Palaces and Fountains of Peterhof

In 1703, Peter the Great (1672-1725) moved the capital from Moscow to St. Petersburg where the city was built on a series of islands in the Neva River. (The city was named in honor of St. Peter, not its founder as is often assumed.) However, the river near the capital was too shallow for commercial traffic or warships, necessitating the construction of a fortress and port further west.   Peter designed a palace complex at Peterhof, on the Gulf of Finland, including his beloved summer retreat Monplaisir. From this strategic location, he could see the Kronstadt fortress as well as the city of St. Petersburg.

The Grand Palace at Peterhof

Peterhof is approximately an hour from St. Petersburg by car or ferry. We drove there and ferried back, which gave us another great perspective of the city. Visitors approaching the Grand Palace from the main gates pass by numerous water features and fountains.


Peter the Great traveled several times to Europe and much of Peterhof is modeled on Versailles, which he visited in 1717.There are 64 fountains in the Grand Cascade alone, seen above and below welcoming visitors who arrived by sea.

The Samson Fountain and Grand Cascade

The view over the Samson Fountain and Grand Cascade down to the Gulf of Finland is all the more impressive when you realize that all the fountains are supplied by water from natural springs and operate without any pumps.


I could have spent hours watching the fountains and the people enjoying them.  We were lucky to catch them still operating, as they are shut down from October to May.


Up next: Catherine the Great had her own summer palace at Tsarkoe Selo. Stay tuned!



5 thoughts on “Palaces and Fountains of Peterhof

  1. A beautiful castle and site (view over the gulf) but personally I found the fountains too gilded giving a Las Vegas look to something that is before anything a copy of Versailles

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What beautiful images. I did all the reading too, but being highly visual I couldn’t help but spend a lot more time ogling the photographs. The detail is magnificent. I have often thought I would like to travel to Russia. Maybe I will one day since I have traveled abroad before. It reminds me of the Czech Republic. So colorful. It may be a tad more ornate then the CR though, which makes me want to see it in person even more. I suspect there’s more than I few adventures in Russia I would happily enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

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