When Peter the Great founded St Petersburg in 1703, the Great Northern War (1700-1721) with Sweden was in its early stages. To protect the gulf approach to St Petersburg, Peter began building the Kronstadt Fortress in 1704: its’ construction was overseen by Prince Menshikov. The fortress on the Island of Kotlin, also contained shipyards. Monuments on the Island are linked to the history of the Russian Naval fleet.
Kronshtadt is also famous because in 1921, its’ battalion mutinied against the Bolshevik’s harsh revolutionary policies. The governments’ response was to slaughter almost the entire battalion. During Soviet times the city was closed. It opened again in 1996, and today, it is a charming place to view rusting warships, naval symbols, and other remains of Soviet naval glory.
The cities striking Byzantine cathedral has an excellent museum of naval and local history. While getting there by car we will drive along an 18 mile barrier built across a section of the Gulf of Finland to control flooding (over 300 in St Petersburg history). Tidal waves sweep inland during severe storms. In 1824 the water level rose over four meters killing 569 people.