Day 2

The second day was spent touring Peterhof, the pride and joy of Peter the Great.. The tour did not involve the palace itself, but rather the gardens surrounding it..

After a visit to Versailles in 1717, Peter the Great decided his gardens would rival those of the French palace, and commissioned over 5,000 labourers, serfs and soldiers, architects, water-engineers, land-scape gardeners and sculptors. The gardens were completed in 1723, and consist of two areas. The Upper Gardens, in the front of the palace,  is more geometrical, framed by hedges and punctuated with ornamental ponds. The Lower Gardens is less formal, consisting of treed areas, walkways and numerous fountains. The trees and shrubs, including limes, elms, maples and roses, were imported from all over Russia and abroad.

Much like Catherine's Palace in Pushkin, the palace and surrounding areas were all but destroyed by the Germans in WWII. Decades have been spent restoring it to its original glory using various local artisans and builders.


The entrance to Peterhof. Stretched out in front of us is the Upper Garden.   

Another shot of the Upper Garden

One of the fountains in the garden.

The Neptune Fountain.
The fountain itself predates Peterhof by more than 50 years. It was erected in 1658 in Nuremberg to mark the end of the Thirty Years War and was sold to Tsar Paul I in 1782 because there was not enough water to make it work.

The structure with the onion domes is one of two bookending the palace.

A closer view of the structure, currently under reconstruction. I tried to read the sign to see what it was but it was in Russian.

The passageway to the Lower Garden.

This was taken at the back of the palace to demonstrate the detail and patience required to rebuild the palace. Certainly a credit to Russian artisans.


The first view of the Lower Garden from the balcony of the palace.

View from the top of the Grand Cascade fountain.

Beyond the Grand Cascade is the Marine Canal, which enabled Tsars to sail from the Gulf of Finland to the Great Palace. Somehow I doubt those bridges were there at the time.

The view from halfway down the steps beside the fountain.

The Grand Cascade in all it's glory.

A final view of the fountain.

Looking back from the Lower Garden.

Rest stop.

One of the tranquil and beautiful walkways in the Lower Garden.

Me, checking my camera on one of the walkways.

A small pavilion and the Statue of Adam, located along one of the pathways, Eve is somewhere on the opposite side of the garden.

A closer view of Adam, holding the forbidden fruit.

The Palace and Grand Cascade as seen from the first bridge across the Marine Canal.

The "other" Hermitage.
The pavilion (1721-5) was built on the coast of the Gulf of Finland as a private dining room for the Tsar and his friends. To ensure privacy, the building was raised on a plinth and surrounded by a moat . A small drawbridge was erected to allow access, or restrict it, depending on how you want to look at it..

While I can't read Russian, it appears this monument was built to commemorate the sinking of a naval vessel in 1941. Judging by the wreaths and flowers, it has a lot of meaning.

The Hydrofoil, our ride across the Gulf of Finland and back to St. Petersburg.

Back to Baltics - 2010