Wednesday 30 November 2016

St Petersburg: A Visit to 2 Summer Palaces

The flamboyance of the Tsars that ruled over Rusia is simply incredible. Having one grand and luxurious palace is just not enough. The tsars own other palaces where they could retreat to during the summer and these are equally grand and imposing. I visited two such palaces.

 Peterhof Palace
Peterhof Palace was founded by Peter The Great (Tsar Peter I) who'd wanted to built something that resembled The Palace Of Versailes in France. This palace is located near the sea on the shore of the Gulf of Finland about 30 km from St Petersburg. It became the summer residence of the tsars for a couple hundreds of years.
Peterhof Palace is a complex that comprises a number of palaces, an upper and a lower garden. The palace was made even grander when Tsar Peter's daughter, Elizabeth took over the reign. Among the palaces within this imperial estate, The Grand Palace is the most spectacular.  Tickets have to be purchased to view its luxurious and posh interior. 
The majestic looking cupolas.
The various facades of the Grand Palace.

Photography is strictly forbidden in the palace interior and we were made to put on shoe covers before we entered. 
Just to get an idea of how luxurious the interior is and how sumptuous the furnishing and decors are, I am posting a photo from here. And this is just ONE of the many beautiful rooms that we saw inside.
The complex features an extensive upper garden with fountains and statues fronting one facade of the main palace building.
From where our bus parked, we had to take a long walk through the garden path of the upper garden before we could reach the Grand Palace, indicating the immensity of the imperial estate.
What mesmerized most is the lower garden with 150 fountains, four cascades and 200 bronze statues and other decors. It is a grandeur and splendor quite unrivaled anywhere else.
The lower garden lies between the Grand Palace and the gulf of Finland and there is a canal in the garden that runs all the way from the cascades into the sea.
RHS view of the lower garden from The Grand Palace
LHS view of the lower garden from the Grand Palace
The garden has a system of fountains designed during the 18th century. So exquisite is the skill involved that all the fountains are able to operate without using any pump.
The statues are varied and meticulously sculptured. They are also evocative pieces of artwork.

Walking from the cascades all the way to the sea, one gets to see the vast park with sporadic gardens and buildings. 
...and yellowing trees if you visit during autumn.
At the end of our walk along the canal is a pier overlooking the sea.
Visitors were seen posing for photographs and ducks were happily swimming in the cool autumn water.

Catherine Palace
On the same day we proceeded to Pushkin to visit another summer palace. Catherine Palace is named after Peter The Great's wife, Catherine I who ruled for two years after her husband's death. This is another summer residence for the imperial family.
Catherine Palace is designed to curve around a courtyard and garden with a circumference of approximately one km.
Both the exterior and interior of the palace are intricately designed and more than 100 kg of gold are used to decorate the palace exteriors.
The main entrance of Catherine Palace.
The beautiful exterior design.
The lovely garden

Maple leaves on the garden ground
Visitors enter the palace by State Staircase which has very ornate banisters and well decorated walls.

The Great Hall or Bright Gallery is the largest state room in the palace. The hall occupies the whole width of the palace and has windows on both sides.
The beautiful ceiling

Each dining room comes with a traditional blue and white tiled stove in the corner that are meant to keep the food warm.
We moved from room to room  and hall to hall. As this is the third palace I have visited, the extravagance and luxury seen no longer came as a surprise

A portrait of Catherine I is hung on one of the walls.
A unique and prized item belonging to the imperial family
A window that looks out to the courtyard and its golden gate. 
The golden gate of the courtyard.
If only I had an ounce of such wealth, how would life be? Ha ha, that will be food for thought.

Click To See Other Related Posts:
1. A Trip To Russia - Introductory Post
2. Russia: A Day Out At Sergiyev Posad
3. My Russian Dining Experience
4. Russian Souvenirs

5.  Cathedral Of Christ The Saviour
6. Moscow Hard Rock Cafe And Old Arbat Street
7. Russia: Moscow Metro
8.  Moscow Kremlin
9. Sparrow Hill And Victory Park
10. Museum Of Cosmonautics And Ostankino Tower
11. Red Square (Krasnaya Ploshchard)
12. Saint Basil's Cathedral
13. GUM Department Store
14. Milan Hotel Review
15. What I Like About Moscow

16. From Moscow To St Petersburg On Sapsan High Speed Train
17. Winter Palace/ State Hermitage Museum
18. St Isaac's Cathedral And Some Nearby Attractions
19. Seeing St Petersburg From Its Rivers
20. St Petersburg Most Gorgeous Building
21.St Petersburg's Peter And Paul Fortress
22.A Traditional Village , A Modern City
23. A Visit To 2 Summer Palaces

24. Smolninskaya Hotel

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