This stronghold was built to secure Russia's hold on the Neva delta and is the seed of this famous city of now more than 5 million residents. Native villagers were forced to labor from sun up to sun down on Zayachiy (Hare) Island in order to construct the Fortress within a seven month period during 1703. During 1718 the Fortress was utilized as a prison, known, ironically as the "Russian Bastile." Today the island is a favorite with sunbathers, and in the winter with the "walruses", people who swim in the frigid waters. Inside the cathedral which is the spire you see here, you will find the final resting place for several former rulers.

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