Peterhof Palaces And Fountains

Peterhof Palace and Fountains

Peterhof stands on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland. This majestic residence of Russian tsars is one of the most popular museums in Russia. Every year almost 6,000,000 people from all over the world come to Peterhof. Let’s discover which attractions you will see there.

Peterhof Palaces and Parks That You Should Not Miss

WHAT IS PETERHOF FAMOUS FOR?

The most known sights of Peterhof are the Grand Palace and the Lower Park with fountains. These two sights attract the most of the tourists. If you visit Peterhof for the first time, start your journey with the palace and the park. These are the must-see places.

However, the Grand Palace and the fountain park are just A PART of the whole residence. Attentive tourists will find many more places to see in Peterhof.

Did you know?

Peterhof is often referred to as the Russian Versailles.


WHO AND WHEN FOUNDED PETERHOF

Peterhof was founded by Russian Emperor Peter the Great. This legendary Russian emperor founded Saint Petersburg in 1703. He also began exploring the shores of the Gulf of Finland and building palaces there. Construction of Peterhof started in 1711.

According to the idea of Peter I, Peterhof was to become a summer estate, created in the likeness of Versailles. He aspired to build a magnificent palace and a park that would blow away even accustomed to luxury European monarchs.

Peterhof Palace and Fountains
Peterhof Palace & the Grand Cascade Fountain

I am sure that if you come to Peterhof park on a sunny summer day, you will be greatly impressed, too. Shining gold, sculptures, bubbling water, blooming flowerbeds, and shady alleys will make you feel you are in a paradise on earth.


WHO LIVED IN PETERHOF

Peterhof belonged to the Russian Imperial Family — the Romanov. Many generations of Russian emperors loved this estate and spent summers there.

I have to add that Peterhof is not the only residence of Russian emperors. If you are interested in the history of Imperial Russia, you can also visit other palaces in Saint Petersburg, Tsarskoe Selo, Gatchina, and Pavlovsk.


COMPOSITION OF PETERHOF

According to the project of Peter the Great, guests had to arrive to Peterhof by sea. Nowadays, you can do so, too. If you take a hydrofoil from Saint Petersburg, you will travel via the Gulf of Finland.

  • The first place that you will see, after leaving the hydrofoil, would be the Lower Park. It stretches along the shore of the gulf.
  • As you go further, you will get to the Grand Palace. It stands on a hill and is well visible from afar. The length of the palace is 268 m!
  • Behind the Grand Palace, there is another park — the Upper Park.

Thus, the Grand Peterhof Palace divides the park into two parts. The upper part is decorated with several fountains. The lower part has about 150 fountains!

The Upper Park
The Upper Park of Peterhof
The Lower Park on a Summer Day
The Lower Park on a Summer Day

Keep in mind
Fountains work only in the warm season: from mid-April to mid-October.


WHAT YOU WILL SEE IN PETERHOF

Peterhof Museum Complex comprises several palaces and parks.

The largest palace is the Grand Peterhof Palace. Moreover, in the Lower Park, you will also find smaller palaces and pavilions:

  • Monplaisir Palace
  • Palace of Marly
  • Bathhouse
  • Catherine Block

Peterhof Palace

The Grand Peterhof Palace is the compositional centre of the entire architectural ensemble. It dominates other buildings. From the windows of the palace, you can see a cascade of fountains descending to the Gulf of Finland.

Peter the Great chose the site for the future residence himself. He invited talented French architect Jean-Baptiste Alexandre Le Blond. The construction lasted for about 40 years.

During World War II, the palace was blown up. Before the Nazis arrived, it was possible to evacuate the original Oak Cabinet of Peter the Great, as well as some furniture, sculptures and paintings. The reconstruction started at the end of the 60s.

The most impressive view of Peterhof: the Grand Place and the Grand Cascade Fountain
The Most Impressive View of Peterhof: the Grand Palace and the Grand Cascade Fountain

Grand Cascade Fountain

The Grand Cascade is the most famous ensemble of fountains of Peterhof. It starts at the terrace near the Grand Palace and descends to the Samson Fountain. Samson tearing apart the jaws of the lion symbolize the victory of the Russian Empire over Sweden. The water from the lion’s mouth springs up to the height of 21 meters!

