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The Bath House

Attached to the eastern wing from the side of the Monplaisir Garden is a single-storey building with a tent-shaped hipped roof. This is the so-called Bath House. Originally, the Monplaisir estate included, among other household structures, bathing pools and baths built in 1721-22. In 1748, instead of Peter's small wooden bath house, a new one, also in wood, was erected there and a crystal bath inserted into a copper casing was installed. In 1765, the construction of a swimming pool with a lifting bottom and an inlet of sea water began. Unsalted water was fed from the Moujichok (Peasant) Fountain in the centre of the pool. The work was finished only in the 1770s when pipes were laid along the perimeter of the octagonal pool inside with water-jets spouting from them. Later, already in 1800, the moujichok was replaced by a tall gilded column with water-thrusting sphere on top. Thus the construction of a trick fountain over the Imperial bath was completed. In addition to the room containing a bathing-pool and a shower-bath, the Bath House had cold-water bathrooms and a Russian steam-bath, as well as the Toilet Room and the Entrance Room.

In 1865-66 the old wooden wing was replaced by a new stone building erected to the design of the architect Eduard Hahn. Redesigning the building he tried to retain the eighteenth-century style - he even simply imitated the architecture of Monplaisir. However, the evident lack of integrity in the design of the facades and the apparent overloading with details betray a nineteenth-century builder. Nevertheless, the architect left intact the original layout of the building, the bathing-pool with a fountain and the steam-bath. The Bath House had retained such an appearance until World War II, but during the occupation of Peterhof its interiors were destroyed. Now their restoration has been completed and soon a museum of the history of daily life shall be opened there.

A small Chinese garden in the so-called landscape style adjoins the Bath House from the east. The garden was designed by the architect Eduard Hahn in 1866. The creators of such gardens aimed at reaching the maximum variety of landscape scenery. To enliven the flat relief of the area, a hillock was raised there. Mounted on its top is a marble sculptural group, Cupid and Psyche, a copy of Canova's original. This spot affords a splendid view of the gulf. On the northern slope of the hillock is a tufa grotto with two marble stepways shaped as shells. The brook running from the grotto streams down the edges of the shells and feeds water to the small pond which has a tufa island with a fountain jet in the centre of it. The structure is known as the Shell Cascade. The clusters of trees, the small brook with humpbacked bridges spanning it, the marble statues, the winding walks and the flower-beds, all adds to the special air of cosiness and splendour characteristic of the Chinese Garden.



The Bath House.


The Bath House.
The Chinese Garden.

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