Peterhof is a jewel of the Russian art, a town of parks, palaces, and fountains. In the past it used to be an exquisite summer residence of Russian tsars. Verkhniy (Upper) Garden and Nizhniy (Lower) Park, genuine masterpieces of landscape design, number over 150 fountains, 5 monumental cascades. The Lviniy (Lion's) Cascading Fountain, the second as of its size, was launched again after 60 void years. On the territory of the reserve, there are 10 working museums: the Grand Palace, Monplaisir, Catherine's Block, Marii, Hermitage, the church of St.Alexander Nevsky (Gothic Capella), the Benois family museum, Cottage, the Bath Block including Tafeldecker and Kaffeeschenk Rooms and The Kitchen, and the Museum of Collectors.
Peterhof is the palace of the sea god. Here the fountains are not
mere accessories: they are the essence of the place. They are the
symbolic expression of the sea's dominion, the mist that rises
from the waves as they surge against its shores.
Open : 10:30 - 17:00
Fountains work: 11:00 - 17:00
Closed on MON and on the last TUE of every month.
year more than three million of people become the guests of
the capital of fountains. The parks of Peterhof, created in
19th century, represents a bright sample of an interesting stage
in development of Russian architecture and landscape art. Famous
all over the world palace and park ensemble of Petrodvorets
(until 1944 - Peterhof) situated in 29 km from Saint-Petersburg
- is one of the greatest achievements of Russian national culture,
a brilliant example of organic synthesis of architecture and
sculpture, garden and park and engineering art. The ensemble
erected in the early 18th century on the bank of Gulf of Finland
is an original monument in the honor of victory in the North
War and coming of Russia to the Baltic Sea. The idea of creating
of the ensemble, the basic planning design, the projects of
art decoration belonged to Peter I.
The constructing of Summer Parade residence starts in1714, and
its ceremonial opening was held on 15 August 1723. By that time
almost all elements of composition of the High garden and the
Cow park were set up; The Upper Chamber (the Big Palace), the
Big Cascade, Monplezir palace were built. For providing water
for the Big Cascade, in 1720-1721 by the project of Russian
engineer-hydraulic V. Tuvolkov a special water-pipe with ponds-reservoir
was built. The main feature of the Peterhof water system is
the absence of any water-towers and pumps: the difference of
levels of ponds and fountains is used there.
Peterhof building continued about two centuries, it grew bigger,
got decorated by new works of famous sculptors. The creation
of this grand complex was made by the labor of thousands "Workers",
serfs, soldiers masters from all Russia, talanted marble cutters
and smelters, parquet floor layers, gilders carvers and painters.
Since 1750's around the Peter's parks a complex of Tsar and
Grand Duke residences was formed: the Own Dasha, the English
park, Alexandria, Znamenka. After the Great October Socialistic
Revolution the art monuments of Peterhof became a national property
and were taken under the State protection. The palaces turned
into the historical and art museums opened their doors for people.
The first excursion of workers was held in the Big Peterhof
palace on 18 May of 1918. During the Soviet regime the palaces
- museums and parks of Peterhof became the greatest cultural
centre of the city.
The Great Patriotic War brought a lot of difficulties to the
Peterhof ensemble. The coming of Fascist army made the museum
values to be evacuated and the sculptures to be dug into the
ground. But all masterpieces could not be saved: the Fascists
went into the Peterhof on 23 September 1941.
Almost two and a half years the Fascists were in Peterhof. They
ruined the Big Palace, the Big Cascade, the English palace.
Marble, Monplezir and the Hermitage were damaged. Thousands
of trees were cut down, the hydro-technical mechanisms were
blown up, some monumental bronze sculptures of the Big Cascade
were stolen, thousands of masterpieces were destroyed.
After the releasing of Peterhof in 1944 the palace and park
ensemble as a cultural complex did not exist. The restorers
faced the difficult task - to revive the greatest monument of
Russian national culture. The celebrative opening of the "Samson"
fountain was held on 14 September 1947. By the building of the
Big Palace was reconstructed, the project was designed by the
architects V.Savskov and E.Kazanskaya. The creative work of
talanted restores brought the result - Petrodvorets was revived.
