Peter and Paul Fortress, St. Petersburg
When Peter the Great reclaimed the lands along the Neva River in 1703, he decided to build a fort to protect the area from possible attack by the Swedish army and navy. The fortress was founded on a small island in the Neva delta on May 27,1703 and that day became the birthday of the city of St Petersburg.
In the middle of the fortress stands the impressive Peter and Paul Cathedral, the burial place of all the Russian Emperors and Empresses from Peter the Great to Alexander III. On top of the cathedral's gilded spire stands a magnificent golden angel holding a cross. This weathervane is one of the most prominent symbols of St Petersburg, and at 404 feet tall, the cathedral is the highest building in the city. Other buildings in the fortress include the City History Museum and the Mint, one of only two places in Russia where coins and medals are minted.