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English / USA Language: English / USA

The Peter and Paul Fortress is infamous for its prisons. During the Russian Revolution in the early 20th century, opponents of the tsar described it as a hellish place, where thousands of prisoners were held in dirty, overcrowded rooms, subjected to torture and suffering from malnutrition. The truth, however, is that no more than a hundred prisoners were ever imprisoned there at any one time, and most of them had access to tobacco, writing paper and books, including those considered subversive, such as Karl Marx's Das Kapital; and indeed, when the fortress was conquered by the revolutionaries during the revolts led by the Bolsheviks in February 1917, there were just nineteen prisoners.

 

An interesting fact: One of the first prisoners to be held in the fortress was the son of Peter the Great, Alexei, who in June 1718 was tortured into confessing he had betrayed his father, and died there on July 7.

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