Peterhof (Petrodvorets) is a former summer residence of Russian Tzars. Peterhof Park and fountains are particulary beautiful.
In 1714 Tzar Peter the Great made a decision to create a new countryside residence, which would impress the whole Europe and would not be inferior to Versailles. According to the documents, which survived till the present days, historians and architects can claim that Peter I designed the most part of the settlement himself. It took just several years to build the whole ensemble of Peterhof and in August of 1723 the residence was officially opened. The residence consisted of parks, fountains, small and big palaces.
During the WWII Peterhof was occupied by the German troops and a lot of structures and fountains were ruined. After the war the fountain system was revived and all the sculptures were reconstructed. People from all over the world admire the magnificent Peter's residence - Peterhof.
1. Grand Palace
The Grand Palace is the center of the whole architectural ensemble in Peterhof. The first building was created at the times of Peter I by the German architect Brownstein.
It was pretty small that time and its width equaled the width of the main cascade. The palace was redecorated and made larger in the days of Empress Elizabeth, daughter of Peter the Great. Elizabeth's favourite architect Rastrelli was commissioned to work in the palace. Rastrelli was a master of baroque style, so we see a lot of rooms designed in baroque style. He added side-galleries and two pavilions. One pavilion was a church and the other one was used to accommodate guests and relatives of the royal family.
In the days of Catherine II the tastes changed and the interiors were remodelled in late classicism by the architect Felten.
Peterhof Grand Palace was turned into museum in 1918. It was one of the most popular museums in St.Petersburg before WWII. Unfortunately during the occupation the palace burnt down.
The restoration began in 1951 based upon the documents from the archives evacuated before the war. Nowadays most of the original rooms are opened for the visitors.
2. Catherine's Block
Catherine's Block was a small building which was used as a place for balls, mascarades and playing cards. The famous architect Rastrelli constructed this residence but later it was completely reconstructed. It was built for the Empress Elizabeth, but later it was called after Catherine the Great as her husband Peter III used to keep her there as a prisoner. In this particular palace Catherine planned the plot against her husband Peter III.
3. Peterhof. Grand Cascade
This Peterhof fountain ensemble is one of the biggest in the world. The whole ensemble consists of 64 fountains, 255 bronze sculptures, bareliefs and other decorative parts. The Cascade has got three waterfall staircases, which are united by the grotto with five arches. On both sides of the grotto there are two cascade staircases, which are decorated with statues and vases. In the middle of the whole ensemble one can see the statue of Samson tearing the jaws of a lion.
The fountains are operated from early May till mid October. Exact dates when they turn on and switch off the fountains depend on weather.
Peterhof Lower park: from 09:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Peterhof Grand Palace: from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Peterhof Grand Palace is closed: on Monday and on last Tuesday of each month.
The museum closes at 4.00 pm on holidays and preceding days
Timetable is subject to change without prior notice.
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