Work on the Peter and Paul Fortress started a few weeks later, on 27th May 1703. Initially comprising six bastions constructed of earth and timber it was later replaced by a stone building. This citadel never saw military action, but rather became the centre of the city of St. Petersburg – named after the apostle Peter.
The Tsar conscripted serfs from across Russia to work on the city, which quickly grew around Trinity Square on the right bank of the Neva. The city was the centrepiece of Peter’s modernisation programme and as such he made it his capital in 1712, an honour the city enjoyed for over two hundred years, except for one four-year period (1728-32) when Peter II made Moscow his capital.