Peterhof Palace

Peterhof Palace is the main landmark of the palace and garden complex on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland. The town where it is situated is also named Peterhof and is 18 miles distance from St Petersburg. The palace used to be the official summer residence of the Imperial court. Emperor Peter the Great was setting up Peterhof facing the cost of the sea, as the kind of a memorial to the Russian Naval victories. The edifice has three floors, yellow in color and standing on the top of the natural hill above the Lower Garden. The façade is almost 330 yards wide.

Brief history of the palace

Initially the palace was modestly decorated in “Petrian baroque style”. The project was developed by masters J.F. Braunstein, J.-B. Le Blond, N. Michetti. In 1730s architect Mikhail Zemtsov added wings to the building. In 1740s, under Empress Elisabeth, it was decided the structure was too small and plain to match the splendor of the court, and the palace had to be reconstructed. But Elisabeth wanted to preserve some features of her father’s palace as a memory, and that was a challenge in construction works. This task was implemented briliantly by F. B. Rastrelli, the court architect of Elisabeth I. Rastrelli added one more floor, widened the wings, reconstructed the interiors with baroque-style luxury.

The Grand Palace went on to be the place for official court life, receptions and celebrations. Under Catherine the Great several halls were redecorated in classical style by Y.M.Velten and J.-B.Vallin de la Mothe.  In 1846 eight rooms of the eastern wing facing the Upper Garden were reconstructed by the architect A. Stackenschneider for the wedding of Grand Duchess Olga, the daughter of Nicholas I.  In 1918, after the Russian revolution, the palace in Peterhof became the museum. During the Nazi occupation the palace was blown up and burned down. In 1964 the first five rooms were shown to the public after the painstaking restoration.

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