Peter»s, Catherine»s, Neva»s, Basil»s, Nicholas and Kronverk. A canal was dug through the island to supply the garrison of the Saint-Petersburg fortress with ammunition, hardware and fresh water that was later covered with earth in 1882. The walls of the fortress were mainly made of earth and wooden planks in 1703. Their replacement with solid masonry constructions started in May 1706 and lasted till 1740. The Swiss architect Domenico Tresini designed bastions and curtains of the fortress to 12 meters high and to 20 wide. These military fortifications consist of two parallel walls. The external walls are from 4 to 8 meters thick, while the internal ones are to 2,5 meters. Casemates for soldiers and storage of ammunition were arranged between two walls. The fortress has six gates and the main is the Petrine Gate designed by Domenico Tresini . The gate was rebuilt in stone to the design of the same architect in 1718. The Petrine gate imitates a triumphal gate of the Russian victories over Sweden. The construction of ravelins - additional fortification structures, designed to protect Eastern and Western gates of the Peter and Paul fortress, started in 1731. The Eastern Ioanovsky ravelin is called in honour of Peter I»s brother - Ivan, while the Western Alekseevsky ravelin - after his father Aleksey Mikhailovitch.



Domenico Tresini presided the construction of the Peter and Paul Cathedral in 1712-1733. At first the 122,5 meters belfry was constructed to symbolize the Russian steadfast position on the banks of the Neva River and the Baltic Sea. It was the highest structure on the territory of Saint-Petersburg from 1718 to 1963, when the present 316-meters TV-tower was built. The bell tower ends with a 32-meters high golden spire, a turning cross with the figure of an angel. A Dutch chiming clock bought by the order of Peter the Great was placed on the top. The Peter and Paul Cathedral has an elongated rectangular form with a high belfry on the western side instead of a high central cupola in the Old Russian architecture. Inside the cathedral is divided into three naves by two rows of pylons that support groined vaults. Murals and sculptures depicting angels, chirrups and instruments of Christ»s torture decorate the vaults. One of the most precious exhibits of the Peter and Paul cathedral is an 18th-century iconostasis. It was made of oak and linden by a group of skilled craftsmen headed by Ivan Zaroudny in Moscow in 1722-1725. Then it was transported to Saint-Petersburg and was placed inside the cathedral in 1727. The iconostasis was designed in the form of a triumphal arch, symbolizing the Russian victory in the Northern war over Sweden. The tsar»s place, the pulpit and copies of Turkish and Swedish military banners impart a solemnity to the decoration of the Peter and Paul Cathedral. In 1756, a thunderbolt struck the high spire, the belfry with the figure of the angel burnt to the ground, and the inside of the cathedral was badly damaged as well. Only twenty years later the bell tower was completely rebuilt. The badly weathered frameworks of the belfry were replaced with the exact copies made of steel to the design of civil engineer Zuravsky in 1858. Then the height of the bell tower was increased to 122.5 meters due to the computation error. The Peter and Paul Cathedral was a burial place of all Russian tsars. All Russian emperors from Peter I to Nicholas II, except Peter II and Ivan IV, all Russian empresses and many Grand Dukes were buried there. The Grand Ducal Burial Vault, designed by Grimm, Tomishko and Benua, was constructed near the Eastern side of the Peter and Paul cathedral in 1896-1906. Thirteen members of the Romanovs» family were buried there before the Bolshevik October Revolution in 1917.

A number of subsidiary buildings were constructed on the territory of the Peter and Paul fortress: ordnance depot, commandant»s house, mint, guardhouse, engineers» house, jail of the Trubetskoy bastion. Today many buildings accommodate exhibitions about the foundation, construction and history of Saint-Petersburg. An excursion route called the Neva»s gala panorama was arranged on the bastions and curtains of the fortress that overlook the Neva River.

7. Zoological Park (It was established in 1865), Alexandrovskiy Park, 1.

ZOOLOGICAL PARK (until 1952, the Zoological Garden), a cultural, educational and scientific institution, where wild and certain domestic animals are kept, demonstrated and studied. It is situated on Petrogradskaya Side, on the former location of the Alexandrovsky Garden. Its area is about 7.4 ha. The collection of animals consists of approximately 2,000 examples of 408 species (80 are are considered to be internationally endangered species while 42 are endangered in Russia, 15 are protected in the territory of Leningrad Region). The Zoological Park was opened on 1 August 1865; its first owners were Sofia Gebgardt and her husband Julius Gebgardt (died in 1871). After her husband»s death S. Gebgardt married E.A. Rost (1842-1908, who owned the Zoological Garden from 1873. Under Rost the Zoological Garden was supplied with the very latest equipment, and the collection grew to 200 species and 1,200 animals, birds and reptiles. A sewage system and electrical lighting was arranged, a theatre was built for 500 seats. The Zoological Garden had its own brass band and later on a symphony orchestra; the Zoology restaurant was also located at the park. In 1897, Rost departed to Germany and the Zoological Garden had gradually declined. After 1910, the Zoological Garden was practically re-created again under a new lessee, actor and entrepreneur S.N. Novikov (1850-1922): a number of pavilions were built for animals; city-residents could again see lions, hippopotamuses, rhinoceros, elephants and other exotic animals. Three theatres ran in the Zoological Garden, the open air theatre, the restaurant theatre, the shooting gallery and the carrousel. Performing animals acted there, children could ride on ponies or donkeys. A big wooden theatre was predominantly used for performing operettas. In 1918, the Zoological Garden was nationalised, zoologist N.P. Tanasiychuk (1890-1960) was appointed its manager, the general direction was performed by the Scientific Council (abolished in 1924), which included the most eminent zoologists. From 1929, the Young Zoologists Society has been working in the Garden. For the 75th anniversary of the Garden in 1940, 171 ha in the region of the Udelny Park were given to the Zoological Garden; however, military operations rendered the plans for constructing a new zoological garden impossible. During the Siege of 1941-44, workers of the Zoological Garden continued working in difficult circumstances (in memory of their exploits the old name of Leningrad Zoological Garden has been retained). The Zoological Garden was opened to visitors in the summer months, and from 1944 it has been working throughout the year (the animal theatre never ceased working). In 1952, the Zoological Garden was given part of еру garden of the State People»s House, and its territory increased by more then 2.5 times. In the 1950s-60s, many interesting animals were brought to the park where acclimatisation experiments were conducted. The collection and the level of scientific and educational work carried out in the Zoological Garden was the best in the country.

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