In the Low park and the Upper garden 172 fountains, 3 Cascades,
15 monumental statues, more than 330 decorative details of bronze
and lead were restored.
The museum the Big palace, Monplezir, pavilion the Hermitage,
and a Cottage palace in the Alexandria Park were opened for
The revived by Soviet people palace and park ensemble of Petrodvorets
is a symbol of history of humanism over vandalism, the eternal
monument to the heroes of Russia. For its big contribution into
the restoration and development of the palaces - museums and
parks and in connection of 250 year Jubilee of the palace and
park ensemble the town Petrodvorets was awarded by the orden
"The Sign of Perspect" by the Decree of Presidium
of Supreme Soviet of the USSR on 26 November 1973.
The Low Park
all regular parks, the Low Park of Petrodvorets has a symmetrical
planning. The axis of symmetry in the Low Park is a Marine
Canal with the alley of 22 fountains devived the park into
West and East parts. Each big fountain and construction in
the West part: the Cascade "the Chess Mountain"
and the cascade "the Golden Mountain", the palace
Monplezir and the pavilion "The Hermitage", the
fountain "Adam" and the fountain "Eva".
A system of the alleys, radiated from the fountains "Adam"
and "Eva" to different parts of the park to the
main architectural constructions and fountains, creates two
stars. He most interesting constructions of the East part
of the park - the favorite palace of the Peter I - Monplezir
and the cascade "The chess Mountain: Firstly the cascade,
that building was started in 1721, was intended to decorate
like ruins of Sweden castle; it intended its first name "Ruined".
In the late 30's of the 18th century it was rebuilt. There
appeared three painted wooden dragons made by the carver K.Osner,
and the cascade got the name "The Dragon Mountain",
and a big later, when pouring slopes were painted with black
and white squares - it got the name "The Chess Mountain"
- the rarest collection of a decorative park sculpture of
18th century. The palace of Peter I "Monplezir"
(My pleasure") - is the earliest palace building on the
territory of the Low Park. A tiny palace was built in 1714-1723
by the architects I.Bronstein, G.B.Lebbon, N.Miketti. In Monplezir
- the first picture gallery in Russia - there is a big collection
of pictures of Dutch, Flemish and Italian artists of 17-18th
centuries. From the West the Monplezir palace is completed
by the Ekaterina palace, built in 1747-1755 by the architect
F.B.Rastrelli. In 1785-1786 G.Quarneghi created new decorations
of the interiors, and in 1810 many rooms of the wing were
designed n the Empire style. In 1986 8 interiors of the wing
destroyed by the Fascists during the Great Patriotic War were
restored. Decorative bas-reliefs, modeling, painting in grizail
technique, designed by D.B.Scotti, marble fire-place, landscape
tiles, mirrors in golden frames, lamps, lamp-brackets give
the art decoration of the interiors of the wing variety and
solemnity. The Ekaterina wing is the sixth restored historical
and art museum of the State National palace and park reserve
in Retrodvorets. In its exposition there is Russian and French
art Bronze models, wares of porcelain and crystal, furniture
made by design of the architects Sh.Persie, P.Fonten, K.Rossi
and A.Voronikhin, art works. The famous Guriev dinner service
- the greatest masterpiece of Russian Chine foremen of the
first quarter of 19th century - is of great interest. An interesting
collection of paintings is presented in the Hermitage pavilion
("The Shelter of the Solitude"), built in 1721-
1725 by the architect I.Brownstein on the gulf bank in Western
part of the Park.
Marli palace and the "Golden mountain" Cascade are
the central constructions of the West region. Their building
was started by Peter I after visiting the residence of the
French Kings near Paris.
Marli- le - Rua
The cascade building by the design of the architect N.Miketti
was started in 1721 and finished in 1726. In 1732 M.Zemtsov
added it by Marble Golden lead statues, and the ledges of
cascade steps were faced by copper golden sheets, that gave
it the name "The Golden Mountain". Some statues
from the sculpture presented there are dated by 18th century,
the main part was brought from Italy in 19th century. The
Marli palace was built in 1720-1723 by the architect I.Bronstein.
