on July 7, 2006
Peterhof, the Tsar’s summer place on the shores of the Gulf of Finland, is about 15 miles west of StPetersburg. Peterhof consists of 7-8 palaces and churches set in a large park, English garden on the oceanside of the Great Palace, a French garden on the other side. Our tour took us through Catherine Palace (notto be confused with THE Catherine Palace in the town of Pushkin), because, according to the guide, therewas not enough time to tour the Great Palace. In addition, we saw the Great Cascade and the Englishgarden with its fountains and follies. If I had to do over, I would leave the tour and go through the GreatPalace and visit the Grand Cascade, which is next to the Great Palace. Catherine’s Palace was too modest. I’d rather see the Grand Palaces ostentatious display of gold and velvet.Restoration of WWII damage to the Grand Palace is only about half finished. By contrast, there was nodamage or looting of the palace after the Communist Revolution because the revolutionary governmentquickly declared Russians great historic buildings and museums to be protected property, to preserve thenation’s heritage, but I suspect it more to have the Tsar’s extravagance on hand to show to the commonfolks to justify the revolution.The star of the show is the Grand Cascade, with its gold plated fountains on the Gulf of Finland side of theGrand Palace. There are a number of other fountains and flower gardens scattered around the park.This Catherine Palace has a number of small richly decorated, but by Tsarist standards, far from elaborate,rooms.Restrooms are in and around the parking lot, 10 rubles.
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