The St Petersburg Noon Day Guns.
photograph courtesy of Morrison MacGregor-Gunn
Peter the Great made plans to build a European city on marsh lands by the River Neva . It was built in quick fashion intended to a create trade link with the outside west and construction included a fortress to guard the entrance to the River Neva.
The gun's firing also served to warn of a sharp rise in the level of the Neva or the arrival of pack ice.
Further firings signaled the start of a thaw and the renewed shipping link. The original fortress ramparts were made of earth but were replaced by brick at the end of the 18th century.
Much of the city's splendour is owed to Catherine the Great as she perused her aim of making a city all would envy. It is now an major attraction for travellers with its 150 museums and fine architecture linked by a fairy tale bridge system.
The Winter Palace was stormed by the Bolsheviks in the October revolution 1917 to rid Russia of its oppressive Czarist domination. The city was besieged by Hitler's invading force for 900 days during
the Great Patriotic War.
As the local people and visitors brows the sights and dream of a powerful and intriguing past the are brought back to reality by a bang from the noon day gun. Two guns are readied to avoid a 'misfire' as occured when Edinburgh's famous One o.clock Gun was inaugurated!
From 1914 to 1924 St. Petersburg was known as Petrograd.
From 1924 to 1991 Leningrad.
From 1991 following the fall of communism the city has reverted its name back to St Petersburg.