St. Petersburg – Peterhof

You could not come to St. Petersburg without visiting the Versailles of Russia – Peterhof.

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This was Peter the Great’s summer palace and his favourite.   It is Baroque in design, and is dominated by water with the nearby gulf and numerous water fountains.  However, his wife, Catherine the Great was not as fond of it.  She thought it was too small.  So he built her a larger palace nearby.  I think I love this man.  He was huge – over six foot seven and had a wonderful sense of humour, so it seems.  He loved the water, working with wood, and at 24 years of age went on a tour of Europe to learn about shipbuilding.  He wanted to build a port with open passage to the Baltic.  This led to a war with Sweden, which he won, and the founding of St Petersburg at the site of the  Peter & Paul fortress.

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Peterhof faces the gulf of Finland and has fountains everywhere.  Peter said there were thousands of fountains, more than anywhere in the world, but he counted every little spigot. The main fountain, the “Grand Cascade”,  is beautiful as the water shoots high up into the air and rains down upon the golden statues. There are no mechanics and the fountains are controlled by pressure.  It then flows from the palace following a waterway out to the gulf.

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Peter the Great must have had a keen sense of humour and nothing delighted him more than when he had guests walking along the paths by the waterway with little sprays of water on either side that would suddenly surge up and wet everyone.  In his bathhouse there was an area where he would have guests stand admiring this beautiful fountain, and suddenly water would spout up from holes in the floor under their feet where they were standing, and out in the gardens, there is a seating area with a view where all of a sudden water would pout down upon their heads.  The guests may not have considered this so amusing.

IMG_7444Photographs on the site show Peterhof suffered extensive damage during WWII and it took 50 years to restore it back to its former beauty.  Today it is a beautiful tribute to a lifestyle  that most of us can only imagine.

After leaving Peterhof, we took the hydrofoil back to the city docking right beside the Hermitage.

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From the hydrofoil we could see the tallest building in St. Petersburg.  It used to be no building could be taller than the spire on the church at the Peter & Paul Fortress.
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Little Russian squirrel having a snack as we walked by.  Note the size of his ears.

2 thoughts on “St. Petersburg – Peterhof

  1. Thank you SO MUCH for taking us to Peterhof ~ we love the fountain stories. And who can’t love a man that would build his wife a larger palace nearby??!! We go to the best places with you ~ So delightful!

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    1. Hi Carole & Donnie I know eh? Peter the Great was an amazing person. So glad you are with me. No wifi on the trains so we have to rely on the nights we spend in hotels along the way. Hugs & take care.

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