The Grand Cascade stands at the head of the Sea Channel. There are several bridges across the channel. And if you want to take a good photo of the palace and the Grand Cascade, head to one of them.

Monplaisir Palace

Flowerbeds and Fountains in front of Monplaisir Palace
Flowerbeds and Fountains in front of Monplaisir Palace

Monplaisir is a palace in the Lower Park of Peterhof. It is much smaller than the Grand Palace — and much cosier, too. Monplaisir means “my pleasure” in French.

Monplaisir Palace was the favourite countryside residence of Peter the Great. It stands very close to the shore of the gulf. From the veranda, you can see Kronstadt and St. Petersburg.

Peter the Great himself made several sketches of this building. Unlike the opulent Grand Palace, Monplaisir resembles a discreet Dutch house of the 18th century. To our days, personal belongings of the emperor and some paintings are still kept there.

Trick Fountains

In the garden, near Monplaisir Palace, there are several fountains created back in the time of Peter the Great. They are preserved in their original form to this day:

  • Benches
  • Fir Tree
  • Oak
  • Umbrella
  • Water road

These are trick fountains. Water jets of these fountains turn on and off unexpectedly, splashing every one who approaches! How a lot of fun, especially for children!

Marly Palace

Marly is a miniature palace in the Lower Park of the Peterhof.

Marly Palace in Peterhof (St. Petersburg, Russia)
Marly Palace

At one time, the building was a guest house. For example, the daughter of Peter the Great lived in it with her family. Near the Marly Palace, there is a picturesque square pond with fish.

By the pond, you can see the Triton-Bells. These are small fountains in the form of triton-boys holding large flat bowls above them.

Not far from the palace, there is the majestic Golden Mountain cascade. It is a large fountain that looks like fountains near palaces of the French kings.

Fountain "Golden Mountain"
Fountain “Golden Mountain”

Other Fountains in the Lower Park of Peterhof

Here are a few more famous fountains of Peterhof that you can find in the Lower Park. Small or large, they all beckon with their beauty.

For instance, you can see fountain “The Sun”. It looks like a gilded column with a ball at the top. 187 water jets spread from the gilded ball like sunbeams.

There are also paired fountains “Adam” and “Eve”. They have been preserved in their original form.

Fountain "The Sun"
Fountain “The Sun”

OPENING TIME & TICKETS

The Grand Palace
Opens Tuesday – Sunday from 10:30 to 19:00
Entrance ticket: 1500 Rub. (in 2022). The entrance to the palace is from the Lower Park.

The Lower Park
Opens Monday – Sunday from 9:00 to 20:00
Entrance ticket: 1200 Rub. (in 2022).

The Upper Park
Closed for restoration until 2024.

Monplaisir Palace
Opens Monday – Sunday from 10:30 to 18:00. Closed on the last Monday of each month.
Entrance ticket: 600 Rub. (in 2022). The entrance to the palace is from the Lower Park.
Pay attention: Monplaisir Palace opens only from May to October. It might also close on a rainy day.

Marly Palace
Opens Monday – Sunday from 10:30 to 18:00. Closed on the last Monday of each month.
Entrance ticket: 600 Rub. (in 2022). The entrance to the palace is from the Lower Park.
Pay attention: Marly Palace opens only from May to October. It might also close on a rainy day.


HOW TO GET TO PETERHOF PALACES & PARKS

By bus:

  • From the metro station “Avtovo” to the stop “Razvodnaya street”
    Buses: No. 200, No. 204, No. 210
  • From the metro station “Prospekt Veteranov” to the stop “Razvodnaya street”
    Buses: No. 103, No. 343

By suburban train:

From the Baltic railway station in Saint Petersburg to the station “New Peterhof” + from the station by buses No. 351A, No. 351B, No. 352, No. 356, No. 463, No. 489

I know that I have left out some great fountains out of this post. If one of them is your favourite, please, leave a comment explaining why you think it is worth seeing.