Peterhof – parks and palaces
With a huge series of gardens and palaces, Peterhof, which beautifies a shore of the Gulf of Finland 29 kms away from St. Petersburg, is one of the most interesting tourist attractions in Russia, a fine example of the blending of architecture and nature.
Stylish and well-organized composition of the ensemble, original artistic methods of the decoration of the park, opulent palaces combining the elements of baroque, classicism and neo-gothic, pavilions and fountains, – this splendor, once belonged to the Russian monarchs, is undoubtedly, the spot you don’t want to miss when you visit the city on Neva, St. Petersburg.
Peterhof was laid out as a summer royal residence on the order of Peter the Great at the beginning of the 18th century. After designing the Grand Palace, the opening of Peterhof was held in the summer of 1723, this solemn ceremony introduced the blooming Lower Garden, operating fountains, palaces “Monplaisir” and “Marly” to the guests. Progressive views and bold projects of Peter I for the first time lead to the creation of the palace meant to equal the best royal residences of Europe. Moreover, the triumphal victory of Russia gaining the outlet to the Baltic Sea became the symbol of a new age of prosperity and development of Russia.
As of today the Peterhof is decorated by the biggest system of water cascades, fountains and sculptural elements in the world. As the founder of timely European fashion, Peter the Great wanted every little detail of the palace to be perfect. Some talented sculptors like I.P. Martos, G.D. Rashett, F.I. Shubin, I.P. Prokofiev created gilded bronze statues.
The whole complex was growing for 2 centuries, some new parks appeared – English, Colonist, Meadow, Alexander parks, mansions Sergievka and Alexandria.
After the collapse of monarchy the Peterhof became a national property and a museum, so today you can walk around the enormous luxurious parks, enjoying the coolness of the gulf, exploring the remote corners amid the shady alleys, admiring the cascade fountains and an expressive sculptural decor and design of the pavilions. 8 palaces-museums are located in the Lower Park on the territory of 112.5 hectares. They are worth visiting if you want to feel the spirit of the best times of Russian Empire and find out more about the life of the emperors.
The palace “Monplaisir”, East and West Aviaries, museums “Catherina corps” and “Bath corps”, the palace “Marly”, the pavilion “Hermitage” and the museum “Emperor yachts” store some private properties of Peter I, Catherine II, Elizabeth and Alexander II. An unusual bath-house with the chandelier-shower, bath for cavaliers and maids of honour, chinese garden and funny amusement fountain – are among the most interesting spots to visit.
Excursion services and audio-guides are provided in the territory of the museum.
You can use free Wi-Fi in the Upper Garden and Lower Park of the museum complex.
Park and the fountains of Peterhof are open from May to October from 9:00 to 20:00 daily. Ticket office closes at 19:30. Palaces have specific schedule; check the web-site of the museum.
Entrance to upper garden (without fountains) – free of charge.
Entrance to the lower park and fountains for Russian citizens, adults – 250 rubles, students – 100. Foreign adults – 450 rubles, students – 250 student. The cost of visiting various palaces in the park ranges from 100 to 550 rubles.
Address: Petersburg, Peterhof, Razvodnaya st., 2
Transport: from metro station “Avtovo” buses 200, 210, bus 224, 300, 424, 424-A.
Peterhof can be reached by boat from the Palace Embankment building 18 (behind Hermitage) or Admiralty Embankment, 2. Tickets range from 400 to 700 rubles, for children under 3 years old – free of charge.
Tel: +7812 450 52 87
Official website: http://peterhofmuseum.ru
Translation by Igor Todorov and Salvatore Gagliarde