Passing the Hermitage/Winter Palace on our way by hydrofoil to Peterhof Palace, the
opulent complex of palaces and gardens on the outskirts of St. Petersburg, begun by
Peter the Great to emulate Versailles.
Arriving early morning, the walk from the seaside dock toward the palace is quite an
eye opening experience!
A leisurely walk through the gardens past many playful fountains - some you can actually play in - with over thirty palaces, summer houses, gazebos, pavilions, decorated with over a hundred statues, doesn't prepare you for the grandiose sight of the 18-19th century architectural and park ensemble covering almost four square miles.
The Peterhof Palace, officially opened in 1723, was the favorite residence of the Tsar, Peter the Great, after whom it is named.
Early arrival before the fountains started to play.
All water comes from a gravity-fed water system.
View of The Grand Canal, also known as The Sea of Samson Canal, as the fountains started up.
This was such a beautiful place, a quick visit is not enough. I could have spent hours,
possibly days here, enjoying the falling water and visiting every part of the
park which is like a huge open-air museum.
The Grand Cascade
There was no palace entrance permitted with our all too short visit but what
we were able to view, and fortunately in brilliant sunshine, was truly amazing.
The Palace Church with gilded domes.
Next stop in St. Petersburg, the glorious Catherine Palace where we did get to go inside.