Trubetskoy Bastion Prison (Peter and Paul Fortress)
This was the main political prison of Tsarist Russia which was built in 1872, and prior to this political prisoners (including the son of Peter the Great, Princess Tarakanova, and the Decembrists) were held in various locations on the island. To isolate the prisoners, architects designed a two-storey, pentagonal building with 72 individual cells placed in a circle. The cells were measured out by 10 steps diagonally, and 6 steps long.
Completed in 1872, the prison in the Trubetskoy Bastion became the main destination for political prisoners in the final decades of Tsarist rule. Among the inmates held in the 69 isolation cells over nearly 50 years were the celebrated zoologist and anarchist Pyotr Kropotkin; Alexander Ulianov, the elder brother of Vladimir Lenin, who was hanged for his role in an attempted assassination of Alexander III; Leon Trotsky, arrested for his role in the St. Petersburg Soviet of Workers of 1905; the writer Maxim Gorky, and numerous other prominent left-wing figures. In 1917, the prison was used first to hold ministers of the Tsarist government and then, after the October Revolution, of Krensky's Provisional Government. Although it was officially closed in March 1918, the last prisoners held in the Trubetskoy Bastion were in fact the participants in the Kronstadt Rebellion of 1921.
Visitors to the exhibition not only get a chance to see the walls and cells of this forbidding building recreated exactly as they would have been in different eras of the prison's existence, but also a modern museum display employing archive materials, photography, and multimedia material to represent both the day-to-day life of the prison and the fates of its many famous inmates.