After lunch my granddaughter went walking around the gardens with the guide to see the fountains and statues. I just slowly made my way up to the Grand Palace to meet them where the driver was to pick us up. I did see some of the Grand Cascade, the most famous ensemble of fountains, which runs from the northern facade of the Grand Palace to the Marine Canal, but I didn't see all 64 different fountains, and over 200 bronze statues, bas-reliefs, and other decorations. At the center stands the statue of Samson wrestling the lion. My granddaughter saw the Chess Cascade and many other fountains.
We were there in June so the official opening of the fountains at Peterhof had already taken place. This usually takes place at the end of May, is an all-day festival, with classical music, fireworks and other performances, as each section of the park's fountains is turned on one by one
The first areas of land to be developed at Peterhof were the formal gardens around Monplaisir, part of the Lower Park. The Garden of Bacchus was also begun during Peter's reign, although additions were made to its statuary and fountains throughout the 18th century. The statue of Neptune was one of the first ones we saw after we got off the catamaran ferry. the Upper Gardens south of the Grand Palace,consist of three alleys lead to the Palace, surrounded by formal flowerbeds and low, clipped hedges.
After lunch, I made my way up to the upper palace and waited for the guide and my granddaughter. The long, narrow palace has minimal decoration. with two white pavilions with gilded cupolas at the end of the wings. But it is still impressive from the outside
When we were here, we did not go inside of the Higher Palace which was (like many palaces in many countries from this period of time) modeled after Versailles. Inside, the Grand Palace is reported to be considerably more lavish, although the interiors had to be almost entirely reconstructed after World War 2.
The only palace that we toured at Peterhof was Monplaisir. which the guide told us was the favorite residence of Peter the Great. She said that the Peter and Catherine would come out here to relax by themselves with just some close friends - without a lot of servants. She even did the cooking. When we got to Monplaisir itself, we put on the booties over our shoes. There were two wings with black and white tile floors and decorated ceilings and paintings on the walls. They had floor to ceiling windows on both sides of the fairly narrow corridor.
This is a small palace - other than the two wings, there was a sitting room, dining room, kitchen and butlers pantry, bedroom and study. There was also a water closet. The decorative moulding is a masterpiece of interior decoration.
The tsar himself chose the location, perched right on the Gulf of Finland. Besides planning the inner layout and much of the interior decor, Peter also came up with the name for the palace — Monplaisir (meaning "my pleasure").
The palace was built between 1714 and 1723 by Andreas Schluter, Johann Friedrich Braunstein, Jean-Baptiste-Alexandre Le Blond and Nicola Michetti. The exhibits include, Chinese porcelain, Dutch faience, Russian glass and eighteenth-century cooking appliances.
June 5 to October 9: daily, 10:30 am to 6 pm. Last admission is at 5 pm.
Admission: RUB 360.00. Audio-guide: RUB 150.00
Photo and video: not allowed
The Lower gardens are between the shore and the Palace. These gardens have a lot of beautiful vistas, and some trick fountains. My granddaughter gave me her camera and went to activate one of the trick fountains - there was a bench there and if you walked up to sit on the bench, water would spray up your back. But I couldn't get the camera to work so I missed the picture. She did get one of someone else. There are other trick fountains Two take the form of gangly trees rigged with jets that activate when someone approaches. Another, disguised as an umbrella with a circular bench set around the stem, drops a curtain of water from its rim when someone enters to take a seat, but I think we only saw the one with the bench with the cobblestone fountain area in front of it.
The smaller Upper Gardens are free, but entry to the Lower Gardens requires the purchase of tickets (not included in the boat fee for visitors arriving by hydrofoil). Our tickets were purchased for us by our guide so I don't know what they cost and the website doesn't really say what the price is.
Peterhof ticket for the park and fountains only cost 400 rubles (october 2011)
Chessboard fountain with musicians.
Water is running by gravity from the hill, there was no pump at the time of the construction; a real technology success.
The Lower Gardens (Nizhny Sad), at 1.02 sq km comprising the better part of Peterhof's land area, are confined between this bluff and the shore, stretching east and west for roughly 200 metres. The majority of Peterhof's fountains are contained here, as are several small palaces and outbuildings.
Atop the bluff, near the middle of the Lower Gardens, stands the Grand Palace (Bolshoi Dvorets). Behind (south) of it are the comparatively small Upper Gardens (Verhnyy Sad). Upon the bluff's face below the Palace is the Grand Cascade (Bolshoi Kaskad). This and the Grand Palace are the centerpiece of the entire complex. At its foot begins the Sea Channel (Morskoi Kanal), one of the most extensive waterworks of the Baroque period, which bisects the Lower Gardens.
In my opinion it is one of place, what you must to visit certainly, when you visit the Sankt-Peterburg. Beauty of this place and emotions what I got in there, exceed all my expectancys.
The Grand Palace is open Tuesday to Sunday, 10:30 am to 5:30 pm
Closed on Mondays and the last Tuesday of each month
The Lower Park is open daily 9 am to 8 pm, weekends till 9 pm
Fountains operate from the last week of May to the first week of October, 11 am to 5 pm, weekends till 6 pm
The Upper Gardens are freely accessible, but entry to the Lower Gardens requires the purchase of tickets (not included in the boat fee for visitors arriving by hydrofoil). The palaces and grotto are accessible only as part of guided tours. As at many tourist attractions in Russia, tickets for Russian nationals are discounted to around 10% of the price for foreigners. This means that locals can afford to, and do, use the sea front and beaches for summer relaxation and swimming.
Hours are limited. Even during the summer tourist season, the Lower Gardens do not open until ten or eleven in the morning, and the fountains are shut off at five.
The Grand Palace of Peterhof includes a lot of museum halls and historic places , among them:
- the main staircase;
- exhibition rooms;
- the Blue Reception Room;
- Chesma Room;
- The Throne Room;
- The Audience Chamber;
- The White Dining Hall;
- The Dish Heating Room;
- The Buffet Room;
- The Western Chinese Study;
- The Picture Hall;
- The Eastern Chinese Study;
- The Partridge Drawing Room;
- The Lounge;
- The Dressing Room;
- The Study;
- The Staddards Room;
- The Cavaliers’ Room;
- The Minor Passage Room;
- The Blue Drawing Room;
- The Secretary’s Room;
- The Reserve Quarters Room
- The Crown Chamber;
- The Oak Study;
- The Oak Staircase.
We saw this lighthouse as we got off the hydrofoil. It is on the south side of Neva Bay on the palace waterfron. It is an approximately 33 ft round cylindrical white tower with lantern, gallery, and skeletal braces on the seaward side. The llantern and watch room red, and there is red vertical range stripe
I first heard about the Peterhof Fountains after I booked my trip to St. Petersburg. It has been known as the Russian Versailles – and I love Versailles!
And when you see the fountains for the first time, you are just in awe about how opulent they lived in the past. The Grand Cascade Fountains are just amazing with their golden statues – the water flowing in a semi-circular pool and the Samson Fountain showing Samson himself (Russia) opening up the jaws of a lion (defeated Sweden) to reveal a 20-meter high jet of water! Amazing!
And all the waters operate without pumps – the water comes from natural springs and collects in reservoirs in the upper gardens and the elevation difference creates the pressure drive.
Definitely a wonder and ranks as one of the world top fountain gardens! I love Versailles -and although Peterhof is similar to Versailles in some ways, both of them have their unique characters...
When I first went to Peterhof, I was so intent on seeing the fountains, but my guide assured me there was enough time to roam around later and that I had to appreciate the castle itself first.
She was right.
There are about thirty rooms in this narrow palace which has some French interior design. It is adorned by paintings like Battle of Chesma, a stunning naval victory of the Russo-Turkish War, 1768-1774 painted between 1771 and 1773 by the German artist Jacob Philipp Hackert.
There is also an oriental influence through the East and West Chinese Cabinets decorated between 1766 and 1769 to exhibit objects of decorative Asian art. Chinese landscape paintings in yellow and black lacquer are in some of the walls.
A Picture Hall also has its walls are almost entirely covered by a series of 368 paintings, mostly of variously dressed women (but apparently drawn from a single model) purchased in 1764 from the widow of the Italian artist P. Rotari, who died in St. Petersburg.
Truly there’s a lot of treasures to be found in the castle and appreciated before you venture outside.
When you walk the grounds of Peterhof Castle, you will find several fountains giving you the opportunity to get wet ---- it's a sort of Wet and Wild from the times of Czars and Palaces...
I was walking and saw a group of Japanese tourists huddling together at a certain fountain -- one of their members was covering herself with her kacket as she attempted to cross a water fountain --- once she runs on that ground, water spews out to wet her! I caught the moment in one of my videos here on VT!
Hehehe, I should have tried that! Maybe you can! I will next time I visit...
This is probably the most stunning and beautiful part of the whole of the Peterhof palace and grounds and it is worth going just to see this sight. The Great cascade with its beautiful fountains flowing and the grand palace at the top.
The Grounds that surround Peterhof are just as if not more beautiful the Grand Palace itself. On a nice day you could spend hours just walking around these beautiful grounds. There are many beautiful flowers, waterfalls and statues to be seen. A word of advice watch were you step as Peter the Great was a Practical joker and there are a couple of trick fountains throughout the grounds and these still work.
A tour of the grand palace is well worth it as there are many beautiful rooms, furniture pictures and orniments to be seen. You can take photos and use video cameras when in the palace only if you have a permit which you buy at the entrance of the palace it is not that expensice. No flash photography is permitted though inside the palace.