Peterhof is one of the most fascinating former royal residences in the suburbs of Saint-Petersburg located on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland about 30 km from the city. It is famous for its beautiful parks with numerous fountains and sculptures, as well as for its palaces. The history of Peterhof goes back to the early 18th century, when it was founded as a monument to Russia’s victories in the Northern War with Sweden. In 1705 a small house for Peter I was built where the Tsar could take a rest on his way from Kronstadt to St. Petersburg hence the name – Peterhof. Since the beginning Peter I became seriously involved in the construction of Peterhof. He participated in the creation of parks and palaces, as well as water supplying system. Many talented Russian and foreign architects, artists, engineers, gardeners worked on the construction of the estate. The gala ceremony of opening the summer residence took place on the 15 of August 1723, and was marked by a great festivity. In the 18th and 19th centuries a grandiose complex of dozens of buildings and pavilions, eleven parks with numerous sculptures, more than 150 fountains and 5 cascades was formed in the area of over 1000 hectares. Today the palace and park ensemble Peterhof is a state museum, which is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nowadays the complex includes 32 museums in Peterhof, Oranienbaum and Strelna.
Text by Ekaterina Chistyakova