Tsar Peter the Great had originally lived in a tiny cabin, which became known as the Cabin of Peter the
Great. The Summer Palace was built for him in 1714, and also the Winter Palace not far down the river.
There were no bridges across the mighty Neva River and people had to be ferried across by boat (this
is why they call St. Petersburg "the Venice of the North").
The original downtown was formed in the area between the fortress and the Cabin of Peter the Great,
the place which later became the Trinity Square. The city center's focal point was
near the city's first church, the Trinity Church. Houses for the local elite, the Gostinyi
Dvor (a market for local and visiting merchants) and several inns and bars were also built.
Most of the higher class social events (receptions, balls, etc.)
took place either in the Summer Gardens
or in the palace of the Governor General of St. Petersburg, the luxurious Menshikov Palace.
Very few buildings from the early 18th century have survived: many were torn down or remodelled.
The building of the "Twelve Colleges" and the Kikin House might give you an impression of what the
original city looked like. Many of the original buildings in the city were built according to a number
of typical designs, approved by the tsar. Some buildings in the city center still bear the mark of this
early architecture. When Peter the Great died in 1725, his wife Catherine assumed power and then
the rulers started changing every few years, overthrowing one another.