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New Peterhof Fountain Season

The 2014 Peterhof Fountain Season starts with the Grand Ceremony of the Fountains Opening held in Peterhof on May 17, 2014 Behold fountain season in Russia. The winter has gone and the magnificent fountains of St. Petersburg are about to come to life. Fountain season in St. Petersburg is a unique way to spend spring afternoons strolling the embankments, open squares and Tsarist palaces of Peter the Great. 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 attentions to Peterhof where his wildest dreams could be realized. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Walking the ornate, quirky, majestic and even surprising fountains 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. Browse St. Petersburg tours | Explore our signature St. Petersburg - Moscow tours | Read more about St. Petersburg