Peterhof (Petrodvorets) is a jewel of Russian art – a town of parks, palaces and fountains. In the past, it was used as an exquisite summer residence by the Russian Tsars. You will visit the Grand Palace – the largest and the most famous palace of the residence which was often used for gala receptions. After this you will proceed to the Lower Park (Nizhny Park) which is a genuine masterpiece of landscape design.
The park is adorned with more than 150 fountains and 4 monumental cascades. There are several small palaces and pavilions on the park territory, such as the Monplaisir, Catherine´s Block, Marli, Hermitage, the Bath Block and many more. If you are ready to walk a lot you will also enjoy a magnificent view of the Gulf of Finland.
Peterhof (Petrodvorets) – is one of the most beautiful series of palaces and parks of St. Petersburg. Its construction began in 1714. As conceived by Peter I Peterhof, on the one hand, had to be equal in splendor to the most famous royal residences in Europe and on the other hand – to become a triumphal monument to the successful completion of the Great Northern War and the Russia’s access to the Baltic Sea.
The brilliant palace and park ensemble of Peterhof, conceived and created at the will of Peter the Great as a counterpart of Versailles, is situated on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland, 29 kilometres from St. Petersburg. In the course of 200 years, it served as a summer residence of the Russian monarchs. In the 18th and 19th centuries it was a setting for majestic receptions, grand festivities, balls, concerts and masquerades. The Peterhof ensemble includes the Upper and Lower Parks with 150 fountains spurting upwards powerful jets of water and foir resplendent cascades. The Peterhof system of water supply is unequalled as concerns the time of its operation. At the edge of the 16-metre high natural terrace soars the Great Palace – the focal centre of the ensemble designed by Rastrelli. The rich display of the palace acquaints its visitors with magnificent state rooms and halls and the living apartments of the Russian Emperors. At the foot of the palace you can see a pageant of the Great Cascade with silvery fountain jets and numerous golden sculptures, including the famous Samson Fountain. Water falling down the cascade runs to the Gulf of Finland.
Peterhof (in Dutch means “the courtyard of Peter”) can be called “Peter’s creation”. To the present day the handwritten drawings of the emperor, the sketches with his notes and corrections, and other documents survived, confirming that Peter I not only worked out the general plan of Peterhof ensemble, but also developed the smaller components of the architectural structures and fountains. The works on the creation of the new residence were carried out with an amazing rapidity, and in August 1723 its grand opening took place. By that time, the Lower Gardens were laid out, the Sea Canal was dug, some fountains were at work, the small palaces “Monplaisir” and “Marley” were built and on the natural 16 m tall ledge the Grand Palace (the “Upper Chambers”) was constructed.
In the middle of the 18th century, the Grand Palace was rebuilt in the Baroque style by Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli. The palace is surrounded by the Upper Regular Garden and the Lower Park where one of the largest fountains of the world – the Grand Cascade works. The compositional center of the Cascade is the fountain “Samson” with the statue of the biblical Samson tearing the lion’s mouth. This fountain became the symbol of the Russian victory over the Swedes: lion was part of the coat of arms of Sweden, and Peter was often compared to Samson. This is the highest Peterhof fountain which sprays water 20 m into the air.
In general, the palace and park ensemble of Peterhof has 19 palaces – museums, located also in Alexandria, Oranienbaum and Strelna.
Opening hours: 10:30 to 18:00, closed Mondays, cleanup day – the last Tuesday of the month.