Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mystery Photo 5: Peterhof, Russia

Mystery Photo 5 -- Peterhof, Russia (Petrodvorets)

    The Mystery Photo 5 was of a classical European Palace Complex built by Peter the Great across the Bay of Finland from Saint Petersburg, Russia. Several of the buildings are built right on the Bay of Finland. Over time both Peter the Great, his wife Catherine and then succeeding royalty spent time here at Peterhof.

      These two photos (above and below) show the Monplaisir Palace. This is the first Palace that Peter the Great originally built on these grounds. Later after the Grand Palace and other dining palaces, etc were built, this Palace was used primarily by his wife Catherine who modified and added to it. It was also later used by Katherine the Great after her husband, Peter III was deposed.

     Following are several photos from inside the Monplaisir Palace. It has lots of wood, mostly oak, gorgeous chandeliers and a very large collection of 17th century antique furniture, much of it from the private collection of Peter the Great.

        Peter the Great reigned for 42 years over Russia, from the time he was 11 years old. Born in 1672, as he grew into majority, he became more and more influenced by European ideals. He traveled several times to European capitols and attempted to forge alliances that would help him and his own country. He also fought wars with the Turkish Empire and with the Swedish Empire. These did not always work out for Peter but in the 18th Century he was eventually named Emperor of the Russian Empire though he himself disavowed this title of Emperor. His European influence comes out in the construction of Peterhof. The word means Peter's Court, and shows some of the German influence in the area as well. Later the name was Russianized to Petrodvorets. Peter was married twice. His second wife was Catherine who was eventually named Empress, Catherine (not Katherine the Great, who was the wife of Czar Peter III later in the 18th century).  Her influence is also strong at Petrodvorets. Some buildings were modified or added to at her behest. Peter died at age 57 after ruling for 42 years. But Peterhof was utilized and slightly modified by later royalty all the way up to Nicholas II and the Russian Revolution in 1917. The buildings and grounds were highly damaged by the Germans in World War II but they were among the first to be restored after the Great War. Thanks to Russian Army engineers and 1000 volunteers the buildings and grounds were restored to their original beauty by 1947.

     The following three photos show the lovely gardens and some of the fountains that are scattered around the grounds.

Below is the Aviary. 
     Peterhof has been called the "Russian Verseilles." However, I have been at Verseilles also in my lifetime and I agree with those who say that this pronouncement actually might be an insult to Petrohof. The grounds and gardens are certainlyextremely beautiful, and I think more picturesque than Verseilles. Peterhof is also very well known for its magic with water. There is an extensive fountain system throughout the parks surrounded by statuary, terraces, and patios with marvelous stonework. This system serves as the showcase for the beautiful palaces and buildings at Peterhof. We took the hydrofoil across the Bay of Finland which lands right on the property. This manner of entrance allows the visitor to amble up the broad entrance avenue beside a long reflecting pool and approach the Grand Palace from a gorgeous perspective. One enters the main fountain courtyard and from there can amble in various directions to view the several other small palaces on the grounds. 

Below is the Grand Palace and its front terrace and fountain display.

     The above photo is taken from the front terrace of the Grand Palace, looking out over the fountain display, and down the long reflecting pool right to the Bay of Finland which is how we arrived when we came by Hydrofoil from Saint Petersburg. This was certainly a lovely place to visit.

No comments:

Post a Comment