Posted by: travelrat | February 18, 2013


Peterhof 3

St Petersburg: 28th November 2012.

Since I got back from Russia, I’ve really had to hit the books. As I’ve said before, our history lessons at school concentrated mainly of English history, with a smattering of stuff about people with whom the British came in contact. The rest of the world was just disregarded. So, I’ve really had to work hard to disentangle the Peters, the Nicholases and the Catherines … I hope I’ve got it right.

The Peterhof was built by Peter the Great, the founder of St. Petersburg, and was the Summer Palace of the Tsars. Since the summers here are short, it was seldom occupied for much more than two months of the year. So, for much of the time, it was on ‘Care and Maintenance’ … which is pretty well as it was when we got there.

Don’t get me wrong, though. Although winter isn’t really the optimum time to visit, there’s still much to be seen here. We didn’t, of course, see it as it should be seen, for the day was rather dull, and there was extensive restoration work going on. The fountains in the garden are an attraction in their own right. Sometimes, the Peterhof is referred to as ‘The Versailles of the North’, and it’s possible that the much-travelled Peter may well have been inspired by those gardens.

But, the fountains were switched off for the winter. They told us, however, that they carried out the Switching On of the Fountains each Spring with much celebration and ceremony … as I do at home but, of course, on a far smaller scale.

Everything is ornate and gilded … with real gold. It’s a source of wonder to me that the Communists didn’t find a better use for it, and have it all away. Same with the ornate decoration inside … which I can’t show you, because photography is prohibited inside. We even had to check our cameras, bags and outdoor clothing before entering. So, I’m rather picture-poor in this department.

Of course, we had to pass through the souvenir shop on the way back, and here, I was most impressed. We’d been advised by the cruise company that we wouldn’t need any roubles where we were going … and they were spot on. Every time we showed an interest in something, an assistant with a pocket calculator appeared, and converted the price to euros for us.

Peterhof 2


  1. Lovely set of shots. I had a stop there last August and such an impressive place.

    • I really would like to revisit in the summer, to see the palace as it should be seen. I’d reckon June/July would be the optimum time?

      • You may be right. Anytime up until September I’m sure would be good!

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