The Peter and Paul Fortress (Petropavlovskaya krepost) stands on its own small island in the River Neva, separated from the north bank by a channel about 70 meters wide.
It served as a prison and place of execution during the time of the Tsars, and many free-thinkers spent time in the grim cells of the Trubetskoi Bastion. One of the most famous was Fyodor Dostoevsky, author of "Crime and Punishment".
The last of the Romanov dynasty, ill-fated Nikolai II, was also reburied here in 1998. He had been shot 80 years earlier at the order of the leader of the October Revolution, Vladimir Lenin.
Just across the water is the Strelka, one of St. Petersburg’s most beautiful spots. Strelka means arrow, which refers to the shape of the end of Basil Island, where the River Neva divides into the Greater and Lesser Nevas.It offers spectacular views of the Winter Palace.
In the middle of the Strelka is the old St Petersburg Stock Exchange, now used as a naval museum.
This tip of land is a favourite spot for newly-weds to come and be photographed, no matter how cold and wet the weather.