Kronstadt is a town located on Kotlin Island in the Gulf of Finland, 29 km north-west of St Petersburg. The length of the island is 12 km, and its maximum width is 2 km, it is 15 sq. km in area. The civic population of the town of Kronstadt consists of about 50,000 people. A base of the Russian Baltic Navy occupies about one half of the island.
This town on the isle of Kotlin in the Gulf of Finland is well known worldwide. In ancient times it was one of the many towns located along the great trade water route. The fort of Kronshlot was sanctified on the 7th of May 1704. This day can be marked as the beginning of the history of this sea-fortress, trade port and the town which is considered to be one of the most noteworthy creations of Peter the Great. The town's historical heritage can be seen in the tumbledown forts along the dam connecting Kronshtadt with the northern gulf shore.
On the 7 (18) of October, 1723 the town and fortress were named Kronstadt, or "The city of crown", after the original Kronstadt fort. The history of Kronstadt is tightly linked with the history of the city on the Neva river, St Petersburg. The fortification and construction of the town have always been considered matters of the utmost importance. The town which was originally built as a fortress, was later considered to be a part of the capital of Russia by Peter the Great. This is why Kronstadt, like St Petersburg, was developed according to the detailed plans of Peter the Great. Many associates of Peter the Great, as well as other celebrated people of that time, both lived and worked in the town of Kronstadt, leaving behind a variety of architecture and unique fortifications within it. Currently there are more than 300 monuments of history, engineering, and culture in Kronstadt. Among them one can find unique ensembles, hydro technical and fortification buildings including the Kronstadt Fort and the self-draining channel - "dock of Peter the Great", which was built during the period between 1719 and 1752 and was the first building of this kind in the world. Visitors will also be equally impressed by the full size model of a military settlement of the 17th century. The St John Maritime Cathedral, built at the beginning of the 20th century and many other monuments make the architectural image of this town-fortress-port.
Kronstadt is the starting and the ending point of the voyages of Russian sailors. It is in this town that trans-world expeditions, voyages to America, expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic began. The most famous and celebrated navigators and naval commanders studied, served and led their scientific research in Kronstadt.
Kronstadt has also played an important role in the history of Russian science. Many outstanding inventions and discoveries were made and tested in the town, such as Butakov's mechanical telegraph, undersea mines, torpedoes and the submarine of Alexandrovski. At the end of the 19th century the first anti-plague laboratory in Europe was established in one of Kronstadt's forts. In 1910 scientists in Kronstadt became pioneers when they began the chlorination of drinking water (this began in Paris and London only in 1916). It was the invention of a radio in April, 1885 by A.S.Popov, who was a professor of Military Class, that is considered to be the ultimate achievement of Kronstadt's scientists.
In addition, many writers, poets, artists, and musicians lived in Kronstadt and devoted their pieces of art to the town (Karamsin, Pushkin, Goncharov, Dal', Korolenko, Novikov-Priboy, Rimsky-Korsakov, Kui, Aivasovski).
Today the town of Kronshtadt continues to practice the traditions it has be come known for across the world.