Prison Crosses

The most famous prison in Russia

The prison “Crosses” (Russian: Kresty) in Saint Petersburg is the most famous Russian prison. The first isolator was constructed there already in 1868. There were 960 cells for up to 1800 people. The modern complex was projected in 1890 by the architect Antony Tomishko. The prison got its name “Crosses” from a special configuration of a two five-stored buildings that are connected with an administrative office. On the top there is the Church of Alexander Nevsky.

The construction of 1884-1892 took place in a unique way: prisoners from an old prison building built a new one, then moved there. The old building was destroyed. The facade masonry, made of red bricks, resembled a castle. A dungeon was exceptional and served as a sample for European prisons. There were electricity, a sewage system, ventilation and heating.

Prison Kresty in Saint Petersburg, Russia

At first, the prison “Crosses” was used for keeping inmates for criminal and political delicts. After the revolution of 1905, there were only political culprits. After the revolution of 1917, “Crosses” were filled with people from the Tsar government, gendarmerie and police.

The church of the prison was closed in November 1918, the dome crosses were thrown off, and the premises were used for other purposes. When the country suffered from the Great Purge of Stalin’s times, the prison was filled up with people, convicted under Article 58 (counter-revolutionary activities). Some famous people were among the prisoners, such as the future Marshal Konstantin Rokossovsky, the historian L. Gumilev, the artist G. Zhzhenov, the orientalist T. Shumovsky.

Quite often military specialists got in “Crosses”. They united in a special entity, called “sharashki” among other prisoners. During the hard times, many talented mathematicians, constructors, engineers and physics developed new templates of military weapons. During the Siege, the prison was secured by women and aged people. After the war, a cartonnage factory opened on the prison territory. Nowadays, the prison keeps people on remand. In 2004 the church was adorned with previously lost crosses.

The prison’s museum is currently closed, however, it is possible to view the complex from the outside during a boat tour.

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Information About the Excursion


Open all year round for external sightseeing.

Public Transport

Arsenalnaya Embankment 7
Metro / Subway
Lenin Square
Mikhailova Street
28, 37, 106, 107, 133
Mikhailova StreetK-106, K-107, K-137, K-178, K-191, K-254, K-258, K-28k, K-30, K-32, K-367, K-530


Prison "Crosses" is a part of my private tour:

Also, you can customize a tour or book inside excursion to any close-by sights.


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