This view of the Grand Cascade shows the canal leading to the sea. In the center of the main fountain can be seen the gilded lead statue of Samson wrestling with a lion. This statue was sculpted by Rastrelli's father Carlo and it symbolised long and difficult Peter's war with Sweden which resulted in the triumph of Russian power in this area, which was formally under the control of the Swedish crown.

Above: Alexander I walking in the gardens of Peterhof around 1810.

In the summer Peterhof park was open to the public and there were many music concerts and parades. Until the murder of Alexander II the Tsars used to mingle with their subjects here. Everyone in Petersburg who could left the city in the heat of summer. Many workers returned to their villiages to help with the harvest, while the tiny middle class followed the lead of the aristocracy and headed toward Peterhof or Tsarskoe Selo.

Peterhof was a beautiful summer retreat but, like the city istself, it was damp and there were many mosquitoes. Gatchina and Tsarskoe Selo were higher and much drier and this added to their attractiveness. Villa life in Peterhof was the only one approved by society. Staying in hotels or inns was not preferred. Villas rented "furnished" generally meant that they had a bare minimum of furniture and the renter would be forced at great trouble to bring in their own as well as dishes, sheets and all of the things one would need .

Next photograph: The Empress Alexandra and Three of Her Daughters

For a small map of the St. Petersburg area click here.

To see a large map of the center of St. Petersburg go here.

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