Visit to Summer Palace of the Romanov family
Thursday September 19, 2002
departed from our hotel soon after 9am in order to drive out to the Summer
Palace, which is an hour or so out of St Petersburg, in a town called
Passed some really beautiful old Russian cottages in the outskirts of St
Petersburg. Many are painted white and sky blue, in the colours of the Winter
Palace, with large sections of the outside walls covered with dense vines and
undergrowth (yes if you think blue and white fairy tale cottages you have the
image about right). Some are likely to be as old as St Petersburg itself. I
wanted to slam on the breaks of the bus to take a photo!
The Summer Palace was commissioned by Peter the Great to be in the style of Versailles in France. The grounds are lined with shaped trees and fountains. The fountains are powered only by gravity. Water flows 20 miles from a hill above the Palace, up through each of the 150 fountains in the surrounding park, making its way to the sea. Peterhof, or Peter's Court, is as old as St Petersburg itself, designed as the royal residence for Peter's new capital
The Summer Palace is a beautiful building, decorated in the pastels of white and gold-like yellow. Our group stopped to take pictures in the gardens of paths, fountains, pools, trees and grass on the front side of the palace. We then went around to the other side of the building to the main tourist entrance.
Opposite the entrance, looking out to sea there is a large canal, beginning with a pool with the largest fountain at its centre. Large stairs on either side, also lined on each level with fountains, descend from the level of the Palace to the pool. The canal makes its way from the palace to the sea, lined on either side with fountains, dispersed with bridges across its breadth. The canal was wider in Peter the Great's time, allowing Peter to sail his beloved large boats right up to the main stairs of his favourite residence.
Each of the rooms inside the palace is
decorated in a different style, reflecting the differing tastes each of the
Tsars. The sheer opulence and attention to detail is amazing. Many of the works
of gold were constructed from hundreds of layers of gold wafer thinner than a
sheet of paper, each painstakingly applied by hand. In one room mirrors are
arranged opposite each other in order creating a gold and white corridor effect
in both directions.
Link to more info about Peterhof