Museum Peterhof is one of the key attractions of St. Petersburg. For 200 years it was the summer residence for Russian emperors and the symbol of Russia's greatness. Nowadays it is worldwide known for its stunning fountains, beautiful parks and gardens, but very few people know the rich history of it. Today we are going to tell you about the most significant periods of this incredible place.
As we just have said, from the very beginning Peterhof considered the symbol of Russia's greatness, which was earned by desired access to the Baltic Sea. Peter the Great had a wish to build a residence that would be as beautiful and impressive as French Versailles. The idea of it firstly appeared in his mind in 1714, and in 1723 it was officially opened. That exceeded all the expectations! New Peterhof residence amazed even the European audience.
Peterhof was literally the brainchild of Peter the Great. It preserved more than ten of his handwritten drawings related to Peterhof. But there were people who didn’t like the innovations of Peter the Great and after the death of the emperor they consigned Peterhof and St. Petersburg to oblivion.
Only 5 years later in 1730 Russian empress Anna Ioannovna resumed the construction, which continued for 10 years. Rebuilding lasted for 10 years by one of the best Russian architectures of that time Mikhail Zemtsov. He perfectly embodied all the most advanced ideas of Paris masters.
The palaces and parks of Peterhof suffered greatly during the World War II, it was a horrible time both for citizens of Leningrad and historical monuments of the city. Forces of Hitler occupied Peterhof in 1941 and stayed there till 1944. During that period they stilled and destroyed a lot of art treasures, barbarously cut down trees in the parks, blew up and burned down the palace and took away all the statues from the cascade and Lower Park.
But after the end of the war in 1945 with the great support of Leningrad citizens and sappers the Lower Park opened for visitors and 38 water cannons began to work in the central part of the park. The key day of Peterhof’s reincarnation was September 14, in 1947 when the group of golden statues “Samson, rending the lion's mouth” again decorated the Grand cascade.
In 1990 Peterhof was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site and still embodies all the splendor of the Russian culture. It is an absolutely “must-visit” in every Saint-Petersburg tours.