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The Fountains

The Fountains


The Lion Cascade

Each palace had its corresponding cascade in the layout of the Lower Park. Therefore the idea to construct a cascade in the perspective of the avenue leading from the Hermitage Pavilion arose simultaneously with the erection of the New "Monplaisir" as the Hermitage was also called. The drawings of the fountain structure were made by the architect Niccolo Michetti as early as 1720, but he failed to realize his plan. Only at the end of the eighteenth century the idea of the "palace-cascade" compositional principle was fully realized after the design by Andrei Voronikhin.

The architect placed the cascade between the Birch and Marly Avenues. Eight vases and the figures of Heracles and Flora were mounted on a low pedestal. A year later the latter two were replaced by two guarding lions. Streams of water from the vases flowed down into the upper pool and then by the steps to the lower pool.

The "Hermitage" Cascade, as it was then known, existed until the mid nineteenth century. In 1854-55 the construction of a new cascade after the design by Andrei Stakenschneider began: a colonnade of fourteen eight-metre Ionic columns was placed on a granite basement repeating in plan the former cas-cade. The shafts of the columns were hewn from monolithic dark grey Serdobolye granite, while snow-white Carrara marble was used for their bases and capitals; twelve shallow bowls were produced of the same kind of mar-ble at the Peterhof Lapidary Works. The figure of a nymph created by the sculptor Fiodor Tolstoy was set up on a mound of granite slabs. The lions surviving from the former structure gave to the cascade its name - the Lion Cascade. It had similar appearance until 1941.

During the Second World War the cascade was destroyed, but in August 2000 jets of water gushed upwards over the most significant Russian fountain structure of the nineteenth century again.

The Lion Cascade.


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