PETERHOF, Gardens

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English / USA Language: English / USA

Peterhof is surrounded by three parks: the Lower Gardens, the Upper Gardens and the Alexandria Park, located near Tsar Nicholas I's Cottage Palace.

The large French-style Lower Gardens, created by the architect Le Blond, covers an area of some 11 square kilometers. 

This is undoubtedly one of the main attractions of the palace, featuring interesting historical buildings, waterways, four waterfalls and 150 fountains. One of the most famous is the Fountain of the Sun, where hundreds of jets of water appear to mimic the rays of the sun; each one, however, is a spectacle in itself and well worth seeing in action.

 

Regarding the waterfalls, on the opposite sides of the park, I suggest you take time to admire the Golden Mountain and the Chess Mountain.

Another architectural highlight is the "Voronikhin colonnades", near the Favorite Fountain, which you’ll recognize by the statue of a dog chasing four ducks.

The Upper Gardens, much smaller and formed by flowerbeds arranged around large pools, is located on the terrace in front of the main facade of the Grand Palace, and originally welcomed visitors at the entrance to the imperial residence. Based on the sketches of Peter I, it has not undergone major changes over the years. The main attraction is the Fountain of Neptune, where a bronze statue depicting the god of the sea, is portrayed with a crown on his head and a trident in his hand, surrounded by knights on sea horses, and Tritons riding winged dragons and dolphins. The baroque work was sculpted in Germany around 1650.

Finally, make sure you don’t miss the Alexandria Park; it is the most romantic and least frequented of the three gardens. Laid out in English style, it is more natural and features a wealth of trees. One of the main attractions of the park is the beautiful Gothic chapel, dating to 1834.

 

 

An interesting fact: in the Lower Gardens, Peter the Great ordered "trick” fountains to be built, designed to take unsuspecting guests by surprise, dousing them with water. Near the Monplaisir palace, for example, there were two small stone benches from where water could suddenly splash out, soaking the unfortunate visitors sitting there.

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