The Magnificent Peterhof Palace

Peterhof Palace, or "Russian Versailles" as it is sometimes called, was one of the many palaces owned by Peter the Great. Overlooking the Gulf of Finland, it is situated about 20 km or so from St. Petersburg. The series of palaces and gardens as well as the city center of St. Petersburg are all part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Peterhof contains a natural feature which dominates the grounds - a sixteen meter high cliff which lies hundred meters from the shore. Between the cliff and the shore is where the Lower Gardens, designed in a formal French fashion, are situated. The area is about 1.02 square kilometers and contains the richer and more fertile lands of the Peterhof Palace. The majority of the fountains found on the palace grounds can be found here, as well as several small palaces and buildings. The designs of the fountains are uniquely different and creatively designed. For example 'The Sun' is a fountain which has a disk that radiates water from the jets on the edge giving the impression of sun rays. The entire structure rotates on a vertical axis so the direction of the sun changes continuously. The eastern part of the Lower Gardens is where you will find the Alexandria Park with Gothic Revival structures, such as the Kapella from the 19th century.

Near the middle of the Lower Gardens, on top of the cliff, stands the Grand Palace. South of the Grand Palace is the relatively smaller Upper Gardens and below the Peterhof Palace is the Grand Cascade, modeled on a similar one constructed by Louis XIV, and the Grand Palace, which acts as a centerpiece of the entire grounds. The Grand Cascade has fountains below it and on either side of it. The Sea Channel is the largest waterworks of the Baroque period, which divides the Lower Gardens. On either side of the Sea Channel is the 'Adam and Eve' fountain, which are symmetric to each other. Peterhof's greatest technological achievement is that all the fountains use pumps to operate.

Indeed, a visit to Peterhof Palace offers an abundance of attractions and delights for the eyes. Why not pay a visit to this marvelous estate when traveling through St. Petersburg?

 



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