GLOBAL TREASURES: Russia (Peter and Paul Fortress)

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- (Disc 1)
Global Treasures: Peter and Paul Fortress
Ullman, Frank - Television Director

Catalogue Number: GTR-DVD-1090
UPC: 879061006890

Global Treasures - History's Most Protected Monuments - Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa's Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world's heritage. Join us as we explore one of these protected monuments.

The Peter and Paul Fortress is the historic centre of the tsar's city of St. Petersburg and is located on Hare Island, within the mouth of the Neva River. Its slender, gilded bell tower is 122 meters high and is one of the city's most dominant landmarks.

The cathedral was built between 1712 and 1733 and contains both Dutch and Early Baroque building styles. Since Peter the Great, the building was used mainly as a place of burial for the tsars, and the Tsarina Catharine the Great lies within a sarcophagus of white Carrara marble.

Numerous wall paintings and captured flags from the wars against the Swedes and the Osmanic Empire still decorate the splendid interior of the cathedral. In front of the main guard house there is a controversial bronze sculpture by the Russian Mikhail Shemyakin that depicts Peter the Great with a strikingly small head.

The Peter and Paul Fortress never saw battle and was later converted into a state prison. The participants of the December Revolt in 1825 were also imprisoned within its walls, and until the October Revolution in 1917, the fortress also served as a notorious prison for the enemies and critics of the tsars.

During the Revolution, the cannons of the fortress fired 40 shots at the Winter Palace, which is located on the opposite bank of the Neva. Today, the thunder of cannon is a daily event; punctually at noon, a shot is fired from the Naryshkin Bastion. With this simple ceremony, homage is paid to an age-old tradition of Peter the Great, as it was in this way that he announced lunchtime for all the inhabitants of the city!

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