Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg (Russia) - series of palaces, fountains and gardens
Location show on map
St. Petersburg (Russia)
Date of build
1714 - 1723
Peterhof Palace was built by order of Tsar Peter the Great on the occasion of his victory over Sweden. It was then extended by further members of the imperial family.
It is one of the largest and most visited palace complexes in the world, has been hailed as the Russian version of the French Versailles and is known mainly for its fountains.
Peterhof literally means "Peter's Courtyard". It was Peter the Great who wanted to modernize all of Russia, because his homeland was known for centuries as a primitive and backward nation, so he wanted to build a great palace that would make people take Russia seriously.
The palace served as the residence of Russian monarchs for over 200 years, until the fall of the empire in 1917.
The largest part of the huge complex is the famous Lower Gardens (Niżny Sad), whose area is 1.02 km².
The upper gardens were originally used as a place for growing vegetables, while the three ponds for fish farming located there.
On August 20, 1721, Peterhof fountains and cascades were opened for the first time.
Originally, however, the fountain complex was not planned for Peterhof, instead work began in Strelno. However, due to problems with the water supply in a natural way and Piotr's reluctance to plumbing, the location in St. Petersburg was set.
With 147 active fountains, the Peterhof fountain complex is one of the finest in the world. It was built to compete with Versailles, created under the rule of Louis XIV in France. Water structures in Peterhof are considered the most elegant.
Unlike Versailles, where expensive waterworks were built, here the water flows without the help of pumps from the Ropsza hill 20 km away. The creation of this system was entrusted to master Vasily Tuvolkov. The system he invented was based on the principle of vessel connectivity using sluices and a channel through which water naturally flows from above.
The fountains throw out a total of 34,000 liters of water per second. They consume up to 100,000 m³ of water daily.
There are many types of fountains here, e.g. a fountain of humor - unexpectedly firing at passers-by, mechanical fountains, sun fountain - having 72 water rays, a pyramid fountain - composed of 105 streams forming a monument 10 meters high.
The culmination is the Grand Cascade consisting of 7 extensive steps, from each of them a fountain shoots up. The cascade is decorated with 200 gilded sculptures.
In the middle of the square stands a statue of Samson opening a lion's mouth from which a 20 m water fountain rushes. The hero's monument represents the triumph of Russia over Sweden during the battle of Poltava, which took place on St. Samson Day in 1709.
The palace was occupied and ravaged by German troops in 1941-1944, some fountains were destroyed, and the palace itself was blown up and left to burn. The reconstruction of the partially destroyed palace began after 1945.
Due to anti-German propaganda, in 1944 the name of the palace was changed to "Petrodvorets" or "Peter's Palace". However, the original name was restored in 1997.
The largest building in the complex, the Grand Palace, is located just above the Samson Fountain and the Great Terrace. The north facade is 286 meters long.
The room of Peter the Great is lined with oak paneling, other rooms shine with gilding of gold, crystals and bronzes or are upholstered in green-white silk or amber (e.g. amber room). There are 350 paintings hanging in the portrait hall.
The palace of the imperial family is located directly on the Gulf of Finland. A narrow channel called the Sea Channel leads from the bay to the complex.
The palace and park complex was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1990.
Each year, Peterhof is visited by 4.5 million people.
Official website: http://peterhofmuseum.ru
"It seems that Peterhof was made of sea foam" - A. Benois