In the second part of 18th century the palace was turned into
the memorial palace. There were many personal possessions
of Peter I. In May 1982 after finishing the restoration the
historical and art museum presented the art culture of Russia
of the first half of 18th century was opened. From 311 objects
of the pre-war layout only 163 ones were managed to evacuate.
Nowadays the lost museum exhibits are changed into the analogue
The Big Palace
Big Palace stretched in facade on almost 300 meters is the
architectural dominant of the central part of the Peterhof
ensemble. The author of the first project based on the pictures
of Peter I is unknown. From 1714 till 1716 the work was held
under the direction of I.Bronstein.
In 1716 the building was constructed by G.B.Leblon. In 1719
I.Bronstein continued the decoration of the inner rooms of
the palace and completed the decoration of the study of Peter
I for which the fourteen carved oak panels celebrating the
acts of Peter, science, art and trade were made by N.Pino's
design. In 1721-1723 N.Miketti added the galleries to both
sides of the building, completed by two-story wings. In 1745-1755
there was a rebuilding of the Big Palace by the project of
F.B.Rastrelli. The architect raised the central capacity of
the building by adding one more storey and erected one-stored
galleries by both sides of it, crowned by two wings: the Heraldic
- from the West, the Church - from the East.
In the palace Rastrelli created a luxurious suite of parade
halls and sitting rooms. All rooms were richly decorated by
wooden gilded carving, mirrors, painted shades and parquet
In 60-70's of the 18th century two Chinese studies, decorated
by black lacquer panels with traditional Chinese paintings,
were created by the project of the architect G.P.Valen de
In 1770's in Peterhof the architect J.Felten designed a new
decoration for this halls - Chesmen, Throne and White Dining
- room in classical style. The splendid Baroque decor of Rastrelli's
halls was changed into strict modeling compositions and clear
geometrical division of the walls.
The Big Palace is one of the most interesting historical and
art museums of the country. There are the collections of masterpieces
of Russian and West-European painting, sculpture, applied
The Cottage Palace
Cottage Palace is the main architectural construction of the
Alexandria Park; it was built by A.A.Menelas in 1826-1829.
The Palace is situated on the upper terrace in the South East
with the outlines of Leningrad and Kronstadt.
The passion for the false Gothic style, typical for Russian
architecture of late 18 - early 19th centuries, was reflected
in the architectural shapes and decoration of the Cottage.
A small two-stored building with an attic is decorated by
acute-angled pediments, tracery lancet arcades, windows with
oriels, ornamental details such as rose-windows, arch belts,
The academic of painting D.B.Skotti, the carver V.Zakharov,
the modeller M.Sokolov, many Russian skilled craftsmen - parquet
floor layers, joiners, plasterers, bricklayers and many others.
In the beginning of the Great Patriotic War a major part of
the museum exhibits was evacuated (1980 object from 2500 were
saved). During the occupation of Peterhof the Fascists damaged
the decoration of palace interiors. The modeled decor, many
carved panels, painting were badly damaged, the furniture
collection was almost destroyed.
In 1978 the painters, sculptors, marble-cutters and other
specialists of the Leningrad association "The restorer"
under the direction of I.N.Benois completed the palace reconstruction.
The decorative ornament of the interiors were revived with
the maximal approaching to the historical image. In the result
of the huge collective activity, that filled in the losses
of the collection, and studying the archives and iconographical
materials the exposition of the museum placed in 20 halls
In the Sitting-room, Dining-room, Reception and other palace
interiors took their places the canvases of I.Aivasovsky,
O.Kiprensky, S.Chshedrin, S.andM. Vorobjovs. In the Big Study
there are the marines of the famous Dutch painters of 17-18th
century: Ja. De Goien and others. In the painting collection
of the Cottage there are more than 200 pictures. The most
significant sculptures are the works of A.Shadov, D.Raukh,
The visitors of the museum can be see the objects of the Decorative
and Applied Art - art furniture, bronze and cast-iron moldings,
the collection of glass, Russian and West-European china.
