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City news, 24.07.2001 12:54

Smolny is taken to aim.

C: .jpg Peter and Paul Fortress guns were aimed at Smolny. Earlier they were directed to the Hermitage. It was made because when blast wave reached the windows of the museum alarm worked out. The administration of the fortress considered the opinion of the Hermitage officials. Guns will be taken to another bulwark and will be redirected. Thus, because of the big distance blast wave will not reach Smolny, where is the office of city authorities.

The tradition of firing a time gun from the Peter and Paul fortress can be traced to 1703 when, on the orders of Tsar Peter the First, construction began of a fortress to guard the entrance to the River Neva.

The gun's firing also served to warn of a sharp rise in the level of River Neva or the arrival of pack ice. Further firings signaled the start of a thaw and the renewed shipping link. The original fortress ramparts were made of earth but were replaced by brick at the end of the 18th century.

The current noon day time gun (since 1938) is a 152-mm howitzer fired by members of an organisation consisting of retired naval officers.

(c) 2000