The St. Peter and Paul Fortress, St. Petersburg: This historic city was founded by Peter The Great (though not named after him, the hounour went to St. Peter). I’ve chosen the fortress because it was the first structure built in the city. The story goes that Peter was fighting against the Swedes and he drew a cross on the ground and said, “Here shall be born St.Petersburg.” It looks over a river and is like a vast version of Venice.
PERM-36: A slightly morbid choice, but this is the last of the political prison camps of the Soviet Age and it’s been preserved. It didn’t close until 1087. Back then, if you were found guilty of subversion or anti-state propaganda you’d be sent here. You can see the tiny cells for solitary confinement. They tried to break people’s spirit. Happily, they didn’t always succeed.