The Big Cascade
Big Cascade represents a unity with the Big Palace, the silhouette
of which completes the perspective of a Marine Canal from
the Gulf. The architectural design and sculpture decoration
and sculpture decoration of the Big Cascade correspond to
a clear idea - to show the Marine power of Russia. 64 fountains,
255 bronze sculptures, bas-reliefs, mascaronis and other decorative
details include the Big Cascade into the number of the biggest
fountain constructions in the world. The cascade has three
waterfall staircases joined by a grotto which facade is cut
by fine high arches.
Each of the seven steps of the side staircases is decorated
by bas-reliefs and brackets and there are two fountains above
each of them. Statues and roses are set up on granite pedestals
from the sides of the stairs. In the front of the grotto on
the ground there is a fountain "A Basket". The water
of "A Basket" like of other fountains is poured
into a deep semiround scoop. On its granite walls there are
the fountains "The Sirens" and "The Naiads".
the scoop near the tuff walls the water of the fountains "Volkhov"
and "Neva" is foamed. The figures of an old man
and a young girl personify the Russian rivers, which were
connected to the Ladoga Canal in thee early 18th century.
The subject-matter of the sculpture decoration of the Big
Cascade is basically given from the Ancient Mythology: by
means of allegory the history of Russia in the war for going
out to the Baltic Sea is glorified and the enemy is disgraced.
The Tritons, Sirens and Naiads sounds victory, the statues
of Ancient Goods and heroes stand still, looking from their
pedestals at a sea distance lying in front of them.
At the foot of the Cascade, in the centre of the scoop, the
figure of "Samson breaking the jaws of a lion" stands
on the island of granite stones. It is the biggest fountain
of the Cascade (the height of the stream is 22m) and it is
the monument in the honor of 25 anniversary of Poltava victory.
Originally the sculpture group with the same name was designed
by B.K.Rastrelli and set up in 1735.
In the beginning of 19th century the deformed lead sculpture
of the Big Cascade was changed into bronze, golden, designed
on models by famous Russian foremen F.Shubin, F.Chshedrin,
I.Prokofiev, I.Martos, G.B.Rashette. The new group "Samson
breaking the jaws of a lion" was created by M.Kozlovsky.
In 1947 the fountain was restored by the sculptors V.Simonov
and N.Mikhailov. From the attic above the Big Cascade there
is a panorama of a central ensemble in the Low Park, the celebrating
character of which is underlined by twenty two streams of
the alley of fountains and the Voronokhin colonnade, completed
the square in front of the Big Cascade.
Built in 1800 they got the name by the name of their creator
A.Voronikhin. In front of the colonnade there are the stalls
with "Cup" fountains. In the corners of flower beds
and symmetrically to the Cascade there are semi-circular stone
benches decorated by the fountains "Nymph" and "Danaida".
They are the last fountains of the Low Park that were built.
The Upper Garden
spacious attached to the Big palace - the Upper Garden - from
the South and the Low Park - from the North - are the component
of the Peterhov architectural and art ensemble.
Despite the comparatively small area (15 hectares) the Upper
Garden makes the impression of wonderful harmony, width and
space. From the monumental pylons of the main gates there
is a magnificent panorama of the central stalles with fountains,
clear lines of lime-trees, spinnies of geometrical shapes,
pergolas ad trellis summer-houses. The Upper garden is decorated
by marble statues by Italian foremen of 18th century, decorative
vases, five fountains. Thee of them - "Mezheumniy"
("Indefinite"), "Oak" and "Neptune"-
are situated in the central stalls, the other two are in Square
ponds opposite the palace wings - the Hermitage and the Church.
The most interesting from the point of art and the largest
fountain of the Upper garden is "Neptune". The sculpture
of the fountain created in Nuremberg in 1650-1660 by G.Shveiger
by the model of H.Richter was set in Peterhof in 1798.
Address: Peterhof (Petrodvorets), suburb of St.Petersburg