Peterhof Fountains & Gardens | Russia Travel Guide

Peterhof Fountains and Gardens

Peterhof Fountains and Gardens

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Last updated:
23.11.2020

The Peterhof Fountain Season starts with a marvelous ceremony outside the awe-inspiring palace, marking the winter coming to an end and St. Petersburg coming back to life. It provides a lovely sight to enjoy while strolling around the Tsarist palaces of Peter the Great.

History of the Peterhof Fountains

The fountains in St. Petersburg begin and end at the Peterhof Palace, where these dream-like aquatic structures were the intrinsic focus in Peter the Great's designs. The sister palace, Strelna was the original site for his elaborate ideas, however, the sight's inability to engineer jets powerful enough led him to shift his attention to Peterhof where his wildest dreams could be realized.

Peterhof Fountains

This resulted in the first of the fountains that can be seen today on the palace grounds. Over time, Peter's successors gruelingly competed to outdo their predecessors by adding grander and more elaborate water features. The end result is spectacular and one of the biggest summer tourist attractions of all of Russia that draws millions of visitors every year.

Number of fountains
There are over 60 fountains in total in Peterhof.

Opening the fountain season

So how should one begin fountain season? At the end of May, an all-day festival with classical music, fireworks, and performances signifies the opening of the fountains of the Peterhof Palace. We highly recommend catching this festive celebration. Each fountain in the palace park grounds is turned on one-by-one.

Russian Olivier Salad

The range of artistic design and function of each fountain are unlike anything else in the world. There is the Chess Cascade which is an eloquent terraced chessboard-like structure adorned with dragons at the top. There is the many joke fountains that, for example, squirt passersby if they step on a particular stone.

The most notable is the Grand Cascade set directly before the Peterhof Palace. It runs from the northern facade of the Grand Palace down to the Marine Canal. Over 200 bronze statues, bas-reliefs and a total of 64 different fountains adorn surround Rastrelli's enigmatic center statue of Samson wrestling the jaws of a lion.

The fountain is fed by the wooden pipes stemming from the Grotto perched picturesquely behind it. The whole setting is the breathtaking first sight of St. Petersburg for visitors arriving by sea.

Exceptional fountains on the site

Deeper into the grounds you can take a seat at the Memorable Bench just Westward from the Whale Fountain and rest your legs at this ode to the younger daughter of Nicholas I. Then, at perhaps one of the most spectacular fountains in the park, bask in the solitude of the Pyramid Fountain, which stands relatively on its own quietly in the Lower Park. It was modeled after Mansart's Versailles Obelisk Fountain, yet with 505 sprayers compacted together in the center of the pool, it is twice the Obelisk in impression. Further on, the Sheaf Fountain of the Monplaisir Garden is one of the most aesthetic structures in one of the smartest of all the gardens where water streams over bell-shaped structures adorned with bronze gilt sculptures of Apollino, Faun with the Kid Goat, Bacchus and Psyche.

Russian Olivier Salad

Some of the must-see fountains in Peterhof:

  • Samson wrestling the jaws of a lion;
  • Whale Fountain;
  • Pyramid Fountain;
  • Sheaf Fountain;
  • Adam and Eve Fountain.

Biblical figures and Greek style fountains

Continue on to the Adam and Eve Fountain, the Favourite, Tritoon, Lion Cascade, and Menager Fountains among countless more paying ode to Biblical figures and Greek style. Be sure to cap off your tour with the Golden Hill Cascade glistening with its copper-gilded 14-meter-wide marble-edged steps which gave the structure its name. This 60-meter long structure surmounted by the statues of Neptune, a Triton and a Nymph should not be missed.

Russian Olivier Salad

Another thing not to be missed while touring the marvelous Peterhof Palace is its manicured gardens. Creating a spectacular ensemble together with the renowned fountains, the Lower Garden boasts the design features of a 17th-century French formal garden and provides a charming site for strolling around soaking up the views.

Manicured gardens of Peterhof

Another thing not to be missed while touring the marvelous Peterhof Palace is its manicured gardens. Creating a spectacular ensemble together with the renowned fountains, the Lower Garden boasts the design features of a 17th-century French formal garden and provides a charming site for strolling around soaking up the views.

Russian Olivier Salad

Make sure to stop by the Monplaisir Garden located by the Monplaisir Palace on the Peterhof estate. There are also ponds nearby as well as the Garden of Venus and Peter's orchard, fitted with cherry and apple trees. The elegantly designed greenery makes the setting come to life and displays all sorts of flora as well as exquisite work by architects and landscape designers.

Walking the ornate, quirky, majestic, and even surprising surroundings of Peterhof puts a special touch on spring strolling. Catch a sea ferry from the Baltics or Northern Europe or come in by train from the Russian countryside. Treat yourself to the awe of the fountains in St. Petersburg. You won't regret it.

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