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“The stunning Peterhof, Russia” by K.J.S.Chatrath

The most fascinating sight around St. Petersburg is Peterhof. Located in the Peterhof (which means “Peter’s Court” in German and is pronounced as ‘Petergof’) complex are the Tsar’s Monplaisir Palace, (meaning My Pleasure Palace in French) and the original Grand Palace.

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Peter’s granddaughter, Empress Elizabeth, also liked Peterhof  and she got the  and who ordered the expansion of the Grand Palace expanded  and greatly extended the park and the fountains, including the Grand Cascade.

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An impressive technological achievement of Peterhof is that all of the fountains operate without the use of water boosting pumps. Water is supplied from natural springs and  is collected in reservoirs in the Upper Gardens. The elevation difference creates the pressure that drives most of the fountains of the Lower Gardens, including the Grand Cascade. The Samson Fountain is supplied by an amazing  special aqueduct, which is over four km in length and draws water and pressure from a high-elevation source.

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One finds the first mention of Peterhof garden site in Peter the Great’s journal dated 1705. It is mentioned as a good place to construct a landing for use in travelling to and from the island fortress of Kronstadt. And in 1714, Peter began construction of the Monplaisir Palace based on his own sketches of the palace. This was Peter’s Summer Palace that he would use on his way coming and going from Europe through the harbour at Kronstadt.

Later, he expanded his plans to include a vaster royal chateau of palaces and gardens further inland, on the model of Versaillesnear Paris. Each of the tsars after Peter expanded on the inland palaces and gardens of Peterhof, but the major contributions by Peter the Great were completed by 1725.

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 The fountains of the Grand Cascade are located below the grotto and on either side of it. Their waters flow into a semicircular pool, the terminus of the fountain-lined Sea Channel. In the 1730s, the large Samson Fountain was placed in this pool. It depicts the moment when Samson  tears open the jaws of a lion. It is believed to represent Russia’s victory ove Sweden in the Great Northern War.

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The best time to visit Peterhof is of course the summer season, when all the varied buildings in the park are open to visitors and the famous fountains are in operation (June to October), this is also the time when Peterhof is most crowded, with long queues for some of the major attractions, and also for transport from and back to St. Petersburg.

Fifty+ travellers would find a visit to the stunning Peterhof  in Russia extremely refreshing.

FACT FILE:

There are various transport options to get to Peterhof from central St. Petersburg. Electric trains run from Baltiskiy Station to Noviy Peterhof, and take around 45 minutes. The station is about 20 minutes’ walk from the gates to the Upper Garden across Proletarskiy Park, or there are several buses. Alternatively, marshrutka minibuses run from in front of Baltiskiy Station directly to the park gates in Peterhof. There are also marshrutkas from Avtovo (K-424) and from Leninskiy Prospekt (K-242) Metro Stations. The drive from the city should take a little under one hour.

Probably the best way to visit Peterhof is to take a hydrofoil across the Gulf of Finland to the jetty at the end of the Marine Canal. Three companies run regular hydrofoil services through the summer months from the Hermitage jetty, Angliskaya Naberezhnaya next to the Senate Building, and Universitetskaya Naberezhnaya next to the Academy of Sciences. It is also now possible to take a helicopter to Peterhof from the Peter and Paul Fortress. There are three flights daily there and back, and tickets cost around $40 one way.

It is convenient to take a day bus trip to Petergof starting from near the Nevisky Metro Station entrance in St. Petersburg.

The Palace is closed to visitors on Mondays, even though the gardens and the smaller palace remain open.

Text and photographs by K.J.S.Chatrath

Copyright K.J.S.Chatrath

( This website does not sell any hotel rooms/air tickets/packages/insurance cover etc.  It is intended only for providing information to the Fifty+/younger travellers and sharing of travel experiences.)

May I invite you to visit my other website: www.europeangravesinindia.com

 

One Response to ““The stunning Peterhof, Russia” by K.J.S.Chatrath”

  1. Sukhdev Bedi says:

    Wah what a palace.The place has a great history.Beautiful pics.

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