Peter and Paul's Fortress
St. Petersburg thus started as a fortress to protect the lands along the banks of the Neva river and the Gulf of Finland from Sweden. In fact these lands had always been an apple of discord between Russia and its "northern neighbor" Sweden. Separate fights were held throughout centuries up until 1700 when a war was started that was one of the most important happenings in the history of St. Petersburg and Russia and that came down into history as the Northern War. It was started by the Swedish king Karl XII. For Peter I who was the ruler of our country then the main purpose of the war was to regain the lands along the Neva and the Gulf of Finland that were lost to Sweden in 1617 as a result of a peace treaty.
The beginning of the 17th century was a hard time for Russia when Lithuania and Poland were trying to capture Moscow. Russia was weak and without a tsar then and it asked Sweden for help. As a result of this "help" Russia lost the access to the Baltic Sea.
The country could not develop without it that is why in 1700 Peter entered this war that lasted for 21 years and was ended in 1721 with a total victory of Russia. To protect the newly regained lands Peter and Paul's Fortress was founded on a little Hare's Island.
The fortress developed into a city under the rule of the Romanovs - the ruling dynasty in Russia from Peter's grandfather Mikhail until the last Russian emperor Nicholas II.