The first cathedral in St. Petersburg, it was laid down by Peter the Great, along with the Peter and Paul Fortress. It was important for the emperor to set the church off against Moscow – both in terms of height (it is higher than the Ivan the Great Bell Tower in the Kremlin) and style (it was done in the tradition of European architecture, and is not Byzantine).
The cathedral became the burial vault for Russia’s emperors, stating with Peter the Great himself and ending with the fall of the Romanov dynasty. In 1998, they brought over the remains of the family members of Nicholas II – they had been shot in 1918 in Yekaterinburg. The cathedral represents an important place to gain an understanding of the country’s history and culture; a visit here is part of our guided tour to Peter and Paul Fortress.