The palace of Peterhof was located west of the city on the coast of the Gulf of Finland. The first palace was built on the site around 1707, very near the foundeing of the city itself. Its position - across from Peter's fortress island of Kronstadt made the site especially attractive to the Tsar. the palace was vastly expanded over the years. The palace itself reached it's final form during the reign of Peter's daughter Elizabeth and the grounds continued be be developed for many years more.
Left: The Grand Cascade.
Tourists to Russia in 1900 - and today - were expecially attracted to Peterhof to see the incredible fountains and waterworks. Peter himself had been involved in the design and the famous "Grand Cascade" was under construction even before the facade of the palace was taking its final shape. The Grand Cascade is a series of terraces crowned with gilded statues and bursting jets of water descend from the level of the palace down an embankment where a canal carries the water to the sea.
The water for the fountains comes from the Kovasha River in nearby Ropsha.
The palace itself was damaged by fire inn 1721 and work on its repair halted when Peter died in 1725. Nothing happened until his second daughter, Elizabeth, seized the throne. In 1746 she brought in her favorite architect, Rastrelli and within a few years he had created another baroque-style masterpiece for her.
Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries changes and additions were made to Peterhof. Nicholas I gave his wife, Alexandra, a big estate alongside Peterhof where he built a small palace for her called the Cottage. The new estate was called Alexandria and it remained the private property of the Romanov family up until the revolution. The last tsar, Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra lived in a big brink and stone villa called the "Lower Palace" right up on the shore of the Gulf. It was a private place, decorated in Art Nouveau, and it was the place were most of their children were born.
Next photograph: Peterhof Train Station
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