The foundation of the Peter and Paul Fortress in May 1703 is considered to be the birthday of city of St. Petersburg. The fortress was built in wood and was later replaced in stone by the Swiss architect Trezini.
Originally the fortress served to protect the newly established Russian capital from imminent attacks of the Swedish Fleet, and was later turned into a prison. Many political prisoners were kept or executed on its territory, including Peter the Great's son Alexis, members of the 1812 Decembrists' uprising, Russian thinker Chernyshevsky, Lenin's brother Dmitry, and many others. Nowadays, the fortress serves as a museum of Russian history, as well as houses the Mint of St. Petersburg.
The Peter and Paul Cathedral was the first stone building of St. Petersburg. It was the city's main cathedral until St. Isaac's Cathedral was built over 150 years later. The Cathedral is the official burial place of the Romanov Royal family with monarchs starting from Peter the Great to Nicholas II and his family resting in peace under its naves.
The adjacent Grand Dukes' Burial Place houses tombs of the Romanovs of the lower rank. The Boat House located next to the Peter and Paul Cathedral is a modern replica of the original boat house of Peter the Great where his first sailboat nicknamed "The Grandfather of the Russian Fleet" was kept.