Petergof, which is also known as Peterhof, is a magnificent palace with expansive grounds. Petergof is Dutch for Peter’s court, and the tsar who ordered its construction was Peter I, also known as Peter the Great, who ruled from 1721-1725. Peter wanted the palace to be a symbol and a celebration of his access to the Baltic. It is truly amazing, and it is known as Russia’s Versailles. Since Petergof commemorates Russian imperial power, there are dozens of paintings inside depicting sea battles.
Since you can’t take photos inside the palace even if you’re only looking out the window, this week’s Photo Friday is about the best part of what is outside the palace. The architectural landscape is incredibly impressive because of the fountains.
With the water theme in mind, the incredible fountains make perfect sense. I didn’t go when I went to St. Petersburg for the first time in October 2016 because I knew that the fountains wouldn’t be running with summer being over.
I trekked to St. Petersburg last weekend, and I’m so glad I that waited for the summer season to see Petergof. It is absolutely incredible, and it was definitely worth the wait.
I also recommend going to see this UNESCO World Heritage Site by boat. It’s 1,400 roubles for a return ticket, and it departs from behind the Winter Palace. It’s the most convenient way to get there since you dock on the path that leads you to the palace. There are three bridges over the canal leading to the palace, and here’s a shot from the one closest to Petergof. ↓
With the canal positioned in the middle, you can’t get a shot in front of the main fountain looking at the palace. The view in the photo from the last bridge is the closest you can get dead centre.
Anyway, when you get closer, you’ll be able to see that most of the fountains have the water coming from the mouths of the faces or animals. Personally, I never liked that idea. They look like they’re puking or at best, spitting. Bleh! I find that looking from a fair distance – far but not too far – gives you the prettiest view.
What you see in the centre is a statue of Samson tearing open a lion’s jaws. It was installed in the 1730s as a symbol of Russia’s victory over Sweden; the lion represents Sweden since it’s on the Swedish coat of arms, and one of the major victories was won on Saint Samson’s Day. The jet shooting from the lion’s mouth is 20m high, and it’s the highest of the whole complex. The Nazis looted the original, so what we see is a replica that was installed in 1947.
Perhaps the greatest technological achievement of Peterhof is that all of the fountains operate without the use of pumps. Water is supplied from natural springs and collects in reservoirs in the Upper Gardens.
When I was inside the palace, I asked the staff if I could take a picture looking out the window that faces this view, but sadly, they wouldn’t let me. I didn’t expect them to, but I had to try anyway.
Here’s a small panorama to for a wider look. ↓
I went down the other wide. I only noticed the chapel when I came down this way. I’m not sure what the small building on the other side is though.
Aren’t these the prettiest fountains
you’ve ever seen?