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In Russia there is a city more luxurious than Versailles
How often our trips result in somewhat boost for something new? It has happened in the 18th century, when Peter the Great, after a visit to the residence of the French monarchs – Versailles, decided to build something similar in his own country. Ever since 1723, the “capital of fountains” – Peterhof, perhaps significantly surpassed its original rival, has delighted and surprised all of its visitors with luxury, grandeur and unearthly beauty, which is truly breathtaking.

Empire’s symbol, created by the royal hand

It was decided to build the only northern residence of the Russian monarchs with a corresponding scale. It was important to show the greatness of the empire, as well as its success in sea battles and gain an access to the Baltic Sea. Therefore, Peter produced some drawings by himself, as well as personally corrected and modified many drawings (all themare preserved in museums).

According to the tsar’s plan, the emphasis needed to be made on the fountains. Although the “trick” of them was the complete absence of forced water pumps. The circulation of the water was to be carried out by the use of the Ropsha springs. The only way, which made it possible to realize such task, was with the help of advanced engineering solutions of the 18th century and Peter’s immediate participation.

The idea of Peterhof’s symbol, the Grand Central Cascade, also belongs to the monarch. He was present at the first launch of water. In 1723, some fountains were already operating, the Upper Chambers were opened, and the palaces of Monplaisir, Marli, Menagery were built, but the rest of the construction commenced until the middle of the 19th century.

Palace ensembles

Now Peterhof is the State Museum-Reserve as well asits huge palace and park ensemble. The area of gardens and parks exceeds more than 414 hectares. It also includes more than 150 fountains, 32 functioning museums and more than 300 thousand museum exhibits. This is the main and most visited Russian landmark.

The main place of the composition is the Lower Park with its fountains. Its ensemble consists of such parks as: Alexandria, English, Sergievka, The Own Dacha. All of them have a natural northern border – the Gulf of Finland, where palaces are situated along the coast on a natural hill. The Upper garden (the second half of the ensemble’s oldest part) is adjacent to the Kolonist and Meadow parks.

Several Peterhof’s “tricks”

Every day at 10 am, a column of water rises to a height of 21 meters from the mouth of a lion

Then a stream from the mouths of dolphins at Samson's feet begin to break through like a blooming flower. The scene of the lion and hero battle is captured on a 3 meter cliff. With horror and amazement, 4 lion heads are “watching” it, from where water also gradually starts to blow out. This action is picked up by 64 water cannons, which sprinkle water upon all 255 sculptures of the ensemble. This is the “calling card” of the Grand Cascade, decorated with 3 waterfall stairs and a stone grotto.

By the way, the figure of Samson and others in the Cascade belongs to the hand of Carlo Bartolomeo, and his son Francesco Bartolomeo, who is the one of the original creators of the Grand Palace.

Peterhof loves to “flirt” with visitors, demonstrating the joy of life, its delight and triumph. Thusly, there are arranged special amusement fountains, which start to work exactly at the moment when a leg of the backward tourist comes to a certain place.

An interesting attraction works in the Favorite Fountain. Here in the pool 4 ducks swim in a circle, pursued by a dog, whereas water escapes from the beaks of some birds. Viewers need to try to throw a coin on the dog's back, and the result should be unexpected.

In the park, you can enjoy a walk and take pictures in a rented historical costume. Rickshaw service is also available for the convenience of tourists.

The feeling of joy and pride is absolute here. The greatness and luxury of the palaces, the liveliness and play of water, the magnificent beauty of the parks and gardens will not leave anyone indifferent.

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