Petrodvorets, Peterhof Petersburg

Peterhof Petersburg Peter the Great's campaign journal records that on 13 September 1705 the Tsar's boat dropped anchor by the wuth shore of the Gulf of Finland where there was a small manor named Peterhof. This is believed to be the first mention of the famous imperial residence in St Petersburg suburbs.
Its rapid development began in 1717, when Peter visited the court of the young Louis XV and was delighted by his royal palaces and parks outside Paris. Peter believed that Russia should have architectural marvels on a par with Versailles and the work to reconstruct Peterhof begun in 1714 now acquired urgency and a new scale. Within ten years several palaces had already been built - the Upper Chambers, Monplaisir and the Marly, the garden ensembles of the Lower Park had been formed and a number of fountains put into operation. The French ambassador wrote to Louis XV of the amazing speed with which the residence was being created. One of the 18th century's grandest palace and fountain ensembles, produced in a single decade, was Peter's challenge to the gloomy northern landscape, a demonstration of his unbending will no less impressive than his great military victories.
The Peterhof ensemble was practically completed in its present form by the middle of the 18th century, in the reign of Empress Elizabeth, when work here was directed by Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli. In the 1740s he enlarged Peter's Upper Chambers, turning them into a grand imperial palace to rival the finest in Europe and laid out the regular Upper Garden, adding the glorious Baroque entrance gates.
Peterhof has parks with a total area of 1,000 hectares, five palaces, dozens of fountains, thousands of works of painting, sculpture and applied art. It remained one of the most important ensembles in the St Petersburg suburbs, retaining its significance and brilliance even when European monarchies went into crisis and decline.
Splendid Peterhof parks and fountains inspired the Great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin:
Great fountains upward, to the sky,
Send sprays of gems, then down, enwreathing
The statues that, alive and breathing,
Around them stand. If Phidias' eye
On these could rest, he, though by Pallas
And by Apollo taught, would, jeatous,
His magic point and chisel drop....
In swift and fiery arcs that shatter
Gainst marble barriers which stop
Their headlong downward plunge and scatter
The tiny motes of pearly dust,
The waterfalls cascade, white just
A few steps farther out, in nooks
By thick trees shadowed, rippling brooks
Plash sleepily... The vivid greenness
Is by the whiteness here and there
Flecked of the lightly-built pavilions
That offer shelter from the glare...
And roses, roses everywhere!..
Peterhof, near St. Petersburg, photo

To enlarge the image click on the picture

Peterhof Train Station Monument Navy Pier Grand Cascade Cathedral
Photo: Peterhof, the view from above. Peterhof railway station and the monument to Alexander Baron Lyudvigovich Shtiglitsuk on the forecourt. Navy Pier Peterhof fountains of the Grand Cascade, the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul.