Nothern Capital of Russia

Автор: Maks Ноя 24, 2020

It was in the year 1703, on 16 May (according to the old calendar), that Tsar Peter I stood on Hare Island near the mouth of the River Neva and laid the ceremonial cornerstone for St. Peter Fortress.

Immediately afterward work began on erecting modest wooden housing on City Island across the river. Records show that on that same day the tsar determined the location of the fortress’ church. With a regal gesture Peter signaled that the excavation should commence. The labourers lowered into the first trench a casket carved of stone, in which Peter placed a solid gold sacramental chest containing the holy relics of St. Andrew the Apostle, revered as protector and patron saint of Holy Russia.

Twelve days after these ceremonies, Peter moved into his new quarters, a house built of pine logs by army carpenters. The simple residence had a bedroom and two bright, airy rooms that served as study and dining room.

On Peter’s birthday in 1706 the cornerstone was laid for the first stone bastion of Saints Peter and Paul Fortress, thus inaugurating the stone and brick construction that continued in St. Petersburg almost unabated for the next two hundred years. The building of the fortress was put under the direction of Italian architect Domenico Trezzini. Since the city was one of the first in the world to be laid out according to advance planning, Peter culled Europe for its best architects, inviting them to Russia to aid in design and construction.

By 1712, only nine years after its founding, the new city named in honour of St. Peter was ready, by decree of Tsar Peter, to replace Moscow as capital of Russia. According to the ukase issued that year, all members of the tsar’s court and those holding government posts were to hasten to relocate to St.

Petersburg, the city in which they were to build domiciles and reside permanently.

St. Petersburg remained the capital of the Russian Empire for 215 years. In 1918 Soviet authorities, most of whom reviled and feared the imperial culture of St. Petersburg, returned the capital to Moscow.

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