Kronstadt holds the distinguished honor of being Russia's primary naval outpost and center of events that have shaped Russian history.
Tucked away on Kotlin Island in the Gulf of Finland, just 30 kilometers west of St. Petersburg, you can find Kronstadt, a strategic naval base and a maritime port, which is famous for its pivotal role in the uprising of the Red Navy against the Bolshevik's harsh revolutionary policies in 1921.
In 1983, a bridge was built connecting the island to the mainland, and in 1996, restrictions on public access were lifted. Now open for viewing, visitors are treated to an intimate look into the naval base of Russia's Baltic fleet, which was established in 1703 when Peter the Great's forces seized the island from the Swedes in the Great Northern War.
In tribute, The Kronstadt Museum displays upwards of 8,000 documents, photos and objects related to the city's 300-year history, to include items recovered from shipwrecks. At the town center overlooking the Kryukov Canal, the beautiful Naval Cathedral of St. Nicholas at Anchors Square (also known as Jakornaja or Yakornaya Square) stands as a memorial to fallen seamen who perished during Russia's maritime challenges and victories.
Visitors are also treated to The Wooden Lighthouse, monuments to naval heroes, ships nestled in the harbor and an opportunity to enjoy the relaxing pace of this quiet little seaside town; stopping for lunch, strolling the shoreline and catching views of St. Petersburg on a clear day.
While foreigners understandably gravitate to the grand palaces and world-famous attractions in St. Petersburg, historical Kronstadt is worlds apart from the fast-paced glamor of the city.
Tourists find that aside from the occasional foreigner, it is mostly Russian citizens who come to Kronstadt, bringing with them a deep respect for its significance in the chronicles of Russian history. After all, this small island stronghold stands out as the naval fortress that no enemy ships have been able to pass since the time of Peter the Great.
Interested to visit Kronstadt? If so, click on the links below or scroll down the page to learn more.
Located in the middle of a nice square the striking Byzantine St Nicholas Naval Cathedral is one of the most beautiful buildings in the St. Petersburg region, and the main attraction of Kronstadt.
Constructed on Anchors Square to memorialize sailors who perished, the cathedral was designed by Vasily Kosiakov, the director of Civil Engineers, who took Hagia Sophia in Constantinople as his prototype. He gave the western facade of the cathedral a mighty portal and divided up the inner space with two tie arcades. The cathedral is decorated with ornamental mosaic and murals and the floors are of different coloured marble slabs set in brass.
The huge 70-metre high cathedral with a 27-metre diameter dome was built in 1902-13 on the highest point in Kronstadt. It was consecrated in the name of St. Nicholas, on June 10, 1913 and it served primarily as a garrison church for the sailors quartered in the town.
The Kronstadt museum is home to 300 years of history about the town, fortress, and port of Kronstadt with 8,000 items ranging from the 18th through 20th centuries. Together with the Kronstadt museum, there is also the Blockade room, an interactive exhibit within the Museum devoted to events in the 20th Century: The Revolution of 1905-1907, The Civil War, The Intervention and The Kronstadt Rebellion. A tour inside both of these sights offers you an excellent insight into the local naval history.
The Memorial Apartment of St. John of Kronstadt is a holy place to pray for everyone.
Modest rooms where Fr. John Sergeiv lived from 1855 to 1908 while serving at the Cathedral of St. Andrew. Thousands of people from all over the country came to hear his sermons. He is considered an iconic Russian Orthodox priest having a profound spiritual impact to this day.
John of Kronstadt was a Russian Orthodox archpriest and a member of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. He was known for his mass common confessions, numerous miracles and charitable work, as well as for his monarchist, chauvinistic, antisemitic and anticommunist views.
The history of Kronstadt begins in Autumn 1703, when on the orders of Peter I the Kronskot (crown castle) fort begun on a sandbank to the south of Kotlin Island to cover the shipping channel onto the mouth of the Neva River.
From the days of Tsar Peter's acquisition and fortification of this remote fortress, all the way to The Revolution of 1905, the Civil War of 1917, the Kronstadt Rebellion of 1921 and WWII when the Baltic fleet fought Nazi Germany, this small port town has had legendary influence in Russia's critical military engagements.
By the early 20th century the mighty fortresses and forts of Kronstadt, modernized to the very latest standards of the time, included seventeen artificial islands and fortified batteries on the north and south shores of the Gulf of Finland. It was these fortifications that enabled the town to hold out during the attack of the Nazi in WWII.
The entrance to the Naval Cathedral is free, while the entrance to the Historical Museum of Kronstadt and other attractions nearby are not free but tickets are cheap and you can buy them on the spot only. No e-tickets are available! Basically, you don't need to buy tickets in advance as it is all available inside by schedule.
Kronstadt is around one hour driving away from the center of the city of Saint Petersburg.
If you want to get there independently the least expensive way to travel from St. Petersburg to Kronstadt is by buses that depart every 15-20 minutes from the following subway stations: Bus N.101 from Staraya Derevnya, Bus K-405 from Chernaya Rechka, Bus K-407 from Prospekt Prosvescheniya. To get to these bus stations you can take the Metro.
Alternatively, taxi's are also available, but it is recommended to arrange for your return prior to arrival, as it may prove difficult getting a taxi out of Kronstadt back to St. Petersburg. Personally speaking, we recommend that you get there by car. You can hire a driver with car and travel there easily and stress-free.
INFO ABOUT THE CATHEDRAL
Address: Kronstadt, Anchor Square 1
Telephone: 8 (921) 379-29-93
Open daily from
10 am to 6 pm. Last admission is at 5 pm.
Photo and video: Not allowed inside the cathedral
Accessibility note: This museum is not wheelchair accessible.
INFO ABOUT THE MUSEUM OF KRONSTADT
Address: Yakornaya square, Building 2a
Telephone: (812) 435-08-73
Open: Daily, 11 am to 6 pm. Last admission is at 5 pm. Closed on Wednesday.
Admission: Adult: Rubles 150.00; Schoolchildren and Pensioners: Rubles 75.00; Children under 7 years old is free. Guided Excursion for a group up to 15 people: Rubles 600, but from 16 people onward there is an additional 40 Rubles to pay per person. Free entry to the museum is provided to persons under the age of eighteen once a month every third Tuesday of the month.
Photo and video: Free
Accessibility note: This museum is not wheelchair accessible.
For further information about other attractions on site, time, and costs, please visit the official website of kronstadt.
For those who are passionate about military history and likes architecture and cathedrals a trip to Kronstandt is really worth a visit. The naval cathedral is gorgeous and not so popular with tourists because of its location. Also, the journey itself to Kronshtadt is absolutely worth making for its own sake, the stretch from Lakhta to Lisiy Nos especially, and the dacha areas and high rise outskirts of the city.
Finding an accommodation near Kronstadt is not easy as the city is located on a small island surrounded by the Gulf of Finland. There is only one hotel in the island, which is called Viktoria. Apart from the hotel there are apartments and guesthouses to look for, but no more than that. Nearby you can't find anything else as there is a bridge that divide the island from St Petersburg. Our advice is to find an accommodation in the city and then plan a day trip there.
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