Peterhof Things to Do Tips by Canadienne Top 5 Page for this destination
Peterhof Things to Do: 30 reviews and 63 photos
Mom & the Marine Canal
Initially designed and used as a transportation route, the Marine Canal's construction began in 1715.
Once the Grand Cascade fountain was placed in its way two decades later, it's purpose became purely decorative.
If you arrive by hydrofoil, as we did, your walk to the palace will take you along this north-south route. The palace is revealed bit by bit. . .and the effect is fairly impressive.
Grand Cascade & Terraces
There are 37 gilded bronze sculptures in the Grand Cascade. When the full display came into view for the first time, in all its polished glory, I actually had to stifle a laugh. They are incredibly shiny!
Grand Cascade Sculpture
Aside from the statues, there are also 64 fountains and 142 jets of water making up the Grand Cascade
The fountains are usually turned on from May to October, but, if it is important to you, I would recommend calling first. I will freely admit that if the fountains had not been running, I wouldn't have been nearly as satisfied with the visit.
Known today as the Great Palace, the main building of Peterhof was actually not Peter the Great's favourite (nor does today's estate look anything like his original design, thanks largely to Elizabeth I's alternations and additions).
Although he designed the Palace (and Petersburg) after the fashion of Western Europe, his personal tastes were more modest and he spent most of his time in the smaller building called Monplaisir (closed during our visit).
Grand Cascade & Marine Canal
From the terrace of the Great Palace, you can look back over the route you have just covered, from the Gulf of Finland to the palace door.
Note the tour groups (Russian & Spanish were the languages we heard) in the right of the photo. If they join you in a palace room, it's best to stand back and let them pass. They'll be led at a quick pace (and given viewing priority), so it's easier to do that than to try to rush ahead of them.
Blue Dining Room?
There is some uniqueness to a few of the rooms ~ the Picture Hall, Chinese Studies and Oak Study in particular ~ but the others are a variation of the one photographed here. The height of luxury: sumptuous fabrics, exquisitely detailed decorations. . .but little character to bring the room to life.
Still, you can set your own pace on the walking tour. . .and the estate offers other delights, outside of the palace, as well.
The Picture Hall was the most interesting (to us at least!) of all the rooms ~ it was re-decorated in 1764 with the portraits (by Count Pietro Rotari) of 364 women.
The roof in this room is very high, so the floor to ceiling effect of the paintings is stunning. There's also a wide variety in the ages, expressions and costumes of the women who posed for Rotari. . .it's definitely worth pausing to examine them.
In contrast to the other rooms of the palace, Peter the Great's Oak Study is simple, functional, and very rich in character. It was one of the more interesting rooms to us, precisely because it felt used and "lived in," a feeling that many of the other rooms weren't able to convey. It is one of the only rooms that is in its original form, virtually unchanged since the initial design and construction of the palace.
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