Peterhof Fountain park and Grand Palace
After 200 years of serving as a grand summer residence of the emperors, Peterhof is inextricably connected with the Russian history. The seaside paradise was built, as a grandiose triumphal memorial glorifying the grandeur of Russia, in conquering the much needed and desired access to the Baltic Sea, during the Great Northern War.
Peterhof is legitimately considered to be the creature of Peter the Great — more than ten of his handmade drawings in reference to Peterhof, and even more sketches with his rectifications and notes, were preserved. Even after the emperor’s death, during the next century and a half, the architects were not only maintaining but also, continuing to implement the chief plan of the Tsar-Reformer.
The first documented record of Peterhof refers to the year 1705, when it was called in the Dutch manner as «Piterhof» — «Peter’s courtyard».
The construction of the residence, that was as beautiful and splendid as the best residences of European monarchy, including the French Versailles, commenced in 1714.
The grand opening of Peterhof took place on the 15th of August 1723. By that time, all the principal elements of the ensemble composition were formed: the Lower park had been already laid out, the Sea Channel had been excavated and some of the fountains had been in progress. The Upper Chamber as well as the Monplaisir and Marly palaces had been erected.
The architecture and decor of Peterhof reflects all the artistic styles of the past and the personal tastes and preferences of every Russian monarch.
In 1917 after the Russian revolution, Peterhof became a large educational center. During World War II, the German occupiers barbarously destroyed the palaces and the park. The reconstruction began from the first days of the liberation. And today, this nature and man-made masterpiece welcomes the guests, impressing and surprising them, just like before.
In 1990, the architecture and park ensemble «Peterhof» was included in the world’s list of intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO, and was recognized in 2008, as one of the seven wonders of Russia.