The Upper Gardens are maybe not as attractive as the Lower Gardens. But they have one advantage, they are free to visit. The more spectacular Lower Gardens have admission. The centrepiece of the Upper Gardens are the Neptune Fountain after the Roman god of the sea. There are some beautiful statues too, I belive that they also are taken out of the Greek/Roman mythology.
Tag Archives: Palace
The most striking features of the Peterhof Grand Palace are its 176 fountains. But unlike the fountains of its role model, Versailles, these fountains works every day from early may to early october. I’ve visited Versailles twice but never saw the fountains in work there. if I remember it correctly they only work in special shows one a week during summer.
Most of the fountains are situated in the lower gardens and the most well-known are the Grand Cascade and the Samson Fountain. The Grand Cascade consists of 64 fountains and 37 gilded sculptures. The Samson Fountain depicts the moment when Samson tears open the jaws of a lion, representing Russia’s victory over Sweden in the Great Northern War. From the lion’s mouth shoots a 20 metre high vertical jet of water, the highest in all of Peterhof.
The Grand Cascade
The Samson Fountain and the Grand Cascade
If we’re talking about palaces in Saint Petersburg and it’s surroundings, then we have to include the Grand palace at Peterhof. Peterhof which is German for Peter’s Court is situated on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland, about 45 minutes by bus or train from Baltisky Vokzal in Saint Petersburg. Peter the Great’s desire was to build an imperial palace in the suburbs of his new city. The inspiration was Versailles and the palace and it’s gardens are often referred to as the Russian Versailles. However this grandiose project where not compleated under Peter’s lifetime. It was under his daughter, Elizabeth’s regime that the Grand Palace with its famous gardens and fountains were compleated. Guess who which architect was hired for this project. No surprise it was Tsaritsa Elizabeth’s favourite, Bartolomeo Rastrelli.
The Palace, at Peterhof, itself is not as impressive as the Winter Palace or the Grand Catherine Palace. But the two pavilions at each wing of the palace are very eye-catching with their golden cupolas. This is the Church pavilion with 5 gilded cupolas viewed from the lower gardens.
One of the most picturesque buildings in the gardens at the Catherine Palace is the Hermitage Pavilion. It was built at the same time as the palace and is beautifully situated in a forest clearing. The Hermitage Pavilion proved to be a favourite place for the Tsaritsa Elizabeth and her guests. She particularly liked to show it off to foreign ambassadors and other dignitaries.
The central hall of the Hermitage was the object of particular fascination for visitors. It contained a table large enough to seat up to 35 guests. What was unique about the dining room table was that it was equipped with special mechanisms allowing the guests to dine without the presence of servants. In the lower basement, the servants would prepare the table, hoist it to the floor above where waiting guests would sit down to dinner. A diner only needed only to write the name of the dish he desired on a slate and pull the bell next to it. A short time later the chosen dish would appear at the table. Once the meal was over, the table was lowered into the floor, the chairs removed, and the dining room opened into a ballroom.
As you can see in the HDR-picture, craftsmen are laying their final hand on an ongoing renovation. Next day the Hermitage Pavilion was reopened for the public after this renovation.
About 30 minutes, by bus, south of Saint Petersburg lies Pushkin. This city is named after the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. Before 1937 the city was named Tsarskoye Selo which literary means “The Tsar’s Village”. Here you can visit another architectural masterpiece of Bartolomeo Rastrelli, the Grand Catherine Palace. The palace was originally commissioned by Peter the Great and named after his second wife Catherine. This palace was far more modest than the one standing there now. When Peter’s and Catherine’s daughter Elizabeth become Tsaritsa, she commissioned a new palace to replace to old one, a palace on the scale to rival Versailles. Of course, she hired her favourite architect, Bartolomeo Rastrelli, for this job. The new palace was presented to the Tsaritsa in 1756. It’s 325 meter long and nearly 1 km in circumference, with elaborately decorated blue and white facades featuring gilded atlantes, caryatids and pilasters.
If you’re in Saint Petersburg and have a day over I really recomend a daytrip to Pushkin and the Grand Catherine Palace. You can reach Puskin by train from Vitebsk vokzal (station) or by marshrutka (minibus) from Moskovskaya ploshchad (square).
A couple of HDR-pictures I captured of the Grand Catherine Palace.
I haven’t abandoned this blog but I need to post more frequently!
Talking about Saint Petersburg, the most well known building in Piter is without doubt the Winter Palace. This was the official residence of Russian Tsars from 1732 until the last of them, Nicholas II, abdicated in 1917. The majestic palace we today view from the Palace square is the fourth Winter Palace built. The first Winter Palace was, unlike the present version, a modest building of two main floors under a slate roof. As Piter grew the Winter Palace was replaced by bigger and more splendid versions. The present version, built in Elizabethan Baroque style, is designed by Bartolomeo Rastrelli and was originally commissioned by Tsaritsa Anna. But during the reign of Tsaritsa Elizabeth the original plan was changed and a new scheme to build a colossal Winter Palace was adopted. However, Rastrelli did not complete the Place before Elizabeth’s death. So it was only Tsaritsa Catherine the Great and her successors who could enjoy the magnificent Palace as their residence. Today the Winter Palace houses the Hermitage Museum, one of the largest and most respected art museums in the world.
This HDR-picture of the Winter Palace towards Dvortsovaya Naberezhnaya is captured just before sunset. Beautiful colours aren’t they?
And a view from the Palace square.