Wednesday, October 26, 2011

ST. PETERSBURG: PETERHOF PALACE

While we were in St. Petersburg in June, we visited Peterhof Palace, where I got some great ideas for some yard remodeling.  The plans for this palace were drawn by none other than Peter the Great himself. (Is he great because there is evidence of his power everywhere in Russia, or vice versa?) He used the palace as his way station going to and coming from Europe.  Construction began in 1714, and both the structure and the gardens were greatly augmented over the next two centuries.

Unfortunately, Peterhof was captured by German troops in 1941 and occupied until 1944. They pretty much destroyed the elaborate gardens, fountains, and statuary, and the palace itself was partially bombed and just about burned to the ground.  Restoration started almost immediately after the war, which explains the shiny newness a visitor can't help but notice.  There is nothing older than about 50 years there, and most of the gilding was redone in 2003.
The Palace with the Grand Cascade Fountain in the foreground


I do love the double-headed eagle, borrowed from the Byzantine Empire

Looking downward towards the Finnish Sea from the Palace
Samson wrestling with a lion. Our dentist must feel like this every time Bob comes in for a check-up.

Can I have one of the spitting fish, Bob?  Please?
Okay, can you see why I think Peterhof is a great model for my backyard?  (Bob, just be glad they wouldn't let us take pictures inside, or I might have already gilded the refrigerator.)  Peterhof is often called "The Russian Versailles," and P. the G. did use Versailles as his model, but really, the grounds are much more extensive and elaborate than those at Versailles.

Bob, if I can have one of those spitting fish, you can this merman checking out the tonsils of a sea dragon.
Oh, oh, oh!  I want!  I want!








Peterhof is known for its many beautiful fountains, and I think any of them would look just lovely in my front yard:




Aren't these spitting tulips AWESOME? They have a hidden button that can be pushed to soak unsuspecting visitors.  They'd be great right next to my front door, and when Dear Brother Dave comes to visit . . . .
While we were there, there was an absolutely spectacular moment when the water of the Great Cascade Fountain was turned on and the Russian national anthem was played so loudly that I'm sure it could be heard in Helsinki.  Even this contingent of Russian soldiers stopped to watch.  When the anthem began, I almost saluted along with them.
If these statues are based on actual Russian athletes, I think we might be in trouble at the next Summer Olympics.
Bob, this could be THE TWO OF US planting flowers in our yard:

Could you arrange for an ocean or a really large lake to fill in that low-lying street behind our house?
It would make me so happy:
And next time we need a new roof, can we call in the Peterhofian Roofers?

Or how about building this little playhouse out back for Savannah and Ella?  Please?

I know, I know.  I'm tempting you again, but this time you are going to resist.


SIGH.

5 comments:

  1. Wow, those gold statues are so.... well, gold!

    Beautiful grounds, but think of the mowing!

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  2. You have reinforced my desire for a cactus garden, but I do like the fish. When I went off and did my own little exploring, I didn't see the Finish Sea. I had no idea we were so close to it.

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  3. Gorgeous photos! Thanks for sharing, Judy.

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  4. I detect a little tired tourism going on here. It's after you've seen one fabulous gilt building, you've seen them all--kind of like I get at the end of our Italy tours when I don't want to see one more church or Virgin Mary statue.

    But the tour of fountains was impressive. When Dave was getting his building built at UCR, he wanted a fountain in the courtyard, and wherever we went we took photos of fountains. They put in a tree. But maybe. . . just maybe if they'd seen this selection, the grounds people may have approved a spitting fish, or squirting tulips fountain (my fav).

    E.

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  5. You know, I don't think I was feeling tired of touring at all, although I'm worried that my posts start to look the same to those who are reading them. The amazing thing to us was that each place had something really and truly unique, whether it was interesting historical tie-ins, unique art or architecture, or amazing grounds (as was the case here). We truly did not get travel burn-out on this trip. (We still had a week to go after this. But don't worry, I've already blogged about some of the later stops.)

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