The One with Peterhof, Russia

Monday, August 24, 2015

On our second day in port at St. Petersburg we loaded up on our excursion bus to drive out to the Peterhof palace.  
It was about an hour drive from the cruise port to the palace and along the way we got to see more of St. Petersburg through our bus windows. 
How beautiful is this mint green building? That color is right up my alley. 
Orthodox churches are so cool and so different from what we usually see out in Western Europe.

Along with the lovely architecture are the inevitable communist era apartment blocks that you can see all over what was once the Eastern Bloc.

Bluest of blue roofs ever!
Endless railroad tracks.
We arrived and WOW! That's all I can say.
Peter the Great's lavish palace at Peterhof sits along the Gulf of Finland west of St. Petersburg. The history of Peterhof begins back in 1705 when traveling chambers were built for Peter the Great on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland. Soon, not far from this place, work began on the creation of a new imperial residence, which, Peter determined, would one day outshine all the other royal palaces of Europe.
This is Russia's Versailles and is once of the areas most popular tourist attractions. The Gгаnd Palace lies at the very heart of Peterhof and is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. In the nineteenth century the ornate Baroque interiors were embellished with Neoclassical details and light touches of Late Rococo. The palace boasts masterpieces of decorative art such as the Oak Cabinet of Peter the Great with carved panels by Nicolas Pineau; the grand staircase and golden enfilade of state apartments; the Ball Room and the Picture Gallery with 368 paintings by Pietro Antonio Rotari; the Cesme Room created for Catherine the Great in honor of Russian naval victories; the Chinese Rooms and the Throne Room with its Romanov portrait gallery... buuuuut no pictures were allowed and there was a mean museum person in every corner of every room yelling at us left and right for Fox and Jane just looking at things the wrong way. I'm only slightly exaggerating - the way they targeted us because we were the only ones with small children was annoying. But anyway. We're used to it. And sorry for no interior photos of all those things, like I said, no photos allowed, and I wasn't about to get caught trying to take some and get shipped off to Siberia! :)

It was crowded AS inside (that's gotta be some kind of fire hazard?!) so we were anxious to be done with the inside tour and head outside in the fresh air and not worry so much about Fox & Jane knocking things over.
Peter the Great planned Peterhof as the residence of a sea king. This was to be his incarnation of Russia as a great European power, with a foothold on the shores of the world's oceans, capable of competing with the finest Western courts - above all, with Versailles.
As a former residence of the Russian monarchs, Peterhof brings together the finest achievements in national and international culture. This unique complex was created by outstanding architects, decorators and sculptors, whose spectacular works of art slot perfectly into the natural beauty of the coastal landscape.
The tsar deliberately built his new residence by the sea as a triumphant symbol of the successful conclusion of Russia's long struggle for an outlet to the Baltic Sea. Peterhof was officially opened in the presence of the tsar and foreign diplomats in August 1723.
The Grand Cascade is modeled on one constructed for Louis XIV at his Château de Marly, which is likewise memorialized in one of the park's outbuildings. In the 1730s, the large Samson Fountain was placed in this pool. It depicts the moment when Samson tears open the jaws of a lion, representing Russia's victory over Sweden in the Great Northern War, and is doubly symbolic. The lion is an element of the Swedish coat of arms and one of the great victories of the war was won on St Samson's Day. From the lion's mouth shoots a vertical jet of water, the highest in all of Peterhof. This masterpiece by Mikhail Kozlovsky was looted by the invading Germans during the Second World War. A replica of the statue was installed in 1947.
The Evans Family in front of the Grand Cascade at Peterhof, Russia on Thursday July 30th 2015. Our kids are really cooperative, all the time, as you can plainly see.
The expanse of the Lower Gardens is designed in the formal style of French formal gardens of the 17th century.
Today, the museum complex stretches across five hundred hectares of territory. Dotted with sparkling fountains, the Lower Park and Upper Gardens flow effortlessly into the shady and romantic glades of Alexandria, forming a unique fusion of regular and landscape parks.

The Peterhof Museum Complex is rightfully regarded as the "capital of fountains." Included in the state register of most valuable cultural objects of the Russia, Peterhof now bears the proud title of one of the "Seven Wonders of Russia."
Garden and grounds details.

The present-day beauty of Peterhof is the result of decades of painstaking work by architects, painters, and masters of decorative and applied art. Restoration work continues even to this day.
Next stop: Tallinn, Estonia!


  1. Cooperative or no, I am amazed at all the travels you get in with your children. My kids are very close in age to both of your children and even the small things like sitting on that bus for an hour before you got to the palace seem daunting. We did a caribbean cruise once last year and dinner was just too late and naps didn't happen and i think our expectations were too high. It was a disaster! I lived in Germany for 6 months and my husband and I lived in England for a year before children. There is so much beauty in Europe and in the world and you are very lucky (and very brave) to experience it all with your little ones.

  2. SO laughing at the cooperative comment! :) My teenagers are still a little bit difficult! LOVING all of the pics and descriptions!!

  3. Peterhof is one of my favorite places in the world too.
    I am sorry to hear about mean old ladies at the museum ( I know what are you are talking about), but it is the reality for the major part of the museums in Russia or in post-Soviet Union region.

    We are tring to travel with kids too ( one - 9 and 3 years old), sometimes we need to plan how to entertain them during the long drive, but anyway, I am sure they are happy to travel with their parents.
    and lucky you, Europe is great. I visited Tallinn this summer too, it is an incredible place

  4. LOVING the photos!! Bummer the guards treated you all that way :(

  5. I was in Peterhof, too. The day when we were there, it was rainy, but it's less crowded. You had much fanfare and festivity during your visit. It is an amazing palace, isn't it?


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