Peterhof

The world-famous Royal country residence, a town of parks, palaces and fountains, was founded in the begin-ning of the XVIIIth century. It was Peter the Great who conceived the idea for the whole project. The Upper and Lower Parks were laid between 1714 and 1725. At the same time the Upper Chambers, the Montplaisir and Marly Palaces, the Hermitage Pavilion and the fountains of the Lower Park were completed (architects J.B. Leblond, I. Braunstein, N. Michetti).

The fountains in the Upper Park were designed by the end of the XVIIIth century. At the same time the Dragon ("Chess") Hill Cascade was rebuilt and the Great Palace was extended and reconstructed. The Lower Park was decorated with the Fountain Promenade (architects V. Delamot, G. Quarenghi, B. Rastrelli, M. Zemtzov).

The early XIXth century saw the development of landscaped parks, new palaces, pavillions and fountains (architects N. Benois, I. Sharleman, A. Menelas).

The famous fountains of Peterhoff only play in summer. In winter, 7 museums are open: the Great Palace, the Catherine Wing, the Montplaisir and Marly Palaces, the Hermitage Pavilion, the memorial museum of the Benois family, the Cottage and the Bath.

  

Highlights:

The Great Palace is the centrepiece of the Peterhof ensemble (1714-25). The interiors of the palace - the Throne Hall, Peter's oak-panelled study (carved by Nicolas Pineau), the Chinese Lobbies, the Portrait Hall, the White Dining-Room - are true master pieces of decorative and applied art. 

Walk through the picturesque Parks made of Upper Gardens, the Lower Park, the gardens of Venus and Bacchus and the landscaped English and Meadow Parks. 

Enjoy Peterhof's network of fountains. There is a total of 3 cascades and 144 fountains. The Great Cascade is definitely the beauty. It has 64 fountains (the largest of which is the Man Struggling with Lion's Jaws) decorated with 225 sculptures. 

Visit one-storey Monplaisir Palace (1714-23). Western European paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries are on display in the rooms and galleries. 

See Peter the Great's relics, and paintings by Western European artists in the Marly Palace (1720-23). 

The Hermitage Pavilion (1721-25) has a rich collection (124) of Western European paintings. 

The Cottage Palace in the Alexandria Park (1826 - 1829) was a summer residence for Nicholas First family. It was built in the style of medieval English architecture. Its interiors have been completely restored and now contain display of works by Russian and European painters and sculptures. 

In 1988 the museum of the Benois family opened in the western wing of the Maid-of-Honour Houses, built in 1864 according to a design of Nikolai Benois. The bulk of its collection consists of gifts presented by Benois' descendants. The museum holds temporary exhibitions of works from the Peterhof palaces and private collections and hosts displays by modern artists.