Petrodvorets is situated on the southern shore of the Gulf of
Finland, 29 km from Saint Petersburg. Its parks occupy a
territory of about 1000 ha. In 1714 on a high littoral terrace a
palace was founded (known as upper halls) and behind the palace
the Upper Garden was laid out.
Peterhof is one of the oldest summer residences in the vicinity
of St.Petersburg. Peterhof means "Peter's Court".
|It was founded in
1710, when the Peter and Paul Fortress lost its military
significance, and Peter the Great started to build another
fortress on Kotlin Island to protect St. Petersburg.
The Tsar visited the
island often to observe the construction. He made most of his
journeys by boat. On the occasions when the weather was stormy or
rainy, he waited for fair weather in a small wooden building on a raised
site overlooking the Gulf of Finland. While the Northern War was still in
progress, Peter the Great didn't show a lot of interest in the
ornamentation of the place. However, after important victories near Poltava
he wanted something grander. He commissioned a, 'Versailles by the
Sea' palace style. By the end of his reign the wooden palace was altered by Le Blond,
becoming known as the "Great Palace". The Monplaisir Palace was
built on the sea front. The Upper Park and the Lower Park were laid out.
First 50 fountains began working in 1721. Empress Elizabeth Petrovna
took an interest in Peterhof. During her reign the Great Palace was
enlarged by Rastrelli, more fountains were added and under Nicholas 1st Peterhof was further developed.
At that same time the
construction of fountain cascades and sea channels began. There is a
unique system of water-supply to the fountains which is based on the
principle of communicating vessels.
fountains are connected by means of a water-main with springs
welling out in the Ropshinsky Heights. It was also the time when
the park later named as, 'Lower' was established. In the middle
of the 18th century the palace became the
project of the architect Rastrelli. Located on the steep slope in front of the palace the Grand
Cascade of fountains embellished with bronze sculptures and
bas-reliefs dedicated to Russia's victories in the Northern war.
It consists of 64 fountains. The bronze gilded sculptures are
designed by, Kozlovsky, Shoubin, Shchedrin and Martos. In the
centre of the cascade there is the famous
"Samson tearing the lion's jaws", symbolizing the victory of
Russia over Sweden. At the base of the cascade there are the
fountains "Volkhov" and "Neva".
||In the lower park the Marli
Palace, the Hermitage and the Monplaisir Palace were
constructed. The Monplaisir became the first picture gallery in
Russia which contained a large collection of paintings from Dutch
and Flemish masters. In front of the palace are a garden with a
fountain, a parterre and several sculptures.
The lower park was planned so that every
palace had its portion of fountains : the Grand Cascade corresponds to
the Grand Peterhof Palace, the Cascade of Dragons corresponds to the
Monplaisir, the Cascade of Lions - to the Hermitage, the Golden Mountain
- to the Marli Palace.
There are also two marble fountains in the square which bear
to the fountain in front of the St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome, hence
their name, the "Roman" fountains.
The Marli Palace is situated on the
shore of a pond and opposite it there is the "Golden Mountain" cascade,
the steps of which are faced with marble and gilded copper panels. The
marble statues decorating the cascade are designed from the ancient
original sculptures or brought in from Italy in 1870. In the park the
alleys are also adorned with fountains.
Next to the Lower Park there is the
Alexandria Park, the tsars residence during the 19th to 20th centuries. The
Alexandria is located in the littoral zone and the upper part of the
coastal ledge. There are hundred-year-old oaks, lindens, maples, and
poplars as well as trees from Siberia, Kirghizia, the Far East and