Last year I celebrated my birthday in the city of my heart – Saint-Petersburg. I wanted to do something special on this day and go on a day trip.
As it happened the only available daytrip (on the spot) was to Shlisselburg Fortress. Well, I’ve never been there, why not.
If you read the article on Wikipedia, you will learn that ‘the fortress at Shlisselburg is one of a series of fortifications built on an island in Lake Ladoga, near the present-day city of St. Petersburg, Russia. The first fortress was built in 1323. It was the scene of many conflicts between Russia and Sweden and changed hands between the two empires. During World War II, it was heavily damaged. Today it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments.
These days, the fortress is a tourist site. Millions of tourists from around the world find their way across the waters of Never river or Ladoga lake to see this old fortress and to glimpse at its secrets.
I had the most amazing time on the island. Lake Ladoga is a huge body of water with its own secrets and history was very blue and icy cold but mesmerisingly beautiful.
Secrets for the fortress from past and present lie behind very thick walls.
Shlisselburg, in comparison to other places you can visit around Saint-Petersburg is not about beauty and luxury, royalty and glamour. It is living history, shocking and horrible, ugly and ghostly.