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Fountains And Grounds Of Peterhof

Peterhof

When a​ king travels,​ he'll need somewhere to​ stay - somewhere nice. One of​ the​ most spectacular vacation homes ever built,​ Peter of​ (also "Peter's Court ") is​ the​ name that collectively applies to​ the​ greater complex of​ gardens,​ buildings,​ fountains and galleries,​ created by Peter the​ Great in​ the​ early 18th century as​ his summer residence.

This lavish palace is​ located atop a​ cliff looking out upon the​ Baltic Sea. Built to​ Peter's specifications,​ somewhat more modestly,​ 300 years ago,​ Peterhof was added to​ over the​ next 200,​ eventually becoming the​ site of​ the​ largest network of​ gravity-fed fountains in​ the​ world. Extensively damaged in​ World War Two by an​ occupying Nazi force,​ the​ magnificent buildings and grounds have since been restored and are visited by thousands of​ tourists every year. They were designated a​ World Heritage Site along with the​ entire city of​ St. Petersburg.

Peter the​ Great - Emperor of​ all the​ Russia

Peter I of​ Russia,​ later made Emperor,​ was the​ powerful ruler that commissioned the​ building of​ St. Petersburg as​ his capital and Peter of​ as​ his residence. That he would choose a​ position so close to​ the​ sea to​ spend his time is​ hardly surprising given his life-long love of​ the​ sea and study of​ Naval power. in​ fact,​ it​ was during his reign that the​ Royal Russian Navy first came into existence just two years after he ascended to​ full power. During his reign,​ Russia gained back control of​ the​ Baltic and Black Seas and built their first naval bases,​ including the​ Kronshtadt base that his visits to​ led to​ his choice of​ St. Petersburg and Peterhof as​ his capital.

He ascended to​ the​ throne in​ 1682,​ when only 10 years old,​ with his infirm brother Ivan V as​ one of​ two co-Tsars ruled by his half-sister and regent Sophia. Preferring to​ design and build ships to​ hold mock sea battles with rather than spend his time in​ court,​ Peter did not become sole ruler of​ Russia until his brother and mother both died by 1696. at​ the​ age of​ 24 he set about remaking Russia to​ his liking,​ most notably beginning a​ 200-year long campaign to​ westernize it. During an​ extended trip through Europe beginning in​ 1697 to​ gain support for overthrowing the​ Ottoman ruler,​ he spent several months with East India Company shipbuilders in​ the​ Netherlands,​ learning all he could about ship and lock construction before going home to​ Moscow to​ build a​ Navy.

His lifelong love of​ the​ sea made Peter of​ a​ natural choice,​ and he spent many hours in​ the​ gardens looking out to​ sea and supervising the​ activities at​ Kronshtadt. He was responsible for constructing many of​ the​ major buildings in​ his lifetime,​ though many of​ them were embellished or​ added by his successors. By the​ time of​ his death in​ 1725,​ St. Petersburg was established as​ the​ capital of​ what had become the​ Russian Empire during his reign. Without a​ living and legitimate male heir,​ his wife Catherine I became Empress.

Site Selection

There was no St. Petersburg until the​ Peter created it. Just 3 years after his defeat by the​ King of​ Sweden in​ the​ Battle of​ Narva in​ 1700,​ the​ city was founded as​ a​ permanent post on​ the​ Baltic Sea that he had every intention of​ taking back and in​ fact,​ did just a​ few years later. What better way to​ create a​ great and modern city with grand statuary than by starting one from scratch? Work was begun when local stonemasons were forbidden to​ build anything else from 1703 onward,​ so they could concentrate all their efforts on​ the​ new city. the​ tax code was also changed at​ that time so that taxes were collected from all his subjects and not just the​ landed nobility.

While the​ city of​ St. Petersburg does not have a​ harbor naturally deep enough to​ handle ocean-going vessels,​ the​ nearby sea floor has a​ precipitous drop-off that makes the​ islands south and west of​ the​ city a​ better place to​ catch a​ ship to​ Europe and other points west,​ which Peter and his successors did regularly.

The site for Peterhof was chosen as​ early as​ 1805,​ during what came to​ be known as​ the​ Great Northern Battle that eventually secured the​ Baltic sea for Russian use,​ for it's view of​ the​ sea and proximity to​ the​ new Kronshtadt fortifications on​ the​ island of​ Kotlin. it​ allows viewing of​ both the​ port and city,​ including all the​ ocean-going traffic in​ and out of​ the​ area. Situated atop a​ cliff,​ 26 Km (~16 mi.) Southwest of​ his namesake city,​ the​ palaces were meant to​ be a​ seasonal vacation spot for the​ whole court. the​ gardens look out over the​ Gulf of​ Finland,​ which is​ an​ inlet of​ the​ larger Baltic Sea that connects the​ Russian mainland with the​ Scandinavian countries,​ Germany and Poland. Fond of​ things Germanic,​ the​ name Peterhof is​ in​ fact a​ German name that was changed for many years under the​ Soviets to​ the​ more Russian-sounding Petrodvoréts (or "Peter's Palace") until reverting back in​ 1997.

One of​ the​ most distinguishing physical characteristics of​ the​ site is​ the​ 16m (~52 ft.) cliffs that separate the​ upper and lower gardens are only 100m (~110 yd.) from the​ shore. Over 200m (~220 yards) long,​ they are made of​ sturdy stone the​ two-story grotto that is​ covered with brownstone,​ is​ not a​ natural feature,​ and instead,​ was created from imported rock. the​ Lower Gardens dominate the​ landscape,​ covering over 102 hectares (~252 acres) of​ the​ site,​ and would become Peter's favorite part of​ the​ complex,​ where he spent much of​ his time in​ later years,​ until his death.

For a​ unique and distinctive selection of​ fountains and more information and ideas on​ garden statuar visit http://www.garden-fountains.com/Categories.bok?category=Garden+Fountains and http://www.garden-fountains.com/Categories.bok?category=Garden+Statuary

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