The Peterhof Palace | Attraction Guides | History Hit

The Peterhof Palace

Lucy Davidson

07 May 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About The Peterhof Palace

The Peterhof Palace is a series of palaces and gardens in Peterhof, Saint Petersburg, Russia. Known as ‘The Russian Versailles‘, the palace’s architectural style became known as Petrine Baroque.

History of The Peterhof Palace

After successfully capturing provinces on the eastern coast, Peter the Great began construction of his new capital St. Petersburg in 1703.

The palace complex was commissioned by Peter the Great as a direct response to the palace of Versailles by Louis XIV of France, and as part of his desire to modernise and westernise Russia.

In 1714, Peter began the construction of Monplaisir Palace (French: ‘my delight’). Much of the palace and interior design was based upon Peter’s own sketches, with the palace serving as an intimate summer retreat. Looking to Versailles, Peter later expanded his plans to include a more vast royal chateau of palaces and gardens further inland, which would later become Peterhof Palace.

One of the park’s most notable features is the Grand Cascade and Samson Fountain, which was modelled upon the one constructed by Louis XIV at his Chateau de Marly, which is made up of a complex network of 64 fountains, and is decorated with a series of intricate and symbolic statues and sculptures.

The largest of Peterhof’s palaces is the Grand Palace, which, though imposing-looking, is not overly large, consisting of around 30 rooms. Despite its small size, the palace is full of artistic treasures – in particular, The Chesma Hall is decorated with twelve large paintings of the Battle of Chesma, a remarkable Russian naval victory of the Russo-Turkish War 1768-1774.

In 1941, German troops captured Peterhof. A bloody conflict ensued between Russian and German forces, in which time many of the fountains and part of the palace were destroyed. Rebuilding restarted immediately after the war ended, and continues to this day.

The Peterhof Palace Today

Today, the palace is a popular tourist attraction, with many of its halls, ballrooms, bedrooms, private rooms which were once lived in by Peter the Great, and guest rooms being open. There are also small rooms open with exhibits from artists from Japan and Central Asia.

Many of Peter the Great’s personal pictures and possessions are also on display, such as sculptures, watches, and many other accessories.

Getting to The Peterhof Palace

From the centre of St. Petersburg, the palace is reachable in around 45 minutes via the ring road. There is also an extensive connecting public transport system which runs regularly from the centre of St Petersburg.