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Peter the Great's "Pleasure Palace"

9. December 2009 by Daniel 0 Comments

Peter I, tsar of Russia and later of the Russian Empire, also known as Peter the Great, began construction on Peterhof, his pleasure palace and summer home shortly after founding the city of St. Petersburg in 1703. He named the city, which was founded on formerly Swedish land, after his namesake saint and it served as the seat of his power until his death.


While during Peter’s life the palace was quite extravagant, the majority of the expansions and additions to the structures happened well after his death. Many fountains were built, without using a pump system to provide them with water and instead deriving their water from natural springs and reservoirs in the Upper Gardens of the palace.


Throughout the centuries, the Palace expanded further. The Grand Palace building was elevated and wings were added by notable Italian-Russian architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli. Several gardens and a park were added and fountains were added into the 19th century. The palace, now more of a town in its size was captured by the Germans during the Second World War and heavily damaged. After the defeat of the Axis powers, restoration began.


Today, the palace is recognized as a world heritage site and functions as a national museum of Russia.