Did you know that the Peter and Paul Fortress, the site of our “Architecture as Art” exhibition, has a fascinating history that links two famous figures from different fields?
The fortress was built according to Domenico Trezzini’s designs. He worked on the project from 1706 to the 1730s, under the orders of Peter the Great, who wanted to fortify the city against a potential Swedish invasion.
However, the fortress never saw any military action. Instead, it became a notorious prison for political prisoners. Among them were Peter the Great’s son, Tsarevich Alexei, Princess Tarakanova, the Decembrists, the writers Alexander Radishchev, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Nikolai Chernyshevsky, the traveler Miklukho-Maklai, General Ermolov and Admiral Chichagov, Ataman Platov and the leader of the Polish uprising, Kosciuszko, Lenin’s brother Alexander Ulyanov, and Maxim Gorky. The last prisoners, in 1921, were the participants in the Kronstadt uprising.
But let’s return to Fyodor Dostoevsky. He was arrested in 1849 for his involvement in a revolutionary group and imprisoned in the Peter and Paul Fortress, where he spent eight months in solitary confinement awaiting trial. He was then sentenced to death by firing squad. However, at the last minute, his sentence was commuted to four years of hard labor in Siberia.
The fortress was converted into a museum in 1924 and is now the main attraction of the State Museum of St. Petersburg History. Here, you can discover the city’s rich and turbulent past, as well as the works of the winners of the Golden Trezzini Awards, which celebrate the best architectural projects from around the world.
The next exhibition of our award winners will open at the Peter and Paul Fortress in September 2024.
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