08 Apr Peter the Great: a day to discover his Summer Palace
For elegance and old world feel, St. Petersburg is, by far, the best Russian city. If you go, a visit to Peterhof, the summer palace of Peter the Great is a must.
The Grand Canal is a water way with two paths cutting up the side of it towards Peterhof. The canal cuts through a forested area with trees nearly forming a roof over the canal. The atmosphere is very serene and, walking no more than a mile, one comes upon Peterhof and the Great Cascade.
The Great Cascade is aptly named. It is a collection of fountains and statutes sitting on tiered marble levels rising to the front of the palace. The burst of gold, white and black colors was amazing and made me wonder what Russia must have looked like before communism.
After gaping at the Great Cascade for nearly an hour, it was time to take the tourist tour of the palace. Compared to the general state of decay in most of Russia, we couldn’t get over the fact the palace seemed to be in such good shape.
For a place built in 1715, Peter the Great sure seemed to know a lot about electricity. In particular, he seemed to have planned well ahead by creating some type of internal piping structure for the future electrical wires. Well, he was Great and perhaps the powers that be had done a little remodeling over the years.
Germans had bombed Peterhof during World War II. Peterhof had been completely destroyed. The palace had subsequently been rebuilt, which explained its modern feel.
Oddly, the fact Peterhof is a modern structure doesn’t really detract from the experience. The palace and surrounding structures simply feel like a real palace. With many palaces through Europe, you get the feeling Disney was somehow involved in the construction.
At Peterhof, there is a definite feeling of elegance, but elegance mixed with a practicality required by day-to-day living. In short, you can definitely image Peter the Great living there in